Name Phil Bartlett
Position Digicon, Finishing and QC Supervisor
At Bakers since: 1989
Phil celebrated 30 years at Bakers last year, having joined the company as a fresh faced 20 year old in 1989. He came with no print experience and has learned everything he knows through working on the job. Starting on a little hot blocking machine he gradually moved up the chain, working on various machines over the years and learning about the different departments. Since the move to Brentwood in 2011 the company has nearly doubled in size with almost 100 employees. Phil is supervisor to one of the largest departments that covers the Digicons, Finishing and Quality Control
Phil with Paul Sykes
Can you describe a typical day for you at Bakers?
Hectic! First focus is production so I’ll know from the day before what the jobs are that need to be out the door that day. Most of that will have been produced the day prior but I make sure anything that isn’t finished gets done first. It does often happen that we’re producing and shipping on the same day. We’re always aiming for a quicker turnaround and the 48 hour target we’ve set ourselves is happening more and more because it’s what customers demand.
I’ll speak to the other supervisors on the factory floor to work through any challenges that we’re likely to face that day and I’m in regular contact with the admin supervisor that handles the NCRs as I’m on the front line to help answer any questions about production.
I’ve got up to 14 members of staff that I’m directly responsible for so at the start of the day I check on them and go through the various departments to make sure they know what they’ve got to get done that day and manage any staffing issues that crop up.
I never come in and think “I’ve got this day sussed”. It keeps it interesting. I often wake up and think of how I could have done things differently. I’m still learning after 30 years. I just can’t shut down but I’ve learned that you can only control the controlables. But there are so many variables that go towards the running of the company on a daily basis. Staff could be off sick, machines go wrong. Things develop during the day and although you can plan down to the last detail something can always change that and we have to be able to adapt
You’ve been at Bakers for over 30 years. What are the biggest changes to happen in that time?
We used to have to wing it a lot to make things work – even using cigarette papers under labels to get the print right. The equipment we had to work on in the past was good but no where near the quality we have now. The standard of the work we produce and the quality our customers demand is so much higher now. Moving the whole factory to Brentwood and the investment in the equipment we have here has put us on a whole new level.
I’d say you could have more of a laugh in the very early days but we’re stricter now that we work at a higher level. The company is too good to carry people that aren’t going to do the job well or aren’t willing to learn. We have a great, positive team now and mixed in with that we have some old characters that are set in their ways but have a lot to teach the youngsters.
Speaking of youngsters, your youngest son Evan joined Bakers as an apprentice last year.
Yes he joined after leaving school and he’s really enjoying it. I’m probably harder on him than I am on other members of staff so no-one thinks he’s being favoured. His apprenticeship is up this year and he’ll have a decision to make. I’m very proud of him. He’s got tons to learn but it’s his very first job and he’s doing very well. He picks things up really quickly and has learned a lot.
Bakers is a family company, what does that mean to you personally?
We’re in a bubble here and I know what a great place this is to work compared to other print outfits. We have a great environment at the factory in Brentwood – we’re very well looked after.
I’ve spent most of my life with the company so I take the work personally. Having made family sacrifices for it, I’m invested in the company. I worked for my family. I’ve given my life and I’ve had the rewards and I know the loyalty they’ve given me and vice versa. I’ve given everything that I can and I think they appreciate that. They’ve given me a job for so many years and I’m so grateful for that. It’s more than a job though, it’s a lifestyle. As bad as days can get, I never think I don’t want to go to work.
I’m proud of the way I am, where I am as a supervisor.
I’ve grown up with Steve Baker and we’ve had the same approach, work ethic and we’ve changed together. We’re do-ers, hands on. I’d like to think I’m good at my job and no one tries to get one over on me.
Bakers is important to me – it’s my life