We sat down with Stuart King, PCC Dagenham's new Operations Director, to talk about how he's settling in, what he's working on at the moment, plus the very important issue of his favourite biscuit.
Hello Stuart. We’ll get right into it, no shilly shallying around. What’s your role and what will that involve?
Ok, so I’m the PCC Dagenham Operations Director. That involves a range of things, from managing the day-to-day production department to looking at business improvement: how we do things, what can we change to be more efficient, evaluating and looking to remove non-value added tasks to improve performance. All with the aim of adding back to what our customers get from us.
Fantastic! So what’s your background?
I was the technology and operations manager at my previous organisation and altogether, for my sins, I’ve got about 27 years in the print industry. So that’s given me a decent understanding of production output devices, but also a technical understanding of what happens before work becomes a production ready file. I got into the industry straight out of college.
Is the print industry a bit "incestuous"? People always seem to know each other from previous jobs when they arrive here.
Oh yeah. You always bump into someone you’ve met or worked with before. Here, in client services alone there are six people I’ve worked with before at other businesses. I know people at PCC Nottingham, and have had dealings with Jeremy Walters many years ago.
Presumably they were very happy dealings?
Very glad to hear it. What are your first impressions so far?
It’s exciting, and the team are great. For me it’s nice, there are obviously things that need to be looked at and addressed if needed, and improved, but the core of the operation is stable. So I’m a fresh pair of eyes. I might give a different view on something internally that needs a new outlook. I like machine-based working so I will, much to people’s intrigue, be involved in some of the machines. It never leaves you. At my old workplace, that was a shock to a few people. I wasn’t being nosy or interfering – I just like it.
We each have our own individual proclivities Stuart. What projects are you working on at the moment?
I have many! The list is long and continuing to grow. There’s no single priority – the big one at the moment is obviously OnePlatform, but there are also BAU responses that need to be dealt with, plus projects that are rolling but need a bit more traction, and to be pulled together. So I’m working across everything really - enclosing, warehousing, output, technology and how we use it. This is good as I am having to have conversations with the whole division, plus client services, planning, into the technical piece, the print output piece - looking at what needs to be joined up and streamlined.
But there’s some great stuff going on. The team are very good at what they do and it’s working. The baseline is very clearly defined so it’s about making small changes or tweaks, changing thought processes, and looking at it from an outsider’s perspective.
How’ve you got on during lockdown?
I suppose I was fortunate in that I was able to go to work, so I worked all the way through the Pandemic. The support from the team was amazing during a very difficult time, it has shown me what can be done with a superb team during what can only be described as a very different world!
What did you have for tea last night?
We had a barbecue. We had everything - burgers, sausages, minted lamb chops and steak, all washed down with a few Desperados and some wine. I am the chef in our household, a modern man up to the point of ironing something. I just can’t do it.
Well I guess it’s good to have some room for improvement. What’s your favourite biscuit and why?
Fox’s chocolate ring shortbread. They are delightful – I open the pack and they’re all gone. There’s no sharing. If someone wants one, buy your own.
Are you a biscuit dunker?
No I’m not a big dunker.
Ok, each to their own. What superpower would you choose and why?
I’d be a timelord. So I could go back and fix everything I’ve mucked up in my past, and have a look at what’s going to go wrong in the future.
What’s something you’re really bad at?
Accepting sometimes that what is currently being delivered is good enough. Sometimes you’ve got to accept that it’s working. It’s not perfect, but it’s working. That’s a challenge.
What’s your favourite word?
“Challenge”. I use that because I don’t like “issue” or “problem”. Challenge can be positive or negative. It could be climbing Everest - I like that.
Who’s your hero?
I don’t have one hero, so it has to be my parents as a collective. They've been very supportive and guided me through my many years, as I am old now. My parents are just perfect.
That’s an excellent answer. We’ll leave it there – thanks Stuart!