Katy spoke to Automotive Glass Experts (AGE) about the opportunities she has taken at National Windscreens, the value of working across the business and the importance of asking questions.
- Becoming an Operations Specialist at National Windscreens is a demanding and noteworthy role. Could you share pivotal moments or experiences that have influenced your decision-making during challenging times and led you to this significant position?
In my thirty years at National Windscreens, I have been fortunate enough to have worked across every department in the company which has given me a wholesale understanding of the interconnected nature of the organisation. These experiences across the business provided the insight to streamline processes and improve service to the customer. There has been a great deal of change as we have grown enormously over this time, and I have been lucky enough to see a good deal of it!
The pivotal experiences, for me, have often involved the seismic shifts within our society and adapting how we work. From the chaos caused by COVID, to the introduction of new technology such as the internet, or artificial intelligence, and the change in the membership structure of the company, these changes have deepened my understanding of business and its operations.
"Listen, be inquisitive, and learn how each department works.”
Operations serve as the backbone of any organization. How do you perceive your role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of National Windscreens' operations?
There are lots of factors to consider in operations, but the two most important aspects are people and technology. My role is to ensure that our operational capabilities align with the objectives of the company. I work to improve processes wherever possible and communicate the decisions with the wider team to help them understand the reasons behind the actions taken.
I enjoy speaking with the different stakeholders from across the business. I recently visited the different locations across the UK to train the individual fitting centres on best practice. This helped me to understand the wider membership and explain what was effective and what was not. Once people are shown the benefits, they quickly ‘buy in’ to the concept if communicated well.
- Can you provide insights into the strategies or initiatives that National Windscreens and AGE, as a global network, have undertaken to ensure smooth operations and deliver high-quality services in the competitive automotive glass industry?
Being an AGE member provides National Windscreens with real benefits including access to the AGE portal. The portal makes invoicing a much simpler process. The advanced record keeping in the portal allows us to upload payments and track the progress of the job, providing the customer with a smooth experience. The AGE network also allows us to provide services to customers from across the globe and gives us the option to exchange our knowledge and expertise with other members.
- In conclusion, what advice would you offer to individuals, particularly young women, aspiring to excel in operational roles within the automotive glass industry? How can they effectively contribute to the growth and success of their organizations, both nationally and internationally?
I once received some fantastic advice from Ray Waters, our former commercial manager who said: “Listen, be inquisitive, and learn how each department works.” The more I understood about the different departments, the more knowledge I gained. This experience allowed me to see the big picture of the business.
My advice would be to take the opportunities presented to you and to embrace challenges throughout your career. I would suggest doing all you can to gain a deep understanding of how people and technology combine across procurement, logistics, the journey of materials from suppliers and how these factors come together to deliver the best possible service to the customer.