Linzi Watson, Production Section Manager at Allan Brothers
Manufacturing is often considered to be a man’s world - but at Allan Brothers Linzi Watson is forging an impressive career as the company’s first female Production Section Manager.
Back in 2008, when she ran a clothing shop in Berwick-upon-Tweed, she enjoyed selling the latest fashion trends, and nothing could have been further from her mind than the grime and sawdust of the factory floor!
So why did she join Allan Brothers?
According to Linzi, it was a great opportunity to try something completely different and to develop her skills in a well-established local business. Plus, the prospect of more regular 9-5 working hours with great conditions and benefits was also very appealing!
What do you know about windows?
The story of Linzi’s job interview is now legendary in the company.
“What do you know about windows?” was the interviewer’s first question. Like a flash the response came: “Well I know how to open and close them!”
Despite this inauspicious start, Linzi’s contagious enthusiasm and amazing work ethic got her the job as customer service assistant where she was then plunged into the world of production planning, deliveries and the logistics side of an extremely busy timber window and door manufacturing business and was even sent to sister companies in Poland and Estonia to learn from their processes.
Once she was well versed in all the ins and outs of logistics, she was quickly promoted to Planning and Internal Sales Manager in charge of a team of six people.
Like a duck to water
After 13 years in the back-office, Linzi realised that her heart lay with the nitty-gritty of production and so she was keen to take on an even bigger challenge – the role of Production Section Manger on the factory floor.
“I’m quite driven. I love working under pressure and seeing the whole picture, how everything fits together, and where the potential bottle necks are, and so when the position of Production Section Manger became available, I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do!”
Linzi has taken to her new role like a ‘duck to water’ and is now responsible for the paint, hanging lines and glazing sections through to the loading bays and stores, overseeing a workforce of 30 plus (mainly male) production operatives.
“There’s obviously been a lot to learn technically, but everyone has been really supportive, and I think the lads on the factory floor actually quite like having a female boss – but we still laugh about my first job interview when I only knew ‘how to open and close a window! A few of them may still say this – but in good humour.”
Linzi still loves her fashion and buying clothes, so does she ever regret swapping her stilettos for steel-capped boots?
“Never! For me, working at Allan Brothers has been the best move I ever made. I’m proud to be the company’s first female Production Section Manger and I would encourage more women to take up a career in manufacturing.
“My advice to other women getting into these fields is that you’ve sometimes got to be your own role model. Don’t shy away from something just because there are no other women in that role or space.”