Bowhill has formed a strong culture and reputation for supplying landmark steelwork to the highest level. We have found that when producing consistent high-quality workmanship, there can be only one standard or expectation across the board. However, as in any workshop, people can be on several different levels of development, the key is building everyone to a consistently high-quality standard as quickly as possible, this is only possible through consistent communication and a strong teaching/coaching/learning culture. “Together We Thrive”, what we are looking to grow is a workshop of skilled people that are interchangeable from task to task without falter and without a noticeable change in the quality of the job being produced. This all sounds obvious, however harder to achieve than you may think.
So, the standard part is easy….or so it would seem, if you stick to a consistent message and hold everyone to the same sword then expectations are clear? This is where the issues lay, not everyone is at the same stage of development (trade), mindset, age, or even physique/strength/ability.
We have a strong focus on apprentices, this is the path to our future growth. We look upon these young lads with a different scope to most, we put in great effort to first find and recruit the correct candidates. Then it’s into the fire, with intensive training and a support system to help our apprentices quickly grow to be true providers of value and begin learning immediately, normally up and running on productive work within a month or less.
To build apprentices this quickly they need support and a lot of it. The answer to a supportive environment is a team that has removed “ego” and is totally focussed on delivering high-quality work, improving themselves and their peers without judgment, and the silent critique of the competent towards the developing. This creates a strong supportive culture. We have been able to create this at Boweng.
This culture has taken time to build but has been created in exactly the same way that it exists, by holding each other accountable, learning from each other’s mistakes, and promoting the team wins rather than individual success.
Besides the obvious gains in quality, the real benefit here is the share of responsibility. With increased workloads and higher expectations, it can come down to the few rather than the many, those that are competent and successful in their field tend to bear the workload and become heavily relied upon for a company/project to be successful. This can be a motivator for some (especially in the beginning), but what tends to happen is these people are people…and that feeling of overreliance can be a burden and eventually have a negative effect. The more even the spread, the more even the pressure, the more work we can put out as an organisation whilst maintaining our high-quality levels and ensuring that the team remains hungry and excited about the next challenge.
The message is deliberate, our purpose of “together we thrive” sums up the quality culture we are creating at Bowhill, it’s a consistent quality level throughout the workshop. Yes, there are differing levels of ability and experience, but these are known, managed, and controlled and this is why “Together we Thrive”
Article by Tom Dennis | Production Manager