Welcome to the third instalment of Meet Your Maker Q&A! Meet Your Maker is a series of behind-the-scenes videos and blogs that illustrate the wide range of in-house skillsets used to design and manufacture our market-leading broadcast technology whilst exploring the amazing people behind Calrec.

This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Calrec’s Production Manager, Sally Baines, who has worked at Calrec for over two decades about Calrec’s robust quality control, the benefits of having flexible, knowledgeable teams in an ever-changing industry and maintaining the quality and efficiency our customers demand.

1. What is your primary role with Calrec and what does it entail?

I primarily manage the teams’ productive efforts by allocating and planning tasks, making sure everyone is clear about what they should be doing and everything is working efficiently. I also balance the teams’ skillsets to best meet demand. I am a hands-on Production Manager so when there’s anything additional required on the shop floor I get to ‘help out’ and assemble, though I’m no longer as skilled as the rest of the team so I usually get to do the jobs no-one else likes doing!

2. What teams make up the Production department?

We have six departments that make up Production: Stores, Wiring, Assembly, Test, and Desk Test cover the productive side; Production Support, Purchasing, and Shipping are admin based.

I look after Stores, Wiring and Assembly, although a lot of the jobs we do cross over to other departments, so we are all quite flexible.

3. What is each team responsible for? How do they work together?

We all work towards the same end goal – producing market-leading equipment for our customers! – but we try to be flexible within our teams so it’s essential that all our staff are multi-skilled. For example, if we have a stores person off, it’s not uncommon for an Assembler to go help in stores. Multi-skilled training helps us create a wide range of skillsets, so that’s vital.

4. How have processes changed over the last 10 years? How has that affected skillsets within the department?

There have many changes at Calrec over the years. I have worked at Calrec for over two decades, so the biggest shift in my time has been the move to digital consoles, and with more and more IP connectivity our skillsets have had to continue to adapt! While the technology has changed, our people are extremely knowledgeable, with many of us having been at Calrec for a long time. Being flexible has allowed us to develop as a company creating the best teams for the job, maintaining the quality and efficiency our customers demand.

5. How important are test procedures? How are they done and how does that feed back into the system?

Having accurate test procedures are the cornerstone of what we do. We have a number of test procedures in place at different stages of production, and anything that needs testing has a detailed procedure. These are initially developed at the prototype stage, so when a product is ready for production they should go through smoothly. As things evolve, so test procedures are constantly updated.

6. Can you tell us a little about the Brio department? How many people work on Brio and is it independent

Brio is a great product for us to assemble and test! We have a dedicated area within the department and the processes of building Brio’s can be done in parallel with each other, which makes it quite easy for us to do three a day from start to finish. When one panel has had its overlays, gasket and windows fitted another assembler will then fit the faders, PCBs, knobs, etc. This way we can wire the chassis in parallel, fit all the boards, the PSU’s, and the panels, before more testing of individual desks. Finally, they are ready to go out of the door!

7. How does production get involved in prototyping?

When prototypes are released, we have the job of building and testing them. Build information is produced at the time of build; this could be just a few photos and words at this point, and we can identify any issues or changes which need addressing and add to the prototype sheet. In this way, we can continually refine the process until the prototype is perfect.

As all R&D, mechanical design and build are done in the same building, Calrec’s prototyping process is extremely efficient and it allows us to maintain very tight quality control. It also enables us to undertake custom work for customers in a very timely fashion.

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