In the next instalment of our Day in the Life series, we talk to Pete Rogers, Technical Sales Manager at Lomas Engineering.
In a nutshell, my role is finding new and looking after existing customers in the UK and Ireland. I joined Lomas Engineering back in 2015, although I’ve got over 40 years’ experience working in this industry.
On a typical day, I might come into the office and check my emails for any new enquiries or orders. Then I’ll follow up on any outstanding jobs that we’re quoting on. A lot of work goes into quoting for any new job. It’s never a simple matter of sending through a price list. Some orders might be a repeat of a tool that a customer has had previously, but more often than not, we’re looking at creating a completely bespoke tool from scratch.
Details about the customer’s requirements can be quite sketchy initially. Sometimes we might get a brief description of what’s needed, or even a component drawing. I have to get to the bottom of exactly what they need and get as much information as possible. You have to be able to picture what’s required and that can really only come from experience.
Then I send all that through to the estimating department, who calculate all the material costs and production time, so that we can provide an accurate quote for the job.
Once a job progresses past the quotation stage, we start looking at the tooling design. At this stage, good communication with the customer is vital. The tool we’re designing needs to meet their requirements exactly, so our interpretation and understanding of the brief has to be spot on.
Once the customer has approved the design, the tool goes into production, then testing. It’s only at that point, that we find out whether it does the job it’s designed to perform! But with years of experience and expertise under our belts I can honestly say we get it right first time, every time.
The best thing about this job is that I’m still learning, 46 years after I first started out. At Lomas, we do a lot of work in the aerospace and automotive/motorsport industries as well as general engineering and our customer base is worldwide. The result is that no two jobs are ever the same. There’s so much variety and we have a hand in developing some really interesting products.
Now that things getting back to normal, post-Covid, I’m starting to get out more, visiting customers across the UK. It’s a relief, as it can be difficult to get to speak to people. No one tends to answer the phone anymore! Email is more effective for getting hold of people but it’s much harder to establish that personal connection.
For me, it’s never a question of employing hard sales tactics. We have a good reputation, so our customers tend to stay with us. Lomas tools stand the test of time, and we never have any issues. So, meeting with customers is always just about finding out what they need and developing those relationships.
Whenever we start a new job, we don’t know who we’re going to be speaking to or what they need. Every job starts with a conversation, which then leads to sketches, design, manufacture, inspection etc. It’s all about discovery, and from there, the projects come to life.
When I’m not working, I tend to get involved in a lot of DIY, whether that’s at home, for my two sons or for friends. I do love a good project after all! I also play golf, which is a great way to unwind. And of course, our two young grandsons keep us very busy!