Andy Nickson, operations director at leading international specialist consumables, Sil-Mid Ltd, has been named as The Manufacturer’s Employee of the Month September 2016.
What is your role and what are your main responsibilities?
My remit is to deliver the promises made by our sales team and that includes the efficient operation of IT systems, e-commerce and quality management.
We offer customers all over the world 24/7 access to more than 14,000 different products, such as sealants, adhesives and lubricants, with order sizes starting at just one unit.
This means that more than 250,000 orders are processed through our 30,000 sq ft warehouse and distribution centre every year.
What are the key technical skills you use?
I have worked in specialty chemical consumables – used in the manufacture of aerospace sub-assemblies and MRO operations – for more than 20 years and have developed wide ranging knowledge of what customers need and expect.
This allows me to predict order volumes, foresee potential issues and help our sales team advise clients on possible solutions and alternative product selections.
My IT background is starting to reap dividends as we move towards greater automation and, better efficiencies for our customers. Sil-Mid is also fully embracing e-commerce with the recent launch of the new website now accounting for 50% of sales.
What personal characteristics help you in your role?
I spend a huge amount of time problem-solving, working closely with team members to identify root cause issues that we can use to drive improvement or add functionality to our systems. Resilience and patience have also been key skills when engaging with both staff and customers.
What do you consider to be your biggest personal success at the company so far?
Over the past 20 years there have been a number of projects and challenges that have been rewarding…our first e-commerce site going live in 2001, installing and building our document management system and the introduction of two ERP systems.
Personally, quality management is a real interest of mine and the transition to the new ISO9001:2015 standard was a huge challenge, but ultimately rewarding as Sil-Mid became one of the first companies in the UK to gain the accreditation.
Having said all of this, I suppose the most telling achievement is completing the company MBO two years ahead of schedule.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
Although we turnover £14m, our business is still small enough for me to know every member of staff and I get a real buzz from interacting with our people – they still remain our biggest asset.
I also really enjoy seeing younger members of staff begin to fulfil their potential and ensuring Sil-Mid gives them a real opportunity for progression and a place they can achieve their career aspirations.
Do you have a career ambition?
I am determined to build Sil-Mid into a company that is seen to be the best and most professional distribution partner to clients involved in aerospace, automotive, energy, high value engineering, marine and transportation.