In the 2nd of our series of talking to members of the Alpha-Cure family, we’ve had a chat with Richard Cherry. Richard is responsible for all the activity in our UK factory as well as having huge amounts of knowledge on how to build a perfect UV lamp.
So, let’s get cracking with the questions.
Q. An easy one to start with… what’s your name and job title?
Richard Cherry – Production & Technical Director
Q. How long have you been with Alpha-Cure?
Eight and a half years.
Q. So, what is your normal working day like? What are your main objectives and what do you need to get done?
Primarily I’m focused on keeping the factory running smoothly and ensuring that the product leaves here in time to fulfil the promise made by the sales department and to a quality that meets or exceeds what is required. I also monitor and advise on technical queries from customers and have direct involvement with the larger OEM’s.
Day-to-day involvement is varied and very busy! It includes the production management side where I monitor the production, sales and stock to ensure that our manufacturing facilities are balanced with the current market situation. Ultimately this is aimed at ensuring we fulfil the customer needs. But the unseen side of this is to keep production rates as constant as possible to even out the peaks and troughs of customer demand.
I oversee the technical aspects of UV lamp design, and work directly with the major OEM customers to ensure they get the level of technical support they need both for existing and new products. We have invested in new specification system to hold in excess of 20,000 specifications and built in to this is all the combined company technical knowledge and experience.
I’m also heavily involved in the design and building of our production machinery. We are the experts in the manufacturing process so developing our own equipment is essential to ensuring we get the process we want and the level of repeatability required. We use automation where possible to ensure a repeatable process and get the best return on the investment but with the amount of variation in the product we still rely on our highly skilled staff. We operate a policy of continuous improvement in the manufacturing facilities, and as we are in control of the equipment and processes changes can be implemented very easily.
Q. Did your previous experience provide a good grounding for the role here?
Absolutely, growing up I was never content to play with toys I was always more interested in taking them apart to see how they worked. I knew for the beginning that engineering was for me and worked in unrelated engineering industry for a number of years prior to being involved in the UV lamp industry. I have been in this industry for nearly 30 years and am still excited by the diversity of disciplines that it incorporates; engineering, physics, chemistry and more recently biology.
I started in the industry with the design and building of lamp making equipment and general maintenance. Because of that I soon developed a knowledge for UV lamp manufacture and operation. I moved on to being a Technical Manager and then to Production Manager at another large UV lamp manufacturing company before coming to Alpha-Cure.
Q. What is it that you enjoy about working here?
We are a company that is willing to invest in our future and that gives a sense of being part of an organisation that’s moving forward. As an engineer I get a kick out of making something that I’m happy to put my name to and in my current role I have the opportunity to greatly influence this for both internal systems and the product we sell.
Although we are a growing company it still feels like a ‘family’, and as with all families there are times we might disagree but we welcome other opinions and that leads to more rounded decisions. I have worked in larger companies and feel the corporate environment inevitably leads to most effort going on internal matters, at Alpha-Cure the focus is on the customer whether that be in the service, support or the quality of the product.
Q. These are great, and detailed, answers but let’s find out more about you… what’s your idea of a perfect day?
Outside of work, my perfect day would be spent with my wife exploring the amazing countryside and towns we have in the UK. Generally we would be drawn to walking along a costal path or around some other inland beauty spot.
Q. Are you a coffee or tea person?
Coffee, coffee, coffee!
Q. How do you rate the music choices being played in the factory?
I’m a big music fan, with fairly eclectic taste. Luckily I got into music in the late 70’ and 80’s and much of that music has stood the test of time regards radio play, certainly on the stations listened to around the factory.
Q. And finally, what’s your main focus or piece of work to smash out of the park over the coming months?
Due to our growth, our finished goods stock and dispatch department are always fighting for space. So I’m currently organising the refitting of a new area for them to move into that should see them right for the next few years.
Brilliant insight into the factory operations there, so thanks for your thoughts, Richard.
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