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Me & My Job - Neil Fedden, owner & managing director, Fedden USP

Grow, 16 October 2015

Neil Fedden, owner & managing director, Fedden USP - image: Fedden USP
Neil Fedden, owner & managing director, Fedden USP - image: Fedden USP

How did you get started in the industry? In 2002 I started to work alongside the HTA and soon recognised that Lean techniques could make a major impact. Nurseries wanted help with the lifting and dispatch processes to improve throughput. Garden centres wanted help reducing staff time spent on back-of-house processes so that they could spend more time with customers.

What advice would you give to others starting out? Work out what makes you happy in your job then design your job around that.

What does your typical day involve? I spend a lot of time helping a large client in London to implement Lean. After a full day on site with a client I review my emails and catch up with other members of the team.

What is the best aspect of your job? Seeing the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by the teams we are training once they realise the difference that Lean improvement techniques can make and the overall cost savings or increase in sales resulting from re-organising processes.

And the worst? Back-office paperwork and bureaucracy.

What have you been working on recently? We carried out a review of the restaurant at Haskins Garden Centre in Southampton to identify non-value-adding activities, introduce a culture of constant improvement and free up staff time. Potential additional sales of more than £54,000pa were identified.

What has been your biggest achievement at work? I love hearing from people who we worked with 10 years ago who are still using the Lean tools and techniques, and hearing about the benefits they have achieved.

What does the future hold for the industry? You only need to look at the trends on TV to see that gardening, food, interior design and outdoor living are all back in fashion.

How do you unwind after a hard day at work? I’m a gym freak. It’s a really great way to unwind.

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