A Working Day for Mark Salmon

Dealer Warranty Performance Analyst

Mark has always been interested in Motorsports, engineering and the sciences, although from home on the Orkney Islands of Scotland (among the UK's most northerly islands), it was always going to involve a lot of travelling to realise any associated career path. After applying for a range of positions with universities throughout the UK, Mark accepted an offer from Swansea Institute and moved the 740 miles by car and ferry to take his place in the campus halls.

On completion of the Motorsport Engineering and Design Degree Mark returned to Orkney to take up part time employment and to investigate opportunities which would again draw him towards the south of the country and to his qualification sector. Following part time work as a tour guide at the local Highland Park distillery, he accepted a position with a small multimedia company who had ambitions to expand beyond a local market.

Soon after joining the company, Mark was promoted to a position as Operations Director and has been pivotal in the expansion and overhaul of the company which led to the development of further business throughout the UK (and beyond) and advancement to Limited company status.

As the company continued to develop nationally, Mark began investigating again the opportunities which were available to a Motorsport Engineering graduate with a few years of real world experience (all be it in the Multimedia sector). This search led Mark to accepting an offer from USE to become Dealer Warranty Performance Analyst at a major client. Outside of work, Mark is a regular Motorsport Marshal and can often be found on post at Brands Hatch at club level, national and international FIA meetings. He hopes to resume training as a Scrutineer shortly.

From the very first day I arrived at the office to begin working for USE* I felt I was joining a team which already had a strong relationship with the client, albeit in a slightly different area to that in which I would be working. The majority of the work USE* are currently doing for this client involves provision of SERP engineering services, while my role is focussed on Warranty process analysis and process improvement processes.

While my role differs a little from the main USE* responsibility on site, we are all working towards the same goal – improvement of product, improvement of customer service and improvement of brand.

On a typical day, I'll arrive at my desk in time for a catch-up with my colleagues, getting on to work at 0800hrs. I start today by lining up the tasks for the day and week ahead. I have two meetings today, one with the client Manager, and then another with the warranty controllers at another office block (around 10-15 minutes drive away). For the first of these meetings I am reporting in regarding the tasks I'm working on, and will have the opportunity to discuss this progress, any difficulties I'm having (with data manipulation for example) as well as lining up further tasks to keep the project progressing along the correct path. I have always been keen on regular status meetings like this as it is a great opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else, to brainstorm new ideas and to ensure projects maintain their direction.

Once we're finished the meeting and we have some future objectives set for the project, I'm back to my desk putting the discussed points in action. I'll always have a number of items rolling in order to keep the project moving along, and I ensure there is a constant stream of information arriving in and leaving my mailbox. This can take some careful maintenance to keep everything in check, so a good organisational structure is crucial.

My second meeting, with the warranty controllers, is an opportunity to gauge the feeling from the "other side of the fence" with the project I'm working on. This is a great environment to initially test ideas, and the warranty controllers provide excellent feedback and criticism that can be used to improve the project proposals. A feedback loop like this is critical in any project – you just have to be open to this sort of constructive criticism. Today our discussion has led to us establishing an important additional metric for the project, which I will investigate further back at my desk and test prior to including on the master proposal.

My afternoon is mostly spent working on the ideas discussed during these meetings, applying them to the analysis models being developed and trialling them on case-studies. By the end of the day, I'll expect to have moved the proposal and selection model closer to a complete package, and will ensure that these steps will meet with the projected timeline. Of course along side this I'll have further data-flow to deal with; communicating with training coordinators and quality analysts across the EU markets, discussing and assimilating extracts of data with the diagnostic systems analysts and following up on other items with my contacts in the main warranty department.

Tomorrow I'll be making a dealership visit with my department manager to gain an insight into how the data observed remotely relates to the real world. With a pilot project currently underway to test out a few foundation project plans, it is important that we visit on a routine basis to discuss how each dealership is getting on with the changes, where any issues exists, and again to freeform further ideas which could be explored as additional considerations for the final project.

Since beginning in this role just a little over three months ago, I've discovered many pros and benefits offered by the position. I'm working with people who are very committed and dedicated to the work they do, I'm given control over my own development and am permitted the luxury of being able to play a major role in the development of a project which represents a whole strategy for the clients' operations, on a Europe-wide scale. This project can have a real impact on the clients' brand, and the work so far is meeting and exceeding my expectations and requirements, indicating a fulfilling and rewarding career path. I am yet to discover any cons.

A warranty service is a huge consideration for any provider or manufacturer, and certainly in the case of this client there is a suitably considerable volume of data collected, which can be used to create a feedback loop, improving the service provided. While there is still plenty to learn concerning the current position and projects, I can see there is also plenty of scope for further development, both for the current role and my position with it. Crucially I feel this is a position which has a great deal to offer the client and myself, and I am proud to be a part of this development.

Meet Our Team

Jonathan Quaife

Jonathan Quaife

USE* Managing Director
Nick Cook

Nick Cook

USE* Technical and Operations Director

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