Group Transport and Site Manager, Jonathan Bryan, has been based at Clayton Glass’ new Huthwaite glass factory since April 2018. In that time, he has overseen two previous ownerships, and numerous comings and goings. We caught up with Jonathan to chat about the site. Specifically, the extraordinary people, his role in it all, and why he is optimistic about the future.
Back in November, we reported the exciting news that Clayton Glass had purchased two new Glass manufacturing sites, one based in Blackburn focusing on the production of roof glass units, and one located in Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, creating IGUs.
In November, this interviewer visited Clayton Glass’ new Huthwaite IGU factory on completion of the purchase. The purpose of the trip was to interview staff, take some photos, and generally get a feel for the place in order to create some marketing material. While the site itself is, undeniably, state-of-the-art, what is really striking about Clayton Glass Huthwaite is the people who work there. From conducting interviews with eight separate staff members, ranging from shop floor workers to management, the attitudes and willpower on display were somewhat awe-inspiring.
“We have a group of really honest guys here. You’ll find no one more honest than Richard Woolley (Cutting Supervisor), Ryan Kirk (Yard Manager) or Linsey West (Shift Manager) to name a few. We’ve all come through hard times, and are now very much looking forward to the future.”Jonathan Bryan
As we begin the interview, one of the first things Jonathan tells me is that, prior to the buyout by Clayton Glass, the Huthwaite workforce had been “In survival mode for the last 18 months”. This emphasises the staying power and mental rigidity of the kind of employee it takes to make the cut in Huthwaite. Jonathan reinforces this point. Explaining how everyone that is at the site now, has been there for the duration of this troublesome time. Jumping ship was never an option.
“We’ve got a tremendous number of people that care” says Jonathan. “The amount of people that care about getting the product out on time, at the highest possibly quality, is incredible”. Jonathan explains that this attitude is not limited to the shop floor. But, throughout the offices too. “In every part of this site you will find people who go over and above. People who stay longer hours. People, who are completely, and unequivocally, committed to the cause.” says Jonathan.
Turning attention to the man himself, we discuss Jonathan’s role as Group Transport and Site Manager. “I came in as Business Improvement Manager in the beginning” Jonathan tells me. “We initially had four sites. But, due to the difficulties I mentioned before, we had to close two of them. This has led to my role becoming more expanded”. Jonathan goes on to tell me that his responsibilities range from safety, quality control and production, to planning, ordering and customer analysis.
BEING A PEOPLE PERSON
“What I really enjoy is working with people” Jonathan says with a smile. “I am a people person. Doing these varied roles has allowed me to get to know everyone really, really well. I’d say I know 90% of the people here by name”. Jonathan explains that he firmly believes it is the people who make a business, and that internal development is one of the most important things a business can do. “I really like developing people. Everybody here is better at their own role than I would be. That’s exactly how I want it to be! I really do enjoy seeing people develop in their roles.” Says Jonathan. “I believe the next me is here somewhere already.”
It is the opinion of this interviewer, that it appears to take a specific personality type to fully embody the role of the Production Manager, especially at the Huthwaite site over the last couple of years. It is a given that this employee must be hard-working, but there is a friendliness, approachability and ability to communicate that is vital to the role. “I treat everybody the same.” Says Jonathan, “I can walk around the shop floor and have a conversation with anyone, I think this is important.”
“In every part of this site you will find people who go over and above. People who stay longer hours. People, who are completely, and unequivocally, committed to the cause.”Jonathan Bryan
Jonathan goes on to tell me that rather than simply approaching a Shift Manager with an idea for potential improvement, he will incorporate an entire team before making a decision of this nature, asking for opinions and comments from anyone who has something to say. “You need to speak to the people who are actually involved with the job at hand” says Jonathan. “Not only will you get fresh perspectives and people’s different thought processes. But, you make people feel involved. part of something. Because they are. This get’s everybody on board and increases morale.”
HONESTY, POSITIVITY & OPTIMISM
On a final note, Jonathan tells me: “There’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the site, this was down to financial difficulties from the previous owners, we’ve been through administration, been through times when we’ve had no glass. However, this has allowed the character of the people here to shine through. We have always been honest with our customers, delivering bad news early.
“There’s not been a day where I’ve walked into the business and portrayed a negative attitude. You would never have walked into this place and detected an ounce of negativity. Not from any of the people we have working here. We have a group of really honest guys here, you’ll find no one more honest than Richard Woolley (Cutting Supervisor), Ryan Kirk (Yard Manager) or Linsey West (Shift Manager) to name a few. We’ve all come through hard times, and are now very much looking forward to the future.”
In conclusion, it would appear that the staff at Clayton Glass’ new glass manufacturing facility have been embodying the qualities of the Clayton difference long before they had any association with us. The honesty in putting the customer first by performing their roles to the best of their ability, despite everything going on around them, is something you’d normally say is rather remarkable. But for this interviewer, having met the majority of the core team, and seeing this tenacity first hand, it comes as no surprise. Finally, echoing the sentiments of Jonathan Bryan, Clayton Glass are very excited about having the Huthwaite site as a key part of our line-up.