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Identifying and growing talent to fill business-critical positions in the future

“Succession planning is very important to the company and we have made a concerted effort to reduce the average age of employees during the past five years,” managing director Steve Hill told Foundry Trade Journal. “We have an operations manager who is just 32 years old, the average age of our shopfloor and engineering departments is 35 and we have new, younger recruits in sales and finance. We are also happy to encourage experienced, older people to join the company and we have a good mix of established experience and youth.”

Hill explained that everyone, at every level in the company is committed to ensuring longevity for the business which is why introducing fresh talent is important. “We have a stable workforce, with lots of long-serving employees, which is of course important but we also have plenty of new, younger people joining us.”

The strength in the breadth of such talent is that Inductotherm is able to nurture and develop the engineers, technologists and business brains that will be running the company in the future alongside bastions of the industry. “For us no two jobs are the same,” Hill said. “Every customer has different requirements so our internal knowledge and skillset is extremely important.” In many instances, new faces join the company and work their way around departments, learning from past masters and those that offer the best education – the customers. Inductotherm employees are rooted in engineering, whether they are employed in build, test, service, refurbishment or sales – it is important that they are fully in tune with customer needs which means they must consider the technical requirements and challenges at all times.

Upgrading sales approach to upgrade technology

“Our aftersales division is expanding because the new technology introduced over recent years is able to be retro-fitted on existing power supplies and furnaces,” Hill said. “It is important for existing customers who do not need new systems because their existing ones are still viable, to understand that they can still benefit from the latest technology through upgrades rather than total investment in new melting facilities.” In light of this, former service and test engineer Steve O’Leary, who started at the company in the furnace division building furnaces before moving on to the service and test division, will take to the road to highlight this option to customers.

As part of the company’s succession planning they have recently appointed a new sales director. Jon Stear has been with Inductotherm Europe since 2006 when he joined the company in the service and commissioning department. He then moved into the sales department in 2009 as a sales engineer before progressing to sales manager in 2015.

His ascent to the position of sales director is recognition of his wealth of experience in the two disciplines of engineering and sales and his long-established relationship with customers in many parts of Europe.

Prior to joining Inductotherm, he served a full Apprenticeship as an electrical engineer with Boliden MKM, a large engineering group which included a foundry and finishing plant. It was in this role that he first experienced Inductotherm’s capabilities with the former mains frequency equipment. He later became a maintenance supervisor at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich site where he worked in a state-of-the-art press shop and learnt the disciplines of automation, plc and robot programming.  He originally joined Inductotherm for a chance to travel the world.

Speaking about his new role Jon Stear said: “I have travelled extensively in both the service and then the sales department at Inductotherm and I have learned a great deal from a wide range of customers. From my early experiences in mains frequency equipment to today’s induction technology, I have seen quite a progression. Our capabilities are vast and we are able to satisfy a wide range of requirements – large or small – which makes the role extremely interesting and rewarding.”

Speaking about the appointment Steve Hill said Stear had proved his worth over the years. “Jon’s technical ability and his people skills are exemplary and are ideal attributes for his new role as sales director. We are delighted to be able to continue the company’s track record of developing employees’ skills throughout their careers at Inductotherm.”

As is quoted so often, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. It seems for this global supply company adapting to change and taking the workforce with you is fundamental to their future-proofing.

Contact: Jon Stear, Inductotherm Europe Ltd, The Furlong, Berry Hill, Droitwich, Worcestershire WR9 9AH United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 1905 795100, email: [email protected]  web: