Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Day in the Life of Brian Heney

"Most people suffer under stress because they don't know their jobs. I think that if you know your job, it's like any other job.
You become accustomed to the way things happen, the situations that are involved."

Why did you choose a career in the printing industry?

I was a Finance Director, a trained accountant. I finished a job in 1995 and I was now looking for an independent business. I spent a lot of time researching different businesses. Every business had a positive and a negative side. So after 5 years I decided on printing and here I am.

What qualities are required for this kind of job?

A definite interest in the job. You really want to be totally committed and determined to see it through. It's very complex, there are a lot of standards, a lot of people driving change, you've got to constantly cope with what's going on. Software is changing. It's huge.

What is a typical career path in this job function?

I'm an owner manager in charge of sales. It's really the top. And if you are really interested in printing then you really have to have a degree level education, and once you're at that level you then step forward and you get involved in the various sides of printing.

Tell us about your typical day at your job.

Typical day here is mixed. It's a lot of complex jobs. One job came in today, it was for 700 brochures. It has to be approved, checked, customer's signature has to be obtained and approved. We had another job of 6000 pieces of marketing literature, they have to be printed, drilled, scored, they have to be out really quickly. We've got wedding stationary that has to be approved today. We just had a batch done for a guy who's father's birthday is in a few days. His father wrote a book, a 300 page novel, and he wanted to get it printed as a paperback.
We've done a very nice job for the Embassy of Guinea. They have passport approval procedures, it's a complex job, it's got to be numbered, so there is a good variety of work. It's really more that anybody can chew.

How many hours per week do you usually work?

Generally I do a 12 hours day, I come in at 9am and I leave at 9pm. Usually from 9am-5pm sales and after that tends to be administration and tidying up everything and make sure it's ok for the next day.
If you don't do this the following day it's chaos. One chaotic day leads to another chaotic day, and another chaotic day, and the place is perpetually in chaos. So you have to organize everything after hours, at the end of each day, so the following day everything is in its right place. Train companies, bus companies, all have to be in the right precision for the following morning. Printing is the same.

What was the most complex assignment you have had?

Probably the one we've just had for the Embassy of Guinea. It's a very complex job. We've done it before, so I suppose having it done before it may not seem so complex. Still, it was highly complex. Because everything is original, everything needs to be detailed and correct. So yes, the one we've just done, it doesn't get any more complicated than that. 

This must be an extremely stressful environment. How do you stay focused, how do you handle stress and pressure?

It is very stressful. I think the best definition I've heard of stress is that most people suffer under stress because they don't know their jobs. I think that if you know your job, it's like any other job. You become accustomed to the way things happen, the situations that are involved. And also stress is held by having people around me that know their jobs. I've got very good people here, and they know their job inside-out, they can handle problems. It's a very good team work here, we generally get on. There are some scary moments, but we tend to get over them.

Did it ever happen that you missed a significant deadline?

Never. We've never let a customer down. Ever. Normally what I do is I arrange that I'm here to handle any problems after 5 so if there is a situation when somebody is let down I can fill in and the staff can go home. We've had customers coming in here at half past 5 for jobs, on a Friday night. I remember one night in particular, I was here on a Saturday morning at 3am doing his job and the customer came to collect at 4am and payed for it. There's always enough time if you really want to. I mean, a customer is a customer. They are right even if they are wrong.

I know that you, as a company, have been into this business for almost 30 years now. What is the company's plan for the next five years, and how will you help it grow?

We hope to be an online player in the market. Not a big player. Printing doesn't work big. Printing works small. Because it's so complex each individual transaction has to be handled, and handled by people who care. A small team is best for printing. 10 years ago there were 13,000 printers in the UK, there are 3000 left. So a part of the reason there were 13,000 it was because of the inherit complexity within printing. One of the reasons there are 3000 left is because machines have become very, very complicated, more efficient. Those efficient machines coming on to the market, create an oversupply of technology in the market. And it tends to cull those who are inefficient.
So I would hope that in 5 years time we will thrive the internet, local internet business. Nothing phony, nothing that people are being ripped of, good prices, people are picking up good quality and they are able to collect. They don't feel they've got to go into a different district to be able to do their shopping and to find what they need. They can pick up within a 3-4 miles radius within our business. And we intend to be here in 5 years' time. 100%.


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