Rachel Dowling-Brown is the production manager at the UK’s oldest fire vehicle manufacturer, Angloco, based in Batley.
Midweek my alarm is always set for 5am and the first thing I do is throw on my trainers and go for a run.When I return, I refuel with a bowl of fruit for breakfast and a strong black coffee, then go and get myself ready for the day ahead.
My daughter is awake by this time, so I help her get dressed for school and do some housework before the school run – stick on a load of washing, empty the bins and load the dishwasher.
After I’ve dropped off my daughter, I arrive at work at 8am.
The first thing I do is make myself a second cup of coffee and sit down with the workshop manager to go over the ongoing build of our vehicles, as well as anything that needs some input from me.
We have two warehouses, with 45 staff, so it is my job to manage them and ensure all vehicles are to the exact specification that they requested from us.
I also make sure that the team has everything they need to be able to fulfil their busy production schedules, in the given timescales – it’s not always such a smooth ride though, so when this is the case I figure out how to get it back on track.
I then catch up on the emails that have accumulated during the out of office hours – there’s usually a few – to prepare myself for another busy day at Angloco.
I am in a client meeting this morning. We have these at every stage of the manufacturing process, so that we can discuss specifications, changes in requirements and undertake final inspections.
Today I’m with a customer clarifying aspects of the build and layout of their equipment.
We’re building a large fleet of identical vehicles for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service at the moment, who have just unveiled the first completed ones to their team and the general public – and we’ve had some really positive feedback.
This is one of my favourite parts of my role, receiving thank you messages and the sense of pride that comes along with it.
The other thing I love about working at Angloco is seeing the end product leave the workshop. It’s so satisfying knowing that we’ve designed and built something that the end user will be happy with.
Even on extremely tough days, and no matter how hard it gets, all of this makes it worth it and I can’t see myself ever not being a part of it.
I return to my office at midday, just in time for the workshop buzzer going off – I usually take this as my cue to break off for lunch.
I always go out for a walk to get away from my desk and clear my head.
This gives me the opportunity to reflect, and I’m reminded of how far myself and the business has come.
It was by chance that I came across Angloco – a recruitment agency found the role for me – and in 2009 I arrived for an interview.
Ten years later I’ve progressed from production department assistant, to production manager.
When I get back, my afternoon is just as jam-packed as my morning was. I develop the electronic control of the pump systems, and design and create the digital display screens.
Today is a testing day and after a few tweaks I’ll be happy to show the end user.
It’s 2.30pm now, and the remainder of my day is filled with administrative tasks – writing workshop specifications, raising requisitions for parts, liaising with customers to answer queries and ensuring all of their requirements are being met, as well as planning the production loading.
I also put the finishing touches to a job description for our latest vacancies, as we’re on the lookout for various new team members to support our ongoing expansion.
My workday comes to an end at 4.30pm, and before I head off I always tidy my desk.
Doing this simple task makes me feel calmer and more in control if my workspace is clear. Then I’ll head to pick my daughter up from school.
As clichéd as it sounds, her and my husband are my favourite thing to come home to.
No matter what my day has held, I can always rely upon them to put a smile on my face! I make some dinner and we all sit down to eat together before I put my little girl to bed.
Then I relax on the sofa with my other half.
We usually watch a box set on the television – unwinding before the much-loved whirlwind of tomorrow starts all over again