Following on from last week’s initial rendition, our Founder Jonathan Hodgetts, completes the story of this latest visit to the factory where our instruments are made; talking us through the planning, development, and quality assurance process, and his final days before arriving home...
“Alongside an intense 6 days of quality checks and meetings,” remarks Jonathan. “Whenever I’m at the factory, I like to work on new developments with the team; designing, creating plans, and building prototypes of our next offerings.
Developing and building new brass instruments
“The development process is one that takes a lot of thought and preparation, but it’s also an incredible exciting process - seeing our thoughts and ideas begin their journey to reality - and I hope that this excitement is something our customers can feel in the quality and craftsmanship of our instruments.
“The dedicated staff at the factory are incredibly fast and, from showing me an initial plan of our newest idea on Monday, had built a prototype by the time I was ready to leave just 6 days later. Phenomenal work by the team!
“Of course, with so many tubas to check, the majority of my week was spent closely inspecting each instrument, taking it apart piece by piece and giving each my seal of approval (quite literally!) when I’m satisfied.
“Whilst I was at the factory, the management team also informed me that they’d caught up on outstanding orders from last year, which really was music to my ears and will be to any customers with outstanding orders!
“Towards the end of my visit - having painstakingly checked and play tested over 200 tubas, and worked on some new ideas with the team - it was time for a review meeting with those now overseeing the manufacturing of our instruments.
Improving the manufacturing process by 50%
“Another productive discussion around the table, we used this meeting to assess any past and current issues with the manufacturing process; each of us taking away actions in order to continually improve this, and ensure we are always able to provide our customers with the highest quality instruments available.
“Notably, during this meeting I was promised that the factory would reduce identified issues by at least 50% in time for my next visit in June. Something I am very much looking forward to seeing the outcome of! Both for us, and for the benefit of our customers.
“Also a new team of the very best skilled technicians is being set up to be dedicated to just building tubas for Wessex which will ensure a full understanding of our exacting requirements and consistent quality.
“Although the factory is many miles away from Wessex headquarters in England, and our store in the U.S., I see the factory as a vital part of everything we do, and the technicians building our instruments as core members of the larger Wessex team; therefore, it’s so important to me to ensure that communication, collaboration, and transparent working - working together to achieve something exceptional - are all values we adhere to, whether I’m there at the factory, in the office, or even at home.
Arriving home after a productive week
“Speaking of home; whenever I leave the factory I usually take back prototype instruments with me. This time, I flew home with a new tuba, a helicon, a trumpet and a gorgeous bass saxhorn of which I will say more in future blog.
“A productive, albeit tiring(!), and energetic trip - I’m very much looking forward to my next visit in June accompanied by two colleagues to check Wessex largest order to date. Until then, I shall be testing and evaluating the prototype instruments…”
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