Flexiform designs, manufactures and installs office furniture for blue-chip companies and Government bodies across the UK and overseas. This requires incredible teamwork through all departments from Design Engineers to Delivery and Aftercare. All the work is carried out to the highest quality and safety standards. We caught up with Health & Safety/Quality Control Manager, Paul Fulton, to get an insight into his role.
Hi Paul, can you please tell us a little bit about your role as Health & Safety & Quality Control Manager?
In simple terms I help to maintain and facilitate the required Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality compliance of all business activities within both Flexiform and the sister company Asgard.
The technical answer is I monitor, maintain, and review business processes for compliance in line with all relevant legislation, regulations, approved codes of practice, and accreditation standards the company must maintain. This includes ISO and Safe Contractor as they are an essential customer criterion to get onto frameworks such as CCS and YPO.
It’s a complex, but rewarding job. I help to keep the business and my colleagues safe while ensuring our products are made to a consistently high standard.
How long have you been working in the Health & Safety sector, and have you always been within a manufacturing company?
It’s been just over five years in total where Health, Safety and Quality management has been my main role. I have mainly been involved within manufacturing my entire working life, and H&S, quality and continual improvement have always played an important part in what I do.
You know your H&S! so, what attracted you to Flexiform?
I was impressed with the vision and investment plan the Leadership Team had in place for the future continual improvements within the factory. It excited me as I could see where I was able to add value and help drive Flexiform forward which fitted well into the fresh challenge I was looking for!
You have made a lot of changes in the time you have been here, what have you implemented that has made the biggest impact?
It’s not just me, implementing change requires a collective effort, my training, and experience within H&S, quality, and manufacturing processes has added to the Flexiform team effort to continually improve product quality and the safety of our employees, contractors and visitors.
The biggest impact has been in the new business improvement projects within the manufacturing facility and the seating department. This involves a lot of re-organisation of existing equipment and machinery to accommodate new machinery, and integrate it into our process flow.
My role within this project has been to update the existing health and safety policies and documentation to reflect the new changes and ensure that the work was carried out safely. As you can imagine, the machines are very big and installing them wasn’t easy!
I have recently introduced the Flexiform “Safety Hub” a comprehensive H&S online platform to deliver mandatory H&S training and awareness to all employees including the Directors!
Can you tell us about the biggest challenge you have faced since starting here, and how you overcame it?
H&S culture is always the biggest and continual challenge which is the same in every company! To achieve this, I am approachable, listen, welcome questions, and always give factual answers even if sometimes they are not the answers people want. It’s always worked for me throughout my career and I see signs of it working here at Flexiform.
Our factory processes both the Asgard Secure Steel Storage and Flexiform Business Furniture brands, do you approach quality control for the two very different brands in the same way?
Yes, quality is about consistency, understanding, and improvement, it doesn’t matter what you are making.
The principle is PLAN – what we are going to do.
DO – what we said we are going to do.
CHECK – if we are doing what we said we were going to do.
ACT – on any actions identified in the check process by revisiting the plan. The process is a full circle.
These simple principles make a huge difference.
Have you brought any Health & Safety processes from your old roles that have been particularly successful here?
Not so many processes but principles, knowledge, and experience to improve document control, document format, employee attitudes, and H&S compliance requirements. This has helped make a successful impact in reducing the number of non-conformances raised by external auditors of our management systems.
What’s next on the drawing board?
Flexiform is currently supporting me as I study for my level 5 diploma in occupational health and safety. As this is an evidenced-based course it enables me to further develop my skills as I continue to help develop the business in its continuous improvement plans, a win-win for all!
Thank you for your time Paul, and the contributions to Flexiform! Have a look below of Spotlights with Flexiform staff members!