Proximity develops, delivers, maintains and supports high-performance software solutions and applications for leading manufacturing companies. Client Director Nick Jackson has been in the business software industry since 2003, starting his career at IBM. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Proximity respond?
Looking forward, the wave of public opinion towards plastic, and particularly plastic recycling, will continue to gain momentum for some time to come.
As with all challenges though, it will drive innovation of new products and services. More complex manufacturing processes, higher precision and advanced materials will ultimately produce less waste and be more sustainable.
The relentless drive for more efficiency will continue as cost pressures are passed down the supply chain onto manufacturers, who will have to unlock “hidden capacity” in their operations. The real-time flow of manufacturing data and production information will be key to this. We predict that the most successful organisations will be those who quickly adapt, taking advantage of the next generation of machines and equipment capable of being integrated into manufacturing software systems running business operations – in particular the factory floor.
Proximity is already responding to these challenges. We already set ourselves apart as a technology company with specific focus on plastics. One lost second on a 20-second part, for instance, results in the loss of one shift of production per week, per work centre.
Today, we are already helping UK plastics manufacturers to find those lost seconds and put them to work.
More intelligent scheduling alone, saves on average over 12 hours per week by controlling and managing downtime of machines, reducing scrap and even monitoring customer demand to plan long-term material requirements and negotiate more favourable agreements with suppliers.
We do not believe any other company can offer more advanced solutions or stronger depth of knowledge specifically in plastics manufacturing operations.
How has Proximity developed during your tenure?
The team at Proximity has been providing ERP solutions to manufacturing businesses for over 25 years.
However, during my time here there has been considerable change. Our partnership that began 3 years ago with California based software company IQMS has been a real game changer. We are now the only company able to offer the award-winning EnterpriseIQ ERP software and MES systems to the UK and Europe.
The striking thing for me, is just how wide and deep our skill sets have reached into plastics manufacturing particularly in the areas of automotive, medical and aerospace. We have been able to grow a truly international and multilingual team in response to the needs of our clients.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
Very simple: our customers. In fact we refer to our relationship with customers as a partnership. We understand that their success is our success. I think this is demonstrated by the duration of many “partnerships” the business has.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
The greatest and most consistent challenge in my career continues to be repairing the damage and correcting the mistakes made by software companies less competent, less specialised and with less knowledge in plastics processing. Sadly, not all organisations hold themselves to the same high standards as ours.
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an Apprentice joining now?
Use every available outlet and source of information you can access to learn. Never, ever stop studying and practicing new skills.
What hidden talents do you have?
Cooking a lot, but not in the house – outside with my woodfired oven.