‘Office manager’ is a very short title for such a wide-ranging role. We catch up with Hitaltech’s resident product encyclopaedia to find out what’s involved.
How has your job evolved at Hitaltech?
I started in 2007. I was a sales administrator processing orders for customers, which involved ordering stock, dispatching orders, invoicing, dealing with the factory and trying to make sure stock was always delivered on time for customers.
I did that for five years. Then, as the company grew, we needed someone to do internal sales. I felt like I was ready for a change, so that’s when I switched to dealing with customer requests for technical information such as a drawing or sample, and organising quotes for customers. I’d also support the sales guys out in the field who might call and say, “I just had a meeting with a customer, can you organise a sample of a connector or an enclosure for them?”
My official job title now is office manager. I still manage sales and office admin. I also manage the warehouse guys, and I look after quality issues in the company. I’ll deal with things like internal audits, ISO9001 certification, customer complaints etc.
What does handling customer complaints involve?
We don’t get many! I think last year we had about ten non-conformances out of a whole year of trading—a whole year of supplying products to hundreds of customers. We’re always looking to improve what we do, but our non-conformity rate is much, much less than 1%.
How did you start at Hitaltech?
I finished school (Hodgson, in Poulton-le-Fylde), did A-levels in geography, chemistry and biology, then studied geography at Lancaster University. I never really knew what I wanted to do so when I finished uni I did a couple of temp jobs, including providing maternity cover in the product marketing department of an exhaust manufacturer in Blackpool.
At the end of 2006, I saw an advert in the local newspaper for a sales administrator at Hitaltech. I thought it sounded interesting. Also, it was local and I couldn’t drive at the time!
You’ve been with Hitaltech for 15 years now. Why have you stayed?
I like the people I work with. I like working with a small group of people rather than in a big organisation where you can be just a number. I suppose I’ve become the go-to person here for product knowledge—I’m a bit like the Hitaltech encyclopaedia— which is a nice position to be in.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I like playing and watching snooker and darts. I’m going the World Matchplay darts tournament in Blackpool soon.
I like snooker because you’ve always got to be thinking two or three shots ahead of whatever shot you’re playing. I suppose that’s a bit like my work here—you’ve always got to be one or two moves ahead.
I’m a Blackpool FC supporter too, and when things weren’t going too well there I watched AFC Fylde in Kirkham. I’m a bit of a fair-weather supporter!