A delivery of a different kind…
Postie to projects
In 2015, Paul Childs was a Postman in Weymouth, Dorset. Today, he’s just been involved in the delivery of a very different kind on the other side of the world…
After 9 years of working as a postie, Paul was looking for a change in career for something more challenging: ‘I left for an apprenticeship opportunity with a multinational blue-chip company where I completed a HNC (Higher National Certificate) in Mechanical Design, but I was always seen as an apprentice in a world of graduates which limited my development opportunities.’
On the hunt for a new role, Paul joined Mar-Key Group in March 2022 as Design Draughtsman and explains how it’s a real shift in environment from his previous employer: ‘If you show aptitude and willingness, you will be given the opportunity to jump right in!’
Nothing justifies that statement more than when, having worked for us for just over a year, in 2023 Paul was asked to go to Adelaide to oversee the build of our first Australian export project.
‘When the job came in the door, the brief was to design, build and ship a Grandstand canopy for the Adelaide 500. But there was a catch… we had to do it all in less than 2 months!’
‘Even the client thought it couldn’t be done’
The delivery of the grandstand canopy was a bespoke one, and it had to be craned into place over the seats that were already in situ. Not only that, the timeline was so extremely short that, we later found out that even our client doubted whether it could be done!
‘It was a real challenge for the design team as we had to release parts for manufacturing immediately because every day we spent designing was 1 day less for manufacturing. This meant it had to be right first time. Materials had been ordered before we had even designed the canopy, which put pressure on what we could and couldn’t design. We were sending the design for structural calculations at the same time that we were manufacturing them! We’re so lucky to have such a fantastic and experienced design team which meant that the calculations were approved exactly as expected… which was lucky as there was no time for a re-design! It came down to the wire and the last components were still being put together as the last container was being loaded.’
From computer screen in Dorset to on the ground down under
We flew Paul to Adelaide to assist with and oversee the beginning of the build and to help with unloading containers and identifying parts. A key element of this project was that our client needed to be able to install and remove the canopy themselves when required, so we sent some of our most experienced site team to work with them to help them get to know and understand our product.
Having shipped the structure to the other side of the world, we now had to ensure the build was quick and seamless. ‘There was real pressure to get this done quickly as we were blocking the track and had anything gone wrong, there would have been no race! Some of our most experienced team went out to show the local labour how to build it. It was great to see it go together so quickly, especially as it didn’t even exist on the computer screen a few months previously.’
A project this tight on timelines demonstrates the true strength of our design and manufacturing teams. It was such a group effort to pull together to make it happen, and their dedication to this project and our client truly demonstrates why clients come to us time and time again.
There is no place like Mar-Key for its family atmosphere and can-do attitude
Paul reflects on being given the opportunity to be so heavily involved in Mar-Key Group’s first Australian export project: ‘Changing career later in life has at times left me feeling a little bit of imposter syndrome, but the faith the company has shown in me has been a real confidence boost. To be able to go and be part of such a huge delivery to the other side of the world was fantastic… while a small part of me that still feels like a postman was glad to be back in shorts! There is no place like Mar-Key for its family atmosphere and can-do attitude. Whether it’s time or distance, we will always do what we can to deliver for our customers.’
If this project tells us anything, it’s that our design and manufacturing teams really are the best in the industry, and we are extremely proud of every single person who enabled the successful delivery for our client.