In the last year, Contra Vision have welcomed a few people in to the team like our new Product Manager, Nick Rigg. We have had the pleasure of getting to know Nick since April of last year and so we have asked him a couple questions so you can get to know him too.
In 2020, you joined the print industry which is new to you. Can you tell me a bit about previous industries you have worked in and if any of the skills/knowledge you gained from working in those industries has been useful in your new role?
The company I previously worked for was in the product inspection sector for food and pharmaceutical producers. The company manufactured metal detectors for in-line product inspection and rejection mechanisms to remove contaminated products. For over 10 years I worked in various roles at the company including Manufacturing Engineer, Continuous Improvement Facilitator and Product Manager. So, I have been able to tap into each of those areas as the Product Manager here at Contra Vision.
Working for a manufacturing company has been key for me in understanding the mechanics of production, material/component sourcing, logistics and supplying customers around the world, and it is the same for most B2B manufacturing companies. Dealing with manufacturing, sales teams and customers on a global scale is also something I am familiar with.
The difference for me this time is that the manufacturing is not on the same site as the offices, but that disconnect has not been an issue. Product Management is such a multi-disciplined role and very transferrable, so all the experience and skills I have picked up in the past have been easy to apply to Contra Vision and the way the business is set-up.
Interestingly, during some research into my family tree I found that my Great Grandfather was in the printing industry as well, so perhaps this was destined to be.
Can you explain what your role is as Product Manager at Contra Vision?
Being a product manager can cover a multitude of areas depending upon the size of the business. At Contra Vision the main areas of responsibility are:
- Managing the new product portfolio – taking an idea or problem and turning it into a sellable solution and covering every step of that process to make sure the right product is fit for purpose and sold at the right price.
- Managing the current product portfolio, keep an eye on what products are doing well, or not so well and how to help those that are not, is more promotion required or is the product at the end of its life?
- Dealing with quality assurance mainly and providing technical support to the sales team and our customers.
Other areas include technical documentation, market research and research & development as we look for products and materials for the future. We are particularly focused on how we can create a ‘greener’ one way vision film within a circular economy business model.
You joined a new industry during lockdown, how did you find this situation?
It was a bizarre situation. My family and I had been travelling around Europe in our motorhome for the previous couple of years. When I got the role, we had planned to take one more trip to France and then find somewhere to rent near the Bramhall office.
We ended up being stuck on a campsite in the Cotswolds, which was not a bad place to be, so that was where I started working. I ended up renting a caravan from the campsite and used it as my office for a little over two months. Then when the first lockdown ended, we moved North, and I could ‘meet’ most of the team for the first time.
For me personally it was a good time to join as there was less day to day pressure compared to when the business and customers are busy buying and selling. It enabled me to build up my knowledge of the business and products, and even make changes to some of the processes and procedures under my responsibility.
What were the challenges from joining a company who were working from home at the time?
Remote working was new for everyone, I joined at the end of April after only a month or so of lockdown and had only met the directors in person during the recruitment process. Meeting the rest of team was very different to normal as you miss out on the informal office conversations or going for a drink after work, and so getting to know people on a more personal level takes a bit longer.
Otherwise, the company was very accommodating considering my surroundings and very supportive of everyone’s health and well-being, there were quizzes most weeks and everyone was in the same boat so lots of chat via messenger and video calls. The downside though has been that there has not been an opportunity to go and see printers or go to conferences and shows to meet and network with people in the industry.
What advice do you have for people who are starting new roles during this time where many companies are still working from home?
I would say that now is actually a great time to join a new company. The world has changed so much, and it has highlighted working practices that were perhaps a bit outdated. Companies were worried about trusting their employees to work from home but with developments in technology and IT, it is very easy to run a lot of your business remotely.
Depending upon you as an individual, you should be able to perform your job just as well from home and the benefits I have from this have been in-valuable. I am not having to sit in the car for an hour a day to and from the office, I am spending more time with my daughters throughout the day and even being able to walk the dog at lunchtime. I do miss the interaction with colleagues in the office, so for me personally having part of the week at home and part in the office is preferable.