Kevin Wiseman has worked at Peterlee Glass for over twenty years, and in that time has admirably climbed his way up to Operations Manager, managing an ever-expanding team. We wanted to give our customers an insight into one of the UK’s leading glass merchants; here, Kevin tells all about his successful career that’s seen either side of two decades and what’s changed in the glass industry in that time. Kevin also reveals that after continued investment, how Peterlee Glass is staying at the forefront of the industry with the exciting unveiling of a brand new, state-of-the-art Intermac work center (CNC) glass shaping machine.
1. You’ve worked at Peterlee Glass for twenty years. Congratulations, what’s been a stand-out project for you and what are you most proud of to date?
A stand out project for me would have to be working at Wembley Stadium. We manufactured all the balustrade glass to their specifications — who can forget a project like that! What I’m most proud of? That would have to be where I’ve got to today career-wise. From starting on the factory floor working on the machines to my current position as Operations Manager. It’s taken a long time to get here, but it’s been fruitful along the way.
2. What’s changed in the industry since you first started working at Peterlee Glass?
The commercial side of it really. When I first started working at Peterlee Glass the majority of our business was domestic, but nowadays, we’re working more on larger-scale commercial projects in a variety of sectors, such as Wembley Stadium, The Sage in Gateshead, Bowes Museum and Newcastle Library. Additionally, we work with the retail sector quite a lot; think giant glass façades that allow in copious amounts of light to maximise visibility. We’ve worked with the likes of TK Maxx, Fenwicks, Debenhams, Next, the list goes on.
3. What can you tell us about the new Intermac CNC glass shaping machine, and how will it help PLG customers?
Intermac are at the top of their game when it comes to cutting-edge, pardon the pun, technology. The new machine has doubled the factory’s output and decreased our customer’s lead times, which is really a priority for us. Also, the way it’s been positioned here means that it can be operated by a single person which obviously makes things more efficient.
4. Can customers call you directly to follow the progress of a project or order?
Absolutely, my mobile phone number is on my email footer so from the get-go, customers can reach me day or night to discuss the progress of their order, or if they have any queries. I have such a good relationship with everyone who comes through the door, some even have my personal number!
5. Do you envisage a busy period in the run-up to the end of the year?
Normally, this time of year leading up to Christmas is actually quite quiet, but I’m really pleased to report that since lockdown restrictions have eased we’ve been busier than ever and I don’t see that settling down any time soon. We are looking at a very strong finish to the year after a very uncertain start which is incredible news to be able to share.
6. What sets Peterlee Glass apart from its competitors?
Competitive lead times definitely, and fulfilling orders where our competition can’t. But importantly, outstanding customer service is one of the biggest things that makes PLG stand out. Everyone here at Peterlee Glass goes above and beyond for every single customer, no matter the size of the job. I would also say that our ingrained experience in the industry sets us apart from our competitors too. Between us, the team has hundreds of years of experience that I’m sure is unrivalled!
7. Where do you see Peterlee Glass and the glass industry in the next 10 years?
Continuing to grow. Glass is completely timeless, it’s really come into its own era recently, too. Customers are opting for more modern finishes whether it’s in businesses, the home, shopping centres, swimming pools, glass really is everywhere! Recently we’ve fitted a few glass balustrades around hot tubs in gardens! Glass is one of the few materials that has a continuous recycling cycle without losing quality, it makes for a really sustainable building product. So to summarise, glass is here to stay!
8. What do Peterlee Glass do to remain at the forefront of the industry?
We are continuously investing in new machinery and advances in new technology. At the moment, we’re working on having the whole factory floor fully craned which will eliminate manual lifting as glass is getting heavier and bigger with the larger contracts we’re taking on. Breakages will also be minimised, as well as a huge increase in production.
9. What would you say is the most popular request from customers?
I’d say the most common job would be balustrades, both commercial and domestic, and also partitions in offices for example. In terms of most frequently asked questions from customers it would definitely be what our lead times are and because we have really good stock levels, we can quote short lead times which greatly enhances the customer experience.
10. What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy seeing the final product. Whether it’s on-site or from images that a customer sends us. It’s really nice to see the finished product in its ‘right’ environment after it’s been manufactured. I always put the customer images on the notice board in the staff room so the guys on the factory floor can see their hard work in people’s homes, businesses, shopping centres, museums, sports stadiums, to name a few.
Thanks for your time Kevin! You’re a great asset to the team at Peterlee Glass.
If you would like to discuss a future project, get in touch with Kevin or speak with another member of the PLG team.