Blog – The art of listening and sharing

Posted 8 September 2022 by Anysia Henderson
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Lee Garnett, our Continuous Improvement Manager

Read on as Lee takes us through his career journey from the start, plus his involvement in MacroArt’s Apprenticeship Scheme and how to achieve continuous success.

 

“A little under 30 years ago, around the time that MacroArt was formed, I started my career in the display industry.

Whilst studying at Waltham Forest College to be an Electrical Engineer I needed a job to support my travel costs and social activities. So as a holiday job, for 8 hours a day, weeks on end, I inserted popper studs into branded shoe racks for a high street brand…it was dull and not overly rewarding, but the people I worked with during this time had me instantly engrossed into the skillset and the machinery they were working on. Watching them closely “whilst performing my laborious task” I began to realise that this was the industry for me. And so, my love for the display industry began…

As my career developed, I became immersed in the world of production, fabrication, installation, design and eventually producing tendering document drawings through Autocad for big supermarket brands. There was so much to learn from time-served craftsmen and designers in so many departments, from top to bottom they were willing to share their expertise and help me to become an integral part of the business and more importantly the team.

I soon realised that this openness to sharing skills and techniques was key to many things.

So fast forward to today, 30 years deep I now find myself working with one of the industry’s most forward-thinking Large Format Print businesses, MacroArt. Over time, my career has developed, and I am proud to work as Continuous Improvement Manager for MacroArt, but a part of me still finds myself relishing the hands-on nature of our business, and I take every opportunity to abandon my desk and get involved in the real work of making signs and graphics!

The collaborative and assistive approach I have received at board level, to start a ‘Continuous Improvement Programme’ has made leaps in such a short time, with the freedom to create an all- inclusive agenda, this has truly been a big win!

It became clear that by listening and providing employees with the opportunity to make suggestions, we made it possible to find ways in which their working environment, wellbeing, and job satisfaction could improve significantly. Not to mention its benefit on other factors, such as productivity, efficiency, and sustainability, this has all been achieved by simply listening and sharing as ‘one team’.

To date, the range of improvements that have been adopted are as diverse as they are rewarding. From practical improvements to long-standing workshop processes, and the identification of more sustainable materials, to the installation of water coolers in print rooms. Revamped kitchen areas, and the provision of free fruit daily for everyone, the results are already proving transformative.

Over the last 8 months, we are now seeing truth in this method of working, and sharing success with our people to achieve excellence, whether that’s a wellbeing, process, structural or consumable idea, nothing is overlooked.

Following on from this programme, I am delighted to also be involved in creating a bespoke training package tailored specifically for MacroArt’s Apprenticeship Scheme. We work in partnership with Learn2print, a leading training provider to the printing and graphic communications industry, providing a range of career pathways, including apprenticeships for those looking for a recognised industry qualification. We really are assisting our apprentices in flourishing to become multi-skilled individuals, with so many great success stories! Our past apprentices are involved in helping the next wave of talent within the business, and the cycle continues.

All we look for, and all they need is a can-do, will-do attitude from any walk of life; they can gain a qualification and first-hand experience whilst getting paid…what’s more appealing than that! But what I love the most, is that at MacroArt our apprentices gain experience across several different departments that can lead to a range of opportunities and a rewarding career. For example, one of our recent Print Technician Apprentice graduates is now working to become a fully trained Project Manager within the business.

Truly, I have never experienced a company so intent on, and so open to, improvement and development on many different levels, and it is to MacroArt’s eternal credit.

When you see the extraordinary benefit and effect these schemes are having throughout the business, the logic to listening and sharing, no matter what department or title they hold, you discover how easy it is to create a great working environment that is super productive on all levels and pulling together as ‘One Team’.

Never stop listening and never stop sharing, these vital skills are the engines of your business.”

 


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