Since starting at UKF in 2009, Chris Morris has tried to spend as much time as he can on the shop floor. Even now, in a role that many believe would have him stuck at his desk or in boardrooms, Chris can be found in the factory where he’ll either be moving stock or helping the guys in the warehouse.
During one of his shifts on the shop floor, we caught up with Chris and got to ask him a few questions.
UKF: So Chris, as Operations Director why do you still take time out to work on the shop floor?
CM: I believe it’s a key part of any operational role to have a full understanding of all aspects of what is happening within the shop floor. Within my role, I believe my time should be split between both the office and the shop floor and I try to do that the best I can. You are never too important to pick up a broom and give the place a sweep.
UKF: What benefits do you believe it has on your role as Operations Director?
CM: I have been taught a lot from our Group Managing Director (Simon Greenhill) and if I have learned anything from him it would be to “always have your finger on the pulse” and “go-look-see”. This cannot be done from behind the desk.
It helps me to maintain the relationships I have with the workforce, and foster new ones whenever we have a new face on the shop floor. In turn, I have kept in close contact with all the team, which allows me to make decisions and deal with situations quickly. By spending time on the shop floor, I can help implement change and find new ways to improve efficiency from my first-hand experiences.
Finally, I like to know where everything is and I never want to lose touch with that.
UKF: What benefits do you believe your presence and willingness to get your hands dirty has on the workforce?
CM: I always believe in clear and strong communication between departments, and I would most like to think it sends a message throughout the company that we are a team, a unit and we have to work very closely together. I like to manage from within so I believe having a strong team around is key.
I am very lucky that over the last 10 years I have been able to work with some great people that I have learned a lot from which I will always be thankful for and in return I have been able to grow and ultimately make decisions and improve the way the business has previously operated.
UKF: Do you think everyone should be willing to get their hands dirty once in a while?
CM: Yes, I believe all members of staff should have a level of knowledge in the product we – as a company – are supplying. I have been able to work throughout all areas of the shop floor across two sites, gaining a vast knowledge of our products, allowing me to make decisions within both the operational and commercial sides of the business.
UKF: Final question, it’s clear that teamwork and communication are important to you, where do you believe this stems from?
CM: I have been taught from a young age that “working together is winning together” so I would like to continue with that mentality within the next generation of UKF.