Neil Foulds is the Repair Operations Manager for our mobility division, based out of the central regional office in Leeds. He joined Pickerings Lifts in April 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic started to bite.
He works on step lifts, hoists, medical beds, stair lifts, through floor lifts, outdoor platform lifts and covers (roughly) the M62 motorway region from Liverpool through Manchester, Warrington, Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds and York, as well as the greater Yorkshire area.
We caught up with Neil after completing a job in a nursing home just outside Holmfirth.
What was it like when you started?
“I started at a really weird time [he laughs]. As you can imagine, I joined, and then almost immediately most of the country went straight into the first lockdown.
It meant I had to cover as an engineer for a while, and it was only after four months of doing an engineer’s role did I really start the role I was employed for, the Ops Manager, but hey, it’s been a strange time for everyone.
On the plus side, I gained a lot of knowledge of how my team works, while i was helping as an engineer, and I can honestly say those first four months helped me a lot.”
Have you previously worked in the lift industry? If so, for how long and in what capacity?
“No, I wasn’t always in the lift industry. I worked on oil tankers in Singapore over twenty years ago, but I got fed up of being away from home, so I started as a disabled bath engineer.
It progressed from there really. I moved onto hoists, stairlifts and through floor lifts.”
How does Pickerings Lifts do things differently to the other businesses you have worked with?
[Neil pauses to think]
“For me it’s about caring. The Mobility team I work with have more empathy and really care about our clients more than our competitors.
Our job… our role… it’s not just about a piece of equipment. We always have to think about the person who’s using it, and how important it is to service correctly and repair it on the first visit.
The stairlift we service… the through floor lift we repair… it’s genuinely helping someone have a good quality of life. It’s helping them stay mobile. In most cases it really is helping them both physically and mentally!”
What are the key elements of your role?
“My role is about making sure we have the parts necessary to carry out the first time fix, and if I can’t do that I need to make sure we provide them as soon as humanly possible.
I also have to provide technical support to the engineering team.
And let’s not forget I’m the team joker too [he laughs again]. The way I look at it, you’re are a long time at work and it should be fun, and I think, in our own way, we do have fun.”
What has changed about your role since the Covid-19 crisis?
“We’re finding it harder to get the parts from suppliers who are based outside of the UK, so we’ve been sourcing from other companies in this country.
It’s not always easy, and we’ve had to make some speedy changes, but I try never to forget the customer relies on their hoist, stairlift or through floor lift, and needs it back working to carry on with their normal day.
That’s a big incentive to get it right!”
What qualities do you think are most needed to be successful in your role?
“Empathy! A bucket-load of empathy.
We need to be able to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, and often the end user’s shoes too.
I think I have this in abundance.
And I don’t want people thinking that’s me being arrogant… I had an accident back in 2014 that left me paralysed, and I had to use the very type of equipment Pickerings Lifts now service and repair… so I can understand what it feels like to be in the users’ situation.”
What is the most interesting thing you have worked on/memorable experience at Pickerings Lifts?
“This is a hard one for me as I have only been at Pickerings nine-months and I am still learning. No day is the same at Pickerings Lifts due to the type of business we are.”
What gives you the enthusiasm to come into work in the morning?
“Just to keep improving at anything I do. Be it being a father, a friend at work, or just trying to improve and learn every day.”
What did you want to be when you were younger?
“A professional boxer or rugby league player.”
Click on the links below to find out more about the wide range of mobility products we can supply and install across the UK