Meet the Team: Richard Clark

With a wealth of industry experience, we talk to UK Operations Director, Richard Clark about his role here at Ficep UK, his secret to success and what the future holds for the business.

Tell us about your background

My father has always worked in the steel industry, and when I left school, I decided to go straight into a four-year mechanical and electrical apprenticeship which gave me a good grounding. After my apprenticeship I was given a placement as a maintenance fitter within the business, learning on the job and getting stuck in with everything from repairing and moving machines to installing pipes. I became the main foundry engineer and that helped me develop quickly as I became the first point of contact at the business.

Over the next 28 years I worked in a number of engineering roles, but in 2001 I was offered an Engineering Manager role to look after production at a business I had previously worked. It was my first step into management, and I would subsequently go onto a UK Service Manager role within two years before an internal promotion helped me become an Operations Manager at a subsidiary in Rotherham.

What brought you to Ficep?

Unfortunately, I was made redundant in 2015 due to the business being sold. For the first time in my working life, I was facing unemployment, but everything happens for a reason and a week later I was introduced to Mark Jones from Ficep and shortly after I was offered a role at the business. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I have progressed from UK Service Manager to UK Operations Manager and now most recently the step up to UK Operations Director. My time at Ficep has been fantastic and a lot of that I believe is down to Mark, whose approach to managing the business and its people has created the opportunity I have been given most recently.

What does your role involve?

I am involved with most things outside of machine sales at Ficep. I write the annual budget for the operational side of the business which includes spare parts sales, on demand work, service contracts and also the tooling and vending side of the business which is currently growing year on year. I have a team of engineers that reports to me including the office staff and I am usually the last point of escalation. I still get to deal with and meet our valued customers and getting involved commercially. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Ficep UK and it feels like there are more and more opportunities arising due to our continued growth.

Every morning I like to try and get some time to myself in the office before the rest of the team arrives, it’s an invaluable opportunity for some peace and quiet to go through my emails before the day kicks in. At 8.30am things usually change to reactive mode. A day in the office can involve meeting customers, looking for new suppliers, being active in our tooling, vending and spares department, and supporting our internal team. I have an open-door policy and try my best to be approachable so that anyone can come to me for advice or support.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

It’s important to me that no matter how my role at the business develops, I still have chance to get out and meet customers. I enjoy maintaining and building new relationships with customers and providing fantastic support, and that will never change. Any issues they may experience end up on my desk and I always make sure to give them the type of first-class service they’ve come to expect from us. I’m proud of how Ficep has grown its reputation and operations. We’ve put a lot of effort into training our team and developing people internally.

What is the secret to your success?

I would honestly say the secret to my success is the people I work with. They’re a fantastic team that not only understands the business but has belief and respect for what we do, they deserve so much credit for delivering the ideas we come up with. My industry experience makes me able to spot opportunities but it’s the people I work with who deserve credit for delivering the opportunity successfully.

A recent example of this is how our tooling sales engineer, including support from the team in the office and out in the field, has transformed the tooling and vending side of our business, and subsequently Ficep’s tooling sales have quadrupled since I started in 2015. It’s a huge part of what we now do and is still growing.

What does the future hold?

The future looks challenging, but all the more exciting for it. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done and some big decisions to be made but knowing I have a team of great people around me means I have no doubt that we will continue to be a successful business. We want to make sure Ficep continues to grow and achieves the success it deserves, and we’ll be putting work into raising our profile and making sure our great reputation continues, and Ficep are always the first choice for our customers.

Richard Clark, UK Operations Director at Ficep UK

Richard Clark, UK Operations Director at Ficep UK

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