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Communication is key when managing change

Yorkshire and Derbyshire: sia Abrasives

Communication is key when managing change

Clock Reading Time: 5 minutes

If the key to good management is effective communication, then Marianne Serré is up there with the best. As Managing Director of Bosch subsidiary sia Abrasives, Marianne spends a lot of time on the shop-floor, talking and listening to her team. It’s a tried and tested way of gaining valuable insight into every facet of daily operations.

team
(Left to Right) Marianne Serre (Managing Director), Darrell Hagreen (Head of Purchasing), Noor Chowdhury (Head of Quality), Garry Booth (Head of Finance), Cheryl Wright (Head of HR), Eddie Bingham (Head of Operations at Greetland)

“I’ve always been a team-oriented person, so I enjoy spending time on the shop-floor,” says Marianne, who joined sia one year ago after more than two decades at Bosch businesses in France and Germany.

“Good communication is vital. It’s the means by which, as Managing Director, I can improve working conditions and boost productivity.” Said Marianne.

sia is a technology-focussed business, providing abrasive solutions for a perfect finish in automotive, wood, metal and composite applications. Its products have been used to sand, polish and shine a wide range of products – from iPhone cases through to vehicle body parts.

In the UK, the business operates from two manufacturing sites. One is in Greetland, West Yorkshire, where non-woven hand-pads used primarily for metals are produced. The second is at Alfreton in Derbyshire, where the focus is on foam-backed abrasives, mainly for woods and composites.

The production processes at the two sites are very different and that has required contrasting approaches when it comes to business improvement. Marianne unpacked this for us: “At Greetland, the production of the non-woven product is quite complicated, and there is a lot of automation. So, there has been a real emphasis on refining the engineering and production process.

“Alfreton, on the other hand, is a bigger plant, and the focus has been more on organisation and making things as efficient as possible. We’ve been in something of a change mode at this facility, and that process will continue as we try to introduce a series of smaller, more incremental changes to make the plant as effective as possible.”

sia exterior
The exterior of the sia Greetland site
offices
Alferton 'shop floor'

For some, overseeing such levels of change management might be a cause of trepidation. But for Marianne, it’s an enjoyable – if challenging – part of the role. “Much of my career at Bosch has been spent looking at organisational processes such as logistics and lean manufacturing. I like improving things. I like going from one situation to another and making a difference. Yes, change can be difficult, but with good communication, it can make a really positive difference.”

“We are trying to be as innovative as possible, focussing our efforts on areas such as environmentally-friendly foam and non-woven products. There is a talented team here and this is an exciting time for the abrasives sector”

Marianne added. And from a personal perspective, Marianne expects to keep visiting the shop-floor and learning from her colleagues. “That will never change. I love people, and love being part of a team. Plus, being from France and new to living here, I’m enjoying learning about the British fascination with two particular topics - football and the weather!”

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