10 Questions with a Manufacturing Director – Keven Kane | Manufacturing Growth Programme

Kevan Kane, Managing Direct of Technoset, Coventry

  1. What drove you to pursue a career in manufacturing?

I went into manufacturing straight out of school. Joining a Coventry manufacturing business in 1981 supporting their quality department, developing my skills and learning more of the technical side to the role is where I really developed my interest in manufacturing. Applying myself and becoming the best I can be, I grew within quality and moved as Quality Manager to Technoset. Meeting key objectives lead to a move into Production Management supporting business development. I then took the opportunity to run the business on behalf of the owner as Managing Director towards the end of 2008.

  1. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Becoming Managing Director at Technoset in late 2008 was a big challenge as we were walking into a significant recession that was affecting the business along with the rest of the UK. Steering the business through that time and building the business up to where it is at now is my proudest professional achievement. On a personal level, completing the London Marathon in 2007 and 2009 have been my proudest personal achievements.

  1. What does a typical day look like?

As any Director, my working days are very rarely 9 to 5. Monday to Thursday I arrive at the office for 8am until 5pm and Friday we close the business at 1pm, however this usually stretches out to 3/ 3.30pm to meet deadlines. Arriving home, it’s hard to switch off. I tend to spend 2-3 hours working on my laptop, catching up on emails and putting some additional time developing strategy outside of the day-to-day activities.

  1. If you hadn’t embarked on a career in manufacturing, what do you think you would be doing now?

My dream job would have been a professional footballer. But as only a small percentage cut the mark, I played semi-professional from 1981 – 1994 where I was forced to stop due to a knee injury. I have always believed that being active in sport has made me extremely disciplined and driven to succeed in business. Many business challenges and a strategy to overcome them would be resolved whilst pounding the streets and training for the Marathons.

  1. What have you implemented in your business that you would encourage other manufacturers to embrace and implement?

Lean manufacturing. We’ve received funding support to help develop our lean manufacturing over the years through MAS and MGP. Every business should look at improving their efficacy and productivity and the best way to do this is by focusing on becoming leaner, especially with the increasing impacts of overseas competitors and their ‘low’ costs.

  1. What would you like your legacy to be once you retire?

Whether business or personal “A person whom had and stuck by a core set of business principles and staying true to himself, stakeholder’s, family and friends”.

  1. How do you think the manufacturing community can collectively continue to engage young people into manufacturing?

We engage with our local schools regularly and we support students with work experience opportunities. I would advise all manufacturing businesses to provide this kind of support to their local community. We also engage with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) apprentices and I’m part of the Midland Group Training School as a board member. I am very keen to engage with youngsters to increase the idea that manufacturing is a good career path, using myself as an example of working up the chain into a director position.

  1. Wise words, advice or tips for someone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing?

Today’s UK manufacturing is different to how it was when I was setting out. There are so many wonderful opportunities and technological advances in manufacturing today, especially in the Midlands region. With more opportunities at the bigger brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce, there are far more and better opportunities for those wanting to pursue a career in manufacturing today.

  1. What one thing would you change to make your business more efficient and productive if money was no object?

Skills is an industry wide concern. It saddens me that as an industry, we are missing out on so many opportunities because of the lack of skills. We are all trying to do our bit and some progress has been made via Universities, The MTC and alike at the high end of manufacturing and academic level. British Engineers are still recognised as the Best in the World. My overriding concern is at grass roots level (SMEs / Sub-Contractors) which are the life blood of our industry, some of the best Engineer’s that I have worked with are not necessarily from an Academic Background. They have come via the Technical College route of which we have neither the facility, capability or desire to supply anymore. So if I had a limitless pot of money, I would set up internal, structured in-house training school, ensuring that Technoset would have an endless supply of engineers with the oversupply supporting supply chains.

  1. What is your view on post Brexit Britain – positive, negative or indifferent and why?

My initial response was ‘remain’. Originally, I was very concerned of the impact it would have on the business, however we’ve had very little negative impact to date resulting in concerns being allayed. I’m still unsure as to what it means for the future, however we have gained from new opportunities with exporting to America and China in 2017 to support our customers strategic changes.

More information on Technoset can be found here: www.technoset.com or call 01788 560522.

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Copyright © Economic Growth Solutions, 19th February 2018.