The Manufacturer Top 100 is a project that showcases the most dynamic leaders, young pioneers and unsung heroes working in UK manufacturing, all of which have been nominated by their peers.
Among the Top 100, however, our judging panel chose 20 individuals for special recognition. We call them ‘Exemplars’ – those who have exemplified remarkable leadership, daring or innovation within their respective field, and who set the direction of travel as we head into the new decade.
Paul Jones, General Manager, Morgan Furniture
Paul got his start in the world of manufacturing when he accepted an industrial placement programme at Morgan, a furniture designer and manufacturer in Hampshire, in 1999.
“My two favourite academic subjects were business studies and design and technology,” he said. “But I was unsure which degree would allow me to develop within both. I then found a four-year course studying furniture production management.
“The industrial placement year was spent at Morgan, which not only fuelled my passion for manufacturing, but also offered me a career path.”
Starting out as a student engineer, Paul fell under the wing of the company’s management team who encouraged him to devise lean manufacturing processes, which Morgan has to this day continued to implement.
“I spent time in every single part of the business, and the managing director actually gave me free rein to suggest improvement projects as part of my degree.
“I could not have asked for more support from the management team.”
Celebrating seven years of inspirational industry leaders
Launched in 2014, The Manufacturer Top 100 publicly recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing.
Published by The Manufacturer, in partnership with Cranfield University, one of the country’s top centres of business education, the project is helping to dispel widely-held myths that vibrant manufacturing in the UK is a thing of the past.
Paul went on to spend 11 years as Morgan’s production manager, driving adoption of his award-winning Lean and Continuous Improvement Programme, before stepping away to work as a consultant in operational excellence to a range of sectors – most notably as a Lean Six Sigma senior advisor within the government-backed Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), and latterly with a large accountancy firm.
“I remember feeling I didn’t know anything outside of Morgan, I needed to go out and do something else. Consultancy was a great way for me to work with lots of different manufacturing sectors using the same lean principles to build up my knowledge base.”
Paul later returned Morgan, as the company GM in early 2019.
“I’d always kept up a close relationship with Morgan, passing on any knowledge I might have gained along the way.
“I’ve joined at a really exciting time. Our potential is there to expand in the market sectors we’re currently holding, and into other new sectors as they emerge. We’re building an apprenticeship plan and engaging with colleges in the area who’ll bring students around to see what we do, and what manufacturing is about. Internally, we continue to seek the best ways to develop all of our employees, as people are at the heart of Morgan.”
In their own words
What is your favourite engineered/manufactured product?
The Mazda MX-5. I have one myself and it’s something that I really enjoy. It’s very simplistic but it constantly reminds me of the simple joy that engineering can bring.
One interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.
I love to keep fit. I have liked running since I was a schoolboy and often compete in cross-country and road races. I prefer cross country races as growing up and training in hilly Durham has given me a competitive advantage on the hills.
If you weren’t in manufacturing what would be your dream job?
I love cars, so if I wasn’t in manufacturing my job would have to be car related. To be a touring car driver would be a dream.
Meet our other 2019 Exemplars
Each week The Manufacturer will highlight every individual named in our exclusive 2019 Exemplar table.