Just as James Bond has Q constantly providing new, innovative gadgets to support his latest missions, Bri-Stor Systems has their own version of Q division. Step forward Neil Prescott, Prototype Manager, who leads the Prototype and is responsible for developing and productionising new van conversion solutions.
So, what does a typical day look like for Neil?
8:00 – Arrive at our Church Lane facility
A quick cup of tea and then it’s on to a few emails ahead of the morning meeting.
08:30 – Prototype team meeting
All nine members of the team meet in the Prototype area. We run through our key quality and delivery KPIs, identifying any issues that we encountered yesterday and what actions we need to take to resolve them. At the minute, we’ve got six vans in Prototype, all for different customers, all with unique requirements, so the meeting takes a little longer than normal but everyone is clear on what needs to be done. By 09:00 the team are busy installing a new wiring loom to a VW Crafter and working out how to adapt the build instructions for a new model as the vehicle manufacturers have recently changed the design, meaning that we need to find a new way to secure the rear step.
10:30 – Engineering meeting
Our regular, daily catch up with the wider Engineering team. We discuss progress on current builds. Identify any engineering issues and get a heads up on any upcoming projects that will need our support.
11:00 – Customer visit
As we’re responsible for building first-of-type solutions, we regularly receive visits from customers who are keen to see how their vans are progressing and who want to play an active part in developing the final design. Today is no different, representatives from one of the local emergency services are here to view progress on their new educational support vehicle. I take them through the vehicle explaining all of the features and they seem impressed with the solution that we’ve come up with. As always there are a couple of minor tweaks that we need to make but we agree that the design is on track and commit to a final visit next Friday.
12:30 – Production support
Last week we released a new build to the Production team so I like to make sure I spend time with them as they build the first few vans – making sure there are no issues with the plans and that the process is as efficient as possible. Everything we do in Prototype is photographed so that we have a record of what’s been done and those photos are an invaluable tool to help train the Production team when it comes to some of the more complex parts of the build.
15:00 – Apprentice catchup
Currently we have two apprentices in the team – one first year and one third year – so I like to regularly put time aside to support their development, ensure the scheme is meeting their expectations and provide an opportunity for them to ask any questions. Feedback from both of them is extremely positive. Working in Prototype offers such a varied experience and the opportunity to follow a van all the way through the build process from blank canvas to fully fitted out, complete with livery installed through our sister company HEX graphics. So far this week the apprentices have been focused on fitting a new style flooring but tomorrow they’ll be looking at lights and Friday will see them installing a heating system.
16:30 – Phone call from Sales
One of the sales team has just received an enquiry from a potential new customer for a fleet of up to 250 vans. This could be a big order so we need to work up a prototype to showcase our solution to the customer at the end of next month. It’s always exciting to be part of a new tender and play a key role in winning new business. The customer seems to have quite a good idea of what they want to see in the van so I’ve added it to the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting and included it in our work schedule. Sometimes we only get a couple of weeks to complete a prototype but thankfully we’ve a little longer to complete this one.
17:00 – Finished for the day
A short 20 min drive back to Stafford and it’s time to relax with the grandchildren and maybe tinker with a couple of things on my own Campervan conversion. Some people might think I’m a little mad spending all day converting vans only to come home and start doing the same thing but I’m passionate about van conversion. It’s what I do! And I can’t wait to take the new van out for a trip down to Cornwall once all of the Covid restrictions have been lifted.
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