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Mike Ferguson celebrates over 40 years at Archwood

Mike Ferguson is Archwood’s longest serving employee, having worked at the company for over 40 years. Beginning his career as a General Operative in manufacturing, Mike worked his way up to his current role of Warehouse and Distribution Manager. 

We sat down with Mike to reminisce about some of the key highlights of his career and the changes the business has faced over the last 40 years.

How did your career start at Archwood?

I left school in 1981 with basic qualifications and had no real desire to go to university. Whilst I decided what I really wanted to do in life, I began working at H Burbidge & Son and the rest is history.

What roles have you undertaken throughout your time working for the business?

I started working as a General Operative in the manufacturing area, working predominantly on the sanding machines and continued to do so for a couple of years. The factory manager at the time, George Waddington, then moved me on to the warehouse, where I learnt to be a forklift driver.

After three years, I became a supervisor of the mouldings packing section which grew at a phenomenal rate becoming its own department. I was proud to have set this department up and made several changes and improvements.

A few years later, I was made the Warehouse Department Manager by my then boss, Jim Emmens. A big thank you goes to Jim who enabled my career within the business and helped me develop towards my current role, to this day we remain very good friends.

Jim retired and I worked alongside various transport managers to manage the W&D side of the business for a few years. The company then went through a restructuring program, and I became the manager for both the warehouse and distribution. This is where I’ve been for the last 10 years and remain in this role today.

How have things changed since then?

I could write my own book on this question! I’ve seen and experienced a lot of changes in 40 years, including some phenomenal growth and opportunity. The business has also got through all challenges that have been put in front of it and has always, where possible, continued to share its achievements with its employees.

The single most obvious change has to be technology and communication. When I started, there was one computer in the main office and everything was paper based. Customer orders were received by phone, then handwritten labels and despatch notes were created.

There were no mobile phones, no internet, no social media and communication was via telephone and an internal mail system. Meetings were taken by secretaries and correspondence typed up before being distributed out via post and internal mail.

What is your current day-to-day role/responsibilities? 

As the manager for both the warehouse and distribution, my day-to-day tasks include finishing goods receipt, stock replenishment, order picking and despatch, distribution of orders to customer and controlling a very demanding distribution budget.

Any key achievements throughout your time at the business.

Throughout my 40 years at Archwood, I’ve made many significant improvements and changes in both process and efficiencies to enhance the profitability of the company.   

How have Archwood’s sustainability initiatives progressed over the years?

Archwood has always been at the forefront of sustainability.  We were one of the first UK companies to be FSC certified and I remember our first environment management and reduction plan in the late 90’s way before it became popular.  Today we are committed to becoming a Net Zero business which is driving a lot of action throughout the company.

Are there any exciting projects, launches or initiatives coming up that you’re particularly excited for or proud of?

We are currently working on installing a new ERP/WMS system which will be both challenging and hopefully rewarding for all of the business.  The new system will give us a modern platform to enable future growth, integrate with new technologies and make our day to day operations even more efficient.

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