Julian Gardiner, control systems manager at Lambert Engineering, has been named as The Manufacturer’s Employee of the Month October 2016.
What is your role and what are your main responsibilities?
I’m the control systems manager for Lambert Engineering, with responsibility for the design, programming and commissioning of all the machines we build. Much of our work is bespoke, so projects need clear processes and excellent communication across my 13-strong team.
Our business has grown significantly over the past few years, and in 2016 we’ll build more than 35 different machines for clients involved in consumer goods and the healthcare sector across the world.
I have to ensure my team is ahead of new trends in automation, so we invest heavily in the development of modular designs when building machines.
What are the key technical skills you use?
The diverse nature of what we do means I use all aspects of machine control design. This primarily involves programming and electrical design, plus a certain amount of problem solving.
Although not a core technical skill, people management is a big element of what I do. Yes, Lambert always invests in the best technology and automation to make our role easier, but ultimately we are only as good as the people we employ – and we feel we employ the best.
With bright minds come certain challenges and being able to unleash potential in a structured way is one of the things I need to get right for us to deliver machines on time and within budget.
What personal characteristics help you in your role?
When it comes to implementing new technology I need a methodical and logical approach to integration and problem solving. I’m also focused on getting the most out of my team – I really need to know what makes each person ‘tick’. Finally, high standards are a must. It’s just the way we do things at Lambert.
What do you consider to be your biggest personal success at the company so far?
Firstly, as an engineer, delivering world-leading automated machines. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing something we’ve built in Tadcaster is going to help improve people’s lives or produce some of the world’s most popular consumer goods.
Second, as a manager, I’m passionate about coaching and mentoring . Getting the best out of my staff is just as important as finding a solution for a new machine.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
Seeing staff develop and flourish if you give them the right support, advice and freedom to make their own decisions. This is particularly evident when our engineers tackle technical challenges, and witness the huge satisfaction they get from coming up with a solution.
There is also something very rewarding about seeing the end product come to life, because that means we’ve delivered a machine which does exactly what the customer wants.
Do you have a career ambition?
Lambert is aiming for ambitious growth, and I see the control systems team as crucial to delivering expansion and maintaining our trademark world-class levels of performance.
The rise of Industry 4.0 and how we embed this into our work is a challenge I’m tackling head-on. Enabling machines and factory systems to communicate to increase productivity and performance is absolutely fundamental to our future success.