Keith BellQuality Manager
Keith Bell is Quality Manager at Universal Wolf, responsible for managing our team of Quality Engineers.
Let’s start with a bit of background – where were you prior to Universal Wolf?
Before Universal Wolf, I worked as Quality Manager for Smurfit Kappa in West Auckland, one of the leading corrugated packaging manufacturers in world. A large part of my role was ensuring product quality, as well as Food Hygiene compliance to BRC (British Retail Consortium) requirements. We had a varied customer base including some well-known brands in Pharmaceutical, Food and Cosmetic sectors.
Prior to that, I worked for De La Rue in Gateshead, the world’s largest commercial banknote printer who also specialise in security and product authentication solutions. I was employed as Quality Manager working in Product Authentication and Traceability, with our main customer being Microsoft (the product authentication labels you see today on laptops and PC’s will have been produced by DLR), along with Royal Mail (postage stamps) and Government Agencies (for example, tobacco and alcohol counterfeit labels).
I also have worked in other industries including Electronics, Cosmetics and Printing of direct and transactional mail.
What are you enjoying most about your role at Universal Wolf?
No two days are the same here! There’s always a challenge to go at. As someone who doesn’t have a background in the industry, I’m constantly learning from my colleagues – every day is a school day.
Looking back on your career, can you pinpoint a defining moment? What did you take from it?
There are two experiences in particular that I look back on:
- I was promoted to the position of Quality Engineer quite early in my career, having been asked to apply for the role by the Quality Manager. At the time I was still relatively young, and that defined my career path as I’ve worked in Quality ever since. I learned that everyone deserves the chance to grow and develop if they have the correct attitude. This has allowed me to work in a number of different industry sectors having gained relevant knowledge and a transferable skill set. I’ve also been fortunate to visit and work in a number of foreign countries as a result.
- In my role at De La Rue, I was part of a team who successfully relocated a site (product, process and equipment) from a location outside of Luton to the North East. I was responsible for recruiting the Quality Team and ensuring product quality was not compromised during the transition, which we succeeded in doing. This was a steep learning curve, as not only did we have to quickly understand the product and process requirements, we had to get to know each other at an accelerated pace too. It’s amazing what you can learn about your colleagues, spending time together on long car journeys! I also learned a lot about myself, having to adapt to the various situations I was exposed to: building trust with an apprehensive customer base, getting to know a new workforce, as well as having to work with and gain knowledge from the outgoing Quality team.
What does success look like for you?
This is really difficult to answer! I’m not sure I’m able to fully quantify. We could argue that we are already successful as we continue to break records month on month – however, true success would be achieving this working smarter, rather than harder.
My journey to success will see continued improvement to our business, as we endeavour to delight our customers.
As Sir Winston Churchill said:
“ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”