An interview with our recent graduates.
Name: Sasha Turkington
Title: Performance Engineer
Department: Performance Excellence
Location: Cubis Systems, Lurgan
Cubis Employee Since: October 2015
Degree Studied: Masters in Mechanical Engineering
University: Ulster University, Jordanstown
I enjoy the diversity and variety that you experience throughout the company. The initial rotation through the various core departments of the business is very valuable in learning how each sector of the business operates and how they can all impact each other. When leaving university I ideally wanted to find a graduate scheme that would provide me with a structured development programme which would enable me to grow my skills and knowledge which I feel has been achieved through the GradStart programme.
My role within Cubis is a Performance Engineer, mainly for Ireland but I am required to work in the UK sites on occasions. My role is very diverse but in a nutshell it is similar to an Industrial Engineer whereby I must identify improvement opportunities within manufacturing processes and implement new methods and practices to enhance efficiencies and productivity. Most projects are focussed towards the implementation of LEAN manufacturing to achieve maximum effect from all of our processes and ultimately reduce our manufacturing costs. My time is split between working in the office and on the factory floor which is good to introduce some variety into the job; for me I enjoy the hands on aspect so I do prefer being amongst the production and seeing raw material being turned into a product or seeing project plans materialising into a reality but the office work is an essential part of it too.
I have been very fortunate to avail of many valuable training opportunities whereby I have gained professional qualifications which has enabled me to develop my knowledge and competence within my role. Some of the qualifications I have gained to date include an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Time Study Analyst, Certified Lean Yellow Belt Trainer and a Certificate in Leadership & Management. Some of the training and projects that I have been involved in have given me opportunities to travel to various locations in Ireland, UK and Europe and has also allowed me to expand my network of contacts within both Cubis and CRH which is important for knowledge sharing and developing best practices across all of our businesses.
The accomplishment that stands out the most for me is managing one of the first major automation projects that Cubis has seen to date which involved quite a significant financial investment. Part of our vision is to modernise our manufacturing facilities and this project has been the first step in setting the scene for revolutionising our production processes over the coming years as the business continues to grow. The aim of the project was to improve the machine operations and increase output as it is a key machine in the manufacture of one of Cubis’ most popular and in demand product range – MultiDuct. The project focusses on a structural foam injection press which originates from approximately 1960’s and consisted of 2 phases; phase 1 involved a complete electrical and controls overhaul with implementation of a PLC while phase 2 (to be completed) will entail the installation of a robotic arm to remove finished parts from the press and prepare them for dispatch. The finished project is estimated to increase output by almost 15% and will achieve a payback of 1.5 years.
Initially, coming into such a large and diverse business was daunting and challenging. The company is quite large with a diverse range of products and manufacturing processes so it took quite a few months to really come to terms with how products are manufactured, how they are all relatable in terms of their applications and where they are manufactured. Understanding the manufacturing processes was vital for my future role as an Engineer within the business. Fortunately, the business is full of experienced people and resources which helped me to develop this valuable knowledge; I also found that the GradStart mentoring programme helped to build my knowledge on the business due to the exposure to the various core departments.
I would encourage graduates to consider the GradStart programme with Cubis Systems as it is a really good starting block to build your career. There are vast opportunities for training and skill development to further your knowledge gained from university to enable you to apply it in an industry setting. Joining Cubis Systems is a great opportunity to become part of a global corporate organisation with prospects of progression through both Cubis and CRH anywhere in the world.
Name: Chris Cairns
Title: Graduate Systems Analyst
Location: Cubis Systems, Lurgan
Cubis Employee Since: December 2015
Degree Studied: BSc in Computing and Information Technology including professional experience
University: Queens University, Belfast
I am based within the Finance Department at Head Office in Lurgan, my role is diverse and wide reaching and each day poses new and exciting challenges which allow me to learn new things push myself out of my comfort zone. I enjoy the freedom that comes with my role and have welcomed travelling to our sites across the UK and Ireland where I have learned more about the systems and processes that are unique to each site.
What is your role and what does this entail within Cubis Systems?
My role is a Systems Analyst which is focused on business intelligence, projects and technical IT based work. I am responsible for converting unintelligible data into useful data such as that from a database into a series of graphs and charts which make it easier to monitor how the business is performing across all sectors and then to make changes to improve our overall performance. I have the autonomy to take on small projects as I see fit and I am involved in larger, companywide systems based projects which are often centred around improving our ERP system.
What opportunities have you been given in your time so far?
I have undertaken a series of professional qualifications during my time at Cubis including Levels 2, 3 & 4 of Crystal Reports Training, Project Management Planning & Control and an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice, in doing so I have developed new skills, learned about changing technologies, made new contacts and shared best practice. Working across various sites throughout the UK has required me to be flexible and adaptable, I have learned how to use new technologies to meet the needs of a particular business unit I have generally improved my commercial awareness and business insight.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement so far has been within a my personal of mine which involved the implementation of handheld wireless scanners for use in daily and yearly stock takes. Prior to this project scanning was undertaken using old fashioned paper and pen which required multiple manual checks, since its successful implementation stock accuracy and loading and shipping accuracy, have improved dramatically and time saved on manual counts has been significant.
Are there any obstacles you have had to overcome?
Initially I lacked confidence and was intimidated by the size and pace of Cubis Systems, it took me some time to build good working relationships and gain the trust and confidence of other who now depend on me to understand their requirements and come up with effective solutions to their systems based needs. As a result of working within a cohesive team I have developed greater self-awareness and now routinely find more effective ways of solving problems and succeeding in everyday tasks.
What advice would you give to a graduate looking at joining Cubis Systems?
My advice would be to take the time, in the early stages of the graduate program, to truly understand the basic functions of the company and to become familiar with how each department overlaps with the next and is intrinsically linked, this will enable you to make a more valuable contribution overall in the longer term. I would recommend that graduates get involved with an innovative, ever-changing and growing organisation like Cubis and take advantage of the many opportunities for career and personal development within.