Passionate about people
While automated production is rife in the window and door fabrication industry, Quickslide is matching its investment in state-of-the-art kit with a focus on its people. The company’s chairman Adrian Barraclough explains.
Quickslide has a policy of bringing as many of its production processes in house, which means the company’s financial investment has been prodigious.
Nonetheless, it is the company’s people that remain key to Quickslide’s continuing growth and success. Almost everyone who started with the business is still with the business; the total length of service of all the employees that are with the business this day today is 653 years.
This speaks volumes about the way the business is run: with honesty, humility, continuously learning and evolving, and always with great passion. It is no surprise that once again, this year is the 14th continuous year of growth, which has been achieved by continuously investing in equipment and technology, and by developing our people and empowering them to achieve more.
Freedom and responsibility allow us to work with a degree of flexibility and still be accountable for the outcome of our actions. This has turned out to be a great recipe for employee engagement and productivity.
On the factory floor we’ve adopted a multi-skilled labour force approach to increase the overall skillset the business can benefit from. Such approach means that during busy times, fabricators can move around to areas that require a helping hand. We also found that by developing our fabricators and teaching them new skills increased their commitment with the business; within the last 12 months we’ve seen a significant decrease in staff turnaround on the factory floor.
Any new fabricators must spend two hours with a designated supervisor to fully understand the job responsibilities, the risks involved in carrying out the job, and the latest health and safety protocol. New starters are also allocated a buddy for the first couple of days until they feel comfortable. The buddy system was embraced to get quick answers to questions relating to both the job as well as non-job-related topics such as “where do I order my bacon butty on a Friday morning?”
We believe it is of outmost importance to support our employees when they need it. It’s no secret that we all have times when life gets on top of us, whether it being work, health, relationship related or something completely different. As an employer, we think that it’s our responsibility to support the general wellbeing of our employees.
Quickslide recently set up a contract with Bupa Employee Assistance offering counselling to all employees and members of their household in case they need it. With the 24-hour counselling service we’re increasing awareness of mental health issues, and by addressing wellbeing we get the most out of our people’s potential, which results in an increase in productivity.
Compared to five years ago our workforce has increased by 68%, and within the last 12 months we’ve employed an additional 20 people mainly in areas such as sales, production and loading. Quickslide now employs 169 people who together shape the Quickslide family.
In May 2019, we introduced double shift working patterns to cater for growing demand. The double-shift working pattern was first rolled out in our vertical slider factory and has since been introduced in both our aluminium and casement factories.
Quickslide’s people have allowed us to introduce new products at an extraordinary rate, but also the flexibility to move quickly to deal with seasonal product variations and customisation. However much you spend on machines, only people can enable that.