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Written by Guest_Blogger

Next week will be my last week at Scott & Fyfe, and as I am typing this, I am trying to remember all the events and lessons that I have learnt so that I may make this post meaningful, inspiring and interesting. That being said, I don’t think that will take too much, as my experience at Scott & Fyfe has been something of a well needed reality check and a definite game changer for my skills (in a good way).

 

Coming directly from art school (Duncan of Jordanstone), my head was bursting full of creative ideas; spontaneous and bubbling like a sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice about to explode. Nothing was my limit and nothing could stop me.

 

I was thrilled to hear that I had been accepted into Scott & Fyfe and couldn’t wait to get started. I carried out my research and found out that they are an innovative textile company, producing technical textiles for various industries around the world. All from their wee home in Tayport.

 

I got started almost immediately. My first project was to design a show board for one of their many exhibitions. I was nervous but again, my ideas helped along the way. After many adjustments the board was sent for printing as the exhibition was in 2 weeks time in London. My first day and I already had my work sent down to London. The exposure was fabulous. However, that’s where one of my first lessons came in.

 

LESSON #1 JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE UNRESTRICTED, DOESN’T MEAN THE COMPANY CAN BE

Although the company wanted a complete re branding, they also had criteria, rules and guidelines and being a naive art student I didn’t understand why - until later in my internship. As the old saying goes ‘rules are put in place for a reason.’ Whilst Scott & Fyfe were innovative and different to most technical textile companies, they still needed to uphold a professional, definite standpoint within their industry and had to consider all sorts of factors such as customers and market reactions.

 

So even though they liked my wild and crazy ideas, I needed to appropriate it to the company so that they wouldn’t attract the wrong sort of attention, or even worse, no attention. I learnt quickly though and researched companies to see how far I could go without making myself (and Scott & Fyfe) look like the catch of the day.

 

My work included brochures, flyers, posters, logo design, leaflets, folders and stationery. I got so much out of this including learning how to prototype, use the computer and my programs a lot more efficiently. In fact, I was able to create a template for some datasheets in less than three hours! (I was a technical dinosaur before and it took me at LEAST half a day to create something of such magnitude) but along with speed, came careless mistakes.

 

LESSON #2 YOU DON’T SEE ALL EVIL, BUT YOUR BOSS DOES

I made so many careless mistakes while typing and creating but my lovely boss Michelle was quick as a whip to correct and notice all evils that happened within my work. She could notice a misaligned line from a mile away so even though I was engrossed in the work, I still needed to pay attention and focus on the minute details because it is always the little things that count.

 

The weeks passed quickly while I was working at Scott & Fyfe and I stopped making silly mistakes like that (I hope), and delved into my perfectionist side.

 

LESSON #3 CAFFEINE IS YOUR FRIEND (even if you don’t mean for it to happen)

In the whole time that I was in Scott and Fyfe, everyone kindly offered me cups of tea and coffee and even on my first day I was introduced to the coffee and tea cupboard. I politely declined, as I thought I could handle the long working hours sans caffeine.

 

Never have I been so wrong.

 

After the second week, I learnt my lesson and made tea (or coffee) every morning before I started work. Somehow, the day passes a lot faster and my work gets shipped out quicker.

 

LESSON #4 WHY SO NAIIVE, SON

One project that really made me wake up and smell the coffee was a special brochure I was working on that was originally meant for the company. However, they needed this done within a tight schedule. The idea was already created during the first few weeks but only at a prototype level with the intention of printing within the office towards the middle of the month. However, the company required these to be professionally printed within a further one week. Whilst the prototypes conveyed the idea well enough, the actual construction and technicality of the art school idea soon became a problem.

 

The printers said it would be expensive to carry out my idea as 2 machines needed to set up for only a few brochures. In addition to this, a lot of man labour would be needed. It hit me right then and there like the cork from said non-alcoholic bottle in the beginning. I was so focused on my idea that I forgot the actual feasibility of the product. While it was easy enough for me to produce, I could only make one or two at a time. The company needed around a thousand copies and the printers had to have the technology to print and re-create my idea.

 

But lesson learnt, keep your safety belt on at all times until the idea has safely been examined and we land on the ground.

 

LESSON #5 EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE

I’m drawing to the end of my post and even after all the ups and downs and rushes and slows, I am immensely grateful to have had this opportunity with Scott & Fyfe. The experience really grew me as a designer, as a person and also as someone who someday wants to build an industry of my own. I understand why it is essential for all students to have an internship. It really does help and change you. What I learnt at art school may be the Cinderella dream come true, but companies that take fresh interns like Scott & Fyfe, help to shape and build the dream into a much more happily ever after that we actually need.

 

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me a dose of reality, and a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me the kitten heel that I really needed.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for everything.

 

Written by Ummi Jameel

 

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Written by John Lupton

Scott & Fyfe is happy to have celebrated its second Employee Ownership Day. A day dedicated to celebrate the significant benefits employee ownership delivers to the UK economy as set up by the Employee Ownership Association in 2013.

 

To celebrate this day, we asked our new employees exactly what joining Scott & Fyfe as an Employee Owned company means for them, as they are the first employees to join the company since we made the transition. It has been great as a company to have so many new faces join us and shows the progress we are making. We all appreciate the great work that they are doing.

 

To mark the day, we also held a coffee morning for all employees within the Innovation Space with bacon rolls for all. The POD leaders remained in their PODS and provided presentations to anyone interested to share what they are working on, on a day-to-day basis.

 

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Jason Argo

"Joining an employee owned company is refreshing. Compared to other companies Scott & Fyfe enable all employees to speak their minds. Everyone has a can do attitude that is driven by the fact that they all are considered equal. You aren't just another number."

 

David Greig

"Employee Ownership is a great thing to be a part of because it not only ensures that the company is run by people who know the business but it also means that we are all committed to its future and success."

 

Liz Nisbet

"I joined Scott & Fyfe as an employee owned company believing that all employees would have a personal interest in making the company successful as our efforts will be rewarded. We all have the same goal and if our company grows we will reap the benefits."

 

Scott Shields

"Joining the Employee Owned company, I was met with a warm welcome and friendly, helpful people."

 

Lewis McGonigle

"I have found joining and fitting in at Scott & Fyfe remarkably easy as everyone has been welcoming. As Scott & Fyfe is integral within the Tayport community it has been a pleasure becoming part of the Employee Owned team."

 

Chris Williams

"I was very interested in employee ownership before I started here, wondering what the differences would be. I think the effect is subtle and not always obvious. Most people feel employee ownership could be a useful force for the company. I'm quite excited at the prospect of buying shares and working with everyone to improve the company, there's a great foundation here to build on."

 

Greig Noble

"I came to Scott & Fyfe having never worked for an Employee Owned Company before and saw a real difference in the amount of information shared with employees about the company's performance."

 

Felipe Vergera

"Scott & Fyfe has taught me that employee ownership is a learning process, which involves a huge behavioural change. It is not simply acquiring shares and becoming an owner of a piece of the company but it is also a process of understanding my responsibilities as a shareholder. For me this means:

 

  • Judging my own work and my colleague’s work for improvements
  • Gaining a voice in key decision-making
  • Having the ability to plan and action changes or opportunities to improve"

 

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Written by Michaela Millar

We are pleased to announce our participation at the Vision London exhibition and conference, 2nd - 3rd June at Olympia London, where we will specifically be promoting our Polymat Hi-Flow Max product for composite façade systems.

 

Vision London is specifically for architects, specifiers, end users and construction sector suppliers and the aim of the event is to bring these communities together to discuss, debate and showcase the latest innovations and developments for the built environment. Vision will focus on innovative building products, materials and technology, as well as new and inventive solutions that facilitate better building design.

 

Composite façade systems are gaining significant traction in the façade market due to their unique benefits such as increased design freedom, ability to create 3D multi-curved surfaces, increased life span, improved weather performance and compliance with building regulations such as fire performance and thermal  / acoustic insulation. This was exemplified recently through two high profile projects in the Netherlands that utilised such composite façade solutions – the Hilton Hotel at Schipol airport and the Stadskantoor Utrecht (SKU) office building.

 

We welcome anyone interested to visit us at Vision, where we will be exhibiting as part of the New Product Zone or alternatively, get in touch with us here.

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Written by Guest_Blogger

It has been clear from the first mention of Employee Ownership within Scott & Fyfe that the purpose was to provide a better future for all employees.

 

With this in mind, it is highly important to the company that all employees should benefit in the success of the company. Therefore, after a successful year in 2014, Scott & Fyfe employees will receive a share of the profits via its Profit Share Scheme - 50% paid as a cash bonus and 50% paid in company shares.

 

This is a testament to the hard work and effort being put in by each and every employee. We acknowledge that market conditions remain challenging but the team here at Scott and Fyfe are intent upon building a bringter future together.

 

“Hard work and focus are allowing enabling our progress on the journey. Some of the highlights would include the capture of new accounts, successful new product launches and an expansion of our sales geography.”

 

You will find more information on our move to Employee Ownership here but if you would like to know more please, get in touch! 

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Written by Guest Blogger

As a doctoral researcher from St Andrews University, I was fortunate enough to accompany Scott & Fyfe in their journey to becoming a truly innovative company. Since November 2014, I have been coming into the office three days a week, taking on the role as a ‘fly on the wall’ (not a nasty one, of course) and observing how employees go about their daily affairs. My activities have ranged from engaging informally in conversations, asking endless (and probably at times somewhat dull and annoying) questions about their working lives, attending meetings and conducting scientific interviews. Without putting you to sleep my thesis examines a variety of things, primarily however I attend to working practices and how people work together in collaboration.

 

I experienced Scott & Fyfe as a fascinating place. I was amazed by the way the physical appearance of the innovation space facilitated creativity and collaboration. Every POD (business unit) has a designated space within the innovation space, equipped with whiteboards and flipcharts – a homeport of sorts. As is conventional wisdom, a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Here, meetings and creative sessions such as brainstorms etc. are conducted. Because each POD has its own space, one doesn’t have to wipe out all that’s been accomplished at the whiteboard during the meeting. Instead, people leave it on, returning to it later as a group or on their own and continue where they left off.

 

Because Scott & Fyfe work in cross-functional teams, the collective is overly emphasised. I found this to facilitate knowledge sharing and impact greatly on leadership. ‘No one person has all the answers’ I was told frequently. People therefore are encouraged to step up to challenge conventional wisdom and routine (the nemesis of innovation), share new ideas or offer better insight. More often than not, the person best equipped to make a judgement call, instead of the person who may chair a certain meeting guides future actions. At any rate, I experienced Scott & Fyfe as a democratic environment where all people have a stake in the game for better or for worse.

 

Speaking of environment, I’m lacking words to describe the atmosphere at Scott & Fyfe. ‘Pleasant’ might be an understatement. I was welcomed astonishingly warmly from day one, and despite being a stranger encountered no reservations whatsoever. This may be the opportunity to extend a huge thank you to all employees who made my time so enjoyable and particularly those who endured the agony of me asking endlessly ‘may I record this meeting?’, ‘would you agree to another interview?’, and ‘what is the meaning of this that and the next thing?’ I don’t think I can say it enough, so thank you Scott & Fyfe, I hope you will have another 150 prosperous years ahead of you!

 

Christopher Mueller

 

 

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About Us

With innovation, diversity and partnership at the heart of our company’s ethos, Scott & Fyfe have been designing and producing a vast range of technical textiles for numerous market areas worldwide for almost 150 years. Our ability to design and manufacture products for both current and future market needs have allowed us to build a global reputation for excellence in both quality and service.

Scott & Fyfe
Tayport Works, Links Road, Tayport, Fife, Scotland
DD6 9EE

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