In this instalment of VernaPeople, we introduce you to Gary Richardson. If you haven't already met him, now is your chance!
What is your role here at Vernacare and how long have you been with the company?
I joined Vernacare full time in May 2009, having worked for the company through an agency for 6 months prior to this. My first role was as a Production Operative, manufacturing canisters and wet wipe flowrap packs for product lines including Oasis and AZO. At the beginning of 2010 my role was made redundant as part of the outsource of the canister manufacturing process, however I was fortunate enough to get a role as a Goods Inwards Warehouse Operative, in which I was responsible for unloading and storing products delivered into our distribution warehouse.
I was promoted in late 2010 to Maintenance Technician, where I was responsible for testing steam sterilizers and maintaining the cleanroom production machines. My current role is Production Manager and I am responsible for the Wet Wipes and Cleanroom manufacturing areas. In these areas we manufacture a variety of our hygiene and surgical products including Conti and Oasis patient cleansing wipes, Azo environmental cleaning wipes and BERT laparoscopic retrieval bags.
What did you do prior to working at Vernacare?
Prior to working at Vernacare I studied a BTEC National Diploma in Public Services at college. Back then I was interested in using this qualification to join the police force but later decided it was not the correct career route for me.
What is a typical day like for you?
One of the great things about working at Vernacare is that no two days are ever the same. There are different challenges to overcome on a daily basis, whether it be improving production processes or working on new product developments.
What is your favourite part of the role and what are the challenges?
My favorite part of the role is working closely with my team to ensure that we produce quality products within tight deadlines to meet customers’ expectations. It is therefore important for me to constantly ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently throughout all stages of production.
I also enjoy taking a hands-on approach to improving production processes. As I said, I face different challenges on a daily basis, so I often have to call on knowledge and experience gained from previous roles to find solutions to any problems.
The challenges within the role often come when balancing customer demands, whilst ensuring efficiency of the production lines are not hindered.
My favorite part of the role is working closely with my team to ensure that we produce quality products within tight deadlines.
What is your most significant professional achievement to date?
My most significant professional achievement to date has to be the relocation of our wet wipes manufacturing area, not once but twice. Both times we had to work to tight deadlines, in order to ensure that customer orders were not put at risk, whilst we improved our production areas.
The second occasion was in late 2018, following the acquisition of Synergy Health Healthcare Consumable Solutions. This was particularly difficult to manage as we not only had to relocate our wet wipes area but also had to ensure that our old cleanroom production areas were cleared so that demolition work was not delayed. Since the relocation, we have seen significant improvements within our wet wipes manufacturing processes, which now run better than ever!
What values are essential to be successful in your role?
Communication is key in my role. I work closely with my team, direct reports and other people around the business daily, so it is important to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. My team is made of employees of several different nationalities, so it is also important that I communicate clearly to overcome any language barriers.
Strong organization and planning skills are also crucial within my role. I am responsible for ensuring that all production lines are running efficiently, an imbalance of speeds between production lines could have a detrimental effect on productivity and consequently effect our ability to fulfil customer orders, so it is important that processes are carefully planned.
Where do you see yourself and the company within the next 10 years?
I have been with Vernacare for 10 years now, in that time the business has grown significantly. In the next 10 years I hope to continue developing within my role and as part of the Vernacare family, maintaining the hard work put in by all of the teams to ensure continued growth on a global scale.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
When I’m not working, I enjoy playing badminton. I play with a few of my Vernacare colleagues once and week and also play competitively within the mid Lancashire Badminton League. I am the captain and secretary of the club, so I have to continue to use my management skills outside of work, all be it in a fun and enjoyable environment with less pressure.