FARRAT PRODUCTION MANAGER, GARETH HOGBURN
Areas Of Expertise: LEAN Manufacturing, Production, Tooling, Rubber Molding, Waterjet
Education: Fellow Of The Manufacturing Institute
Time at Farrat: 21 Years
Tell us about your background?
I joined Farrat in 1997 as an apprentice on a 5 year scheme whilst attending college at North Trafford, where I studied NVQ 2, 3 and 4 followed by an HNC, in Engineering. During my apprenticeship I learn’t how to operate the milling machine and lathes for the production of industrial anti-vibration machine mounts. I was in a production team of four at this time and have fond memories of learning how to manufacture raw castings all the way through to finished product, including welding and spray. As a small team, we worked really hard to meet the demand and collaboration was really important to making this happen – as a result, we became good friends and are still good friends now.
I completed my apprenticeship in 2002 and remained at Farrat, moving into new production avenues as the product portfolio expanded. Farrat moved into the rubber molding market to produce vibration isolation and acoustic isolation solutions for the construction industry, so I was trained how to operate presses and moved over to the press shop. This was a great experience for me and allowed me to continue learning new production methods and was able to input into the new processes that followed. I worked in the press shop for around 10 years and saw the company scale it’s manufacturing facilities, with the introduction of several new presses and a much larger production team.
I became Production Team Leader in 2014 and began my LEAN Fellowship with The Manufacturing Institute through Farrat, which is where I really learn’t about continuous improvement. I completed my LEAN Fellowship within two years and am now Production Manager at Farrat and ‘Champion of Continuous Improvement’.
At school I always wanted to be a mechanic as I loved cars.
I was set to go to college and study mechanics, until one GCSE lesson when a teacher inspired me to change my path. It was during Design Technology when I designed a bike rack to fit on the back of a mountain bike as part of my coursework. My Design Technology teacher came over and said “Gareth, this is fantastic. I know that you’ve put on your careers form that you want to be a mechanic, but have you thought out a career in engineering?”.
He took me to one side and explained to me the type of roles and industries that engineering covers and the opportunities it could open up. It really inspired me to be ambitious, so I changed my college course to engineering.
I researched engineering and manufacturing firms in the area before college and Farrat stood out to me. I interviewed at Farrat and a tooling firm not far away. When I was offered the apprenticeship at Farrat I finally took it.
I’ve now been here at Farrat for 21 years and really enjoy it.
We’re a close knit team who take care of each other. Everyone is of the same mindset that quality is crucial and we all dig in deep to get a project over the line for the customer, even if it means working weekends and evenings.
Farrat has enabled me to learn and develop new skills and grow within my production role. I’m treated with respect and shown opportunities by people at all levels in the business, which is really important to me.
Do any of the projects that you have worked on stand out in your memory?
The big construction projects started to come through in around 2012, which was a huge learning curve for us as a company, as we hadn’t worked on these types of projects before. The first project of this nature was in London, which sticks in mind as it created so many challenges for us. It was a very large and technically challenging building isolation project.
However, the solutions and manufacturing processes that we put in place for that early project were the cornerstone of what we do today, so really it acted like a large scale R&D project. Ever since then, we’ve completed several large scale construction projects without any major hurdles. So we have a lot to thank that project for!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment the production team are working on some large building vibration isolation projects located in London, several cinema isolation projects in the UK, U.A.E and Saudi and a few impressive isolated foundation projects for the canning sector in Europe. Alongside this we are producing industrial anti-vibration machine mounts for clients in the power gen sector, so busy all round!
Myself personally, I am rolling out new LEAN practices across the company (not just within production), continually improving and streamlining Farrat’s processes.
What do you see Farrat focusing on in the coming years?
Alongside LEAN and SMART changes to how we operate, I also see product diversity playing a major role. We are a company who pride ourselves on being a solution provider, not just a product manufacturer. We’ve invested heavily in R&D over the last few years and are seeing some fantastic innovations coming through as a result, which will no doubt feed into our existing product range but also inform new solutions for our primary markets.
I’m excited to be part of that journey and come up with smart solutions to the production challenges that those product innovations may bring.
If you would like to hear more about Production opportunities at Farrat, visit our Careers Page.
Alternately, get in touch with Gareth on: +44 (0) 161 924 1600.