Aaron joined Pickerings Lifts in December 2017, as the Regional Office Manager for the South West of England, based in Bristol.
He works with customers to monitor lift contract performances, planning/proposals of future capital works and is a point of escalation for customer queries.
We caught up with him to see how he’s getting on.
Q: How did you come to join Pickerings Lifts?
“I’m originally a military guy. I was a Weapons Engineer on Astute Class and Trafalgar Class submarines, and then Type 23 Frigates where I became an ordnance expert.
I was responsible for the maintenance of hydraulic, pneumatic and auxiliary high pressure systems. So when I transitioned out of the Royal Navy, it was natural that I should look for a role where my skills could be useful. The lift industry was a good fit.
I hadn’t previously worked in the lift industry directly, but a large part of my skills base was testing, implementation and maintenance of new, high value equipment. I’d also worked with commercial providers to the Ministry Of Defence, ensuring on-time delivery of services and repairs.
So that’s the connection to Pickerings Lifts.
My background gave me the skills and experience to switch into civilian life.”
How does Pickerings Lifts do things differently to the other businesses you have worked with?
“Well, as an industry, lift maintenance is over 150 years old.
That can be a challenge, because the essentials of lift servicing and repair haven’t changed in years, and that means a lot of service providers have ingrained processes… a sort of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality.
But, that’s where Pickerings Lifts is different. Pickerings Lifts actively tries… every day… to improve the service we provide to the customer.
For example, we track all of our Planned Preventative Maintenance visits, repairs and lift servicing, through our bespoke system, PLASMa. This shows precise data in real-time, and helps us highlight excessive call-outs to problematic lifts and lift equipment.
Once we’ve identified lifts suffering excessive breakdowns and call-outs, we then ascertain the cause… for instance, heavy usage or ageing components… and make recommendations, including additional service visits or replacement of parts.
By being pro-active we help reduce call-outs, down-time and expensive repairs for our customers.
And that dove-tails directly into our Continual Improvement Process.
Once we’ve identified any poorly performing products and have taken action, we try to eliminate any recurrence by training and educating customer service staff and engineers on preventative measures.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve hard-wired the whole continuous learning process into our ISO45001 certification, so we’ve got to do it!
Now, I’m not going to say we get it right all the time. We’re human. But what I do know, is that Pickerings Lifts are one of the few independent lift companies to have ISO45001 certification, so when our engineers say something needs looking at, you can pretty much take it to the bank.”
What are the key elements of your role in lift maintenance, Servicing and Repair?
“My role covers a number of bases… customer service, the management of the invoicing and purchase orders for the office, and, of course, people management.
Of all those, as anyone will tell you, the people management is the most complex. And that’s simply because everyone is different.
We’re very big on the whole Real People aspect of our service. We really are the experts in our field. We don’t rely on automated customer services, on sub-contracting, and exaggerating our abilities or coverage. We know what we’re doing and have the experience to prove it. And that comes down to the people we employ.”
What has changed about the lift industry since the Covid-19 crisis?
“I guess it’ll be the same for everyone. The biggest thing that I’ve seen change is the need to manage people from a distance… web meetings instead of face-to-face and the like. It was a bit weird at first, but the more you do, the easier it gets, like everything.”
What qualities do you think are most needed to be successful in your role?
“Oh, that’s easy… determination, a competitive streak and a really thick skin [he laughs].
It’s can be a tough job. There’s the old saying, ‘if you do a good job, they’ll tell one other person… if you do a bad job, they’ll tell twenty’. So you’ve got to get as much right, first time, as possible, and that takes dedication and determination in everything you do. And… when things do go awry… which they occasionally do… you’ve simply got to learn to take it on the chin, put it right, and move on.”
You are attending a dinner party and can invite three famous people past or present – who would you invite and why?
“Hhm, probably Margaret Thatcher. Now I know people might argue over whether she was a force for good or ill, but she was undeniably one of the strongest Prime Ministers this country has ever had.
But, if you’re not into politics, how about Phil Harding, a great archaeologist. I’d love to chat with him about the Romano-British villas he helped discover in the South West.
And last… just to put the cat amongst the pigeons… George Best. In my opinion the greatest footballer ever.
[Aaron laughs again] I think it’d be hilarious to see him having a conversation with Thatcher.”
What gets you up in the morning, and makes you want to go into work?
“My dogs wake me up in the morning. I’m joking. It would have to be that determination to do a good job, and be seen to be doing a good job too!”
What did you want to be when you were younger?
“Would you believe, a Barrister? Life can be really weird, can’t it?”
Contact Pickerings Lifts
Call 0800 085 3211 for immediate help.
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