09 May 2017

Spotlight On: Manufacturing

From humble beginnings in a tiny office with one printer, Archers has grown over the past 20 years into an established sign maker specialising in live entertainment events. Clients and jobs are varied but there is one constant - the in-house production team. Based in West London, Archers’ manufacturing headquarters has expanded over the past five years so that 95% of its work is produced on site. This means they can react quickly to tight deadlines and high standards of quality are achieved on every single job. The man in charge of those standards is Operations Manager Glen MacMahon. Here he gives an insight into the Archers factory…

Montage of production facilities
Archers produces 95% of its work in-house

Tell us a bit about your manufacturing facility:

There’s not much we can’t do in-house really. We have a CNC machine and a metal folding machine which allow us to cut and fold sheet materials with accuracy. And we have all of the equipment and expertise required to fabricate pretty much anything; from a simple tray sign to a bespoke multimedia point of sale display. We have two HP latex printers which produce high quality, durable prints on a wide range of substrates. We have plotters which allow us to cut vinyl graphics with ease, a laminator to give prints added durability and a Bobis applicator which allows us to mount adhesive materials with speed and precision. For anything we can’t do in-house, we outsource to one of our skilled and trusted third party suppliers.

What’s the team like?

I’m in a fortunate position in that I work closely with everyone in the company and they are a great bunch of people. There are some big personalities within the team but there are no egos. There is great camaraderie and lots of banter and laughter on a daily basis. I would even go so far as to say the Archers team is more like a family.

Operations Manager Glen working on an illuminated point of sale display
Operations Manager Glen at work

What’s your most memorable job?

We produced and installed illuminated point of sale displays for a high street sports brand; one in central London and the other in Manchester. The interactive displays were to promote a new and very high profile range of celebrity-endorsed trainers.

They were comprised of numerous components, mostly manufactured by us in house, and pretty much everyone in the factory contributed towards their construction. The final element of the construction was the installation of computer controlled colour changing LED light systems which were supplied and installed by a third party specialist. We worked together with their technicians to complete both displays before the incredibly tight deadline and they were both installed in the wee small hours in time for the promotion to begin the next day.

What’s the biggest challenge you face?

Choosing a radio station that everyone likes. Impossible.

How do you motivate the staff?

Our staff are generally in good spirits and eager to do a good job. Sometimes staff are required to work late when time is of the essence. In those situations, the promise of pizza is the ultimate motivational tool!

Living moss wall being installed in Land Rover's hospitality suite at Twickenham Rugby Stadium
The living moss wall at Twickenham Stadium

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve produced?

We’ve done some weird and wonderful stuff over the years but one thing that springs to mind is the living moss wall we created for Land Rover’s hospitality suite at Twickenham stadium during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. It was like nothing we’d ever done before but it went without a hitch and it looked amazing!

Jobs often need to be turned around very quickly and at short notice - how do you cope with that?

Our staff have all become accustomed to tight deadlines and our production managers are experts in juggling tasks and prioritising. We have great relationships with our suppliers too so if we need to order materials quickly they are always accommodating.

If we are really up against it, there are always willing volunteers to put in extra hours, especially when there is pizza on offer!

What’s on your wish list for the factory this year?

Air conditioning would be nice. In the summer months it gets incredibly hot in the factory, especially on the mezzanine level.