Career longevity at Oxford
25 Aug 2021
August sees us meet our third Production Manager and we’re heading off to the beautiful city of Oxford, where Phil Gardner looks after our factory.
Another long serving member of the B&P team, Phil has worked with us for over thirty years, long before the site was part of Boxes and Packaging and Logson Group.
We posed a few questions, and this is what he had to say.
When did you join the company? – Well, that would be about 33 years ago when it was Olympic Corrugated. Then it became part of Mondi, a name well known in corrugated in the nineties, and then it became Boxes and Packaging (Oxford).
What’s your career history? – Before I joined Olympic Corrugated, I worked at a paper mill on the re-winding machine. I moved to the corrugated industry when the mill closed, and I’ve just never left!
Talk us through a typical day in production at Boxes and Packaging Oxford – It’s fast paced, ever changing and we have a great team; it makes all the difference when ensuring we have a can-do approach to everything we do, even when it may have been a little unexpected!
To give us an idea of scale, how many boxes pass through the factory on average each day? – About 80,000 each day currently; the last fifteen months have been an incredibly busy period for us which is fantastic!
What would you say are the main elements of your role? – Clearly, it’s about keeping the factory running and ensuring our production schedule are fulfilled, but it’s also about being part of a team and keeping my team motivated, happy, engaged, and, most importantly, safe.
What do you like about your job? – A bit like the above really; I love being part of the team here and to see the people I work with wanting to do a good job; it really does make a difference when we’ve all got a positive attitude.
You’ve been in the industry for 33 years. Would you say packaging is a good career to have? – Absolutely, now more than ever. Corrugated has always been a great material to work with but now it’s getting the representation it deserves from a recycling and sustainability angle. It’s up to us, and the packaging employees of the future, to showcase the capabilities of corrugated and how truly versatile it is.
How has the packaging industry changed during your career? – Considerably, primarily through the use of computers and other technology. Gone are the days of planning a factory with a sheet of paper and a pencil and a rubber, although it’s not that may years since that was the case. Also, I think more and more people will choose it as a career. The attractiveness of corrugated will only grow as businesses continue to drive sustainability across all their operations. A large part of our work now is two and three colour print for the e-commerce market; I can remember a few years ago when this machine would have to be set by hand and now it’s just a few buttons!
What do you think the future of the industry looks like? – Fantastic! It’s back to the sustainability angle. More and more people are realising that corrugated can replace pretty much any other packaging material including some plastics and foam, polystyrene, metal and wood. When you see that it can be used to send goods across the globe, using cardboard pallets instead of wood, and even keeping products cool in the supply chain, we expect demand to continue.