By Andy Ho, ETB’s Operations Manager
When I first joined ETB in 2020, I oversaw the warehouse and engineering teams - coming from a manufacturing and engineering background, that was my bread and butter. After a few months in the role, the team and I started looking at ways we could improve processes and how the company could be optimised which included reviewing our value stream mapping to evaluate our processes as well as identify and minimise waste.
More recently, we’ve created an export compliance department to ensure all processes maintain compliance with our OGELs (Open General Export Licenses) and international shipping requirements. We’ve also developed and expanded our planning function to improve processes and create efficiencies throughout the entire ETB supply chain and are continuing to make improvements every day.
What sets ETB apart from other organisations in the sector?
Looking at it from an export and compliance point of view - more than half of our customer base is from outside the UK, meaning our processes and efficiencies need to be top-notch to ensure our international shipping runs as smoothly as possible. The quality and careful consideration for every step in the supply chain have allowed us to provide shipments to the highest standard – as demonstrated by our 5* Trustpilot rating.
Our standards of excellence have continued to grow by continually reviewing and refining our processes. We take the time to ensure products get to customers as quickly as possible – no matter where they are in the world. By setting up our export compliance team, we have ramped up our international shipping procedures to make sure the right processes, such as licensing and paperwork, are in place to get the goods to the customers in minimal lead time.
Upskilling is also something that ETB actively encourages. The team always wants to do better for themselves, and we encourage that. Every year we put people through training courses to improve their personal development. Whether it’s Comp TIA Network+ training, Cisco or IOSH health and safety courses, if anyone wants to take that extra step in boosting their knowledge and development, we’re behind them every step of the way.
What do you like most about your role?
The collaboration of the team is truly unmatched. As operations manager, I get to work with pretty much everyone in the company and one of the key things that stands out about ETB is that everyone here wants to do well.
If there’s one thing we try to bolster throughout the company, it's encouraging everyone to speak their mind and share ideas that will improve how we operate. The best way of getting people to buy into change is by giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard. Innovation is key to staying ahead of the curve so if there’s a better way of doing things – which, let’s face it, there always is – we want to hear it.
A recent example of this was an improvement idea from the Warehouse team. Following feedback from our customers requesting country of origin information due to tariffs in their respective countries, the team wanted to begin applying labels to identify where it came from and serial numbers on the front of switches.
Previously, these were on a manufacturer's label on the top or bottom of the switch and to access this the Warehouse team would need to lift multiple switches. With this information now on the front of the switch, the team can visually scan each product and easily see the country of origin and serial number. In the spirit of collaboration, another of the team built upon that and raised that we could include the serial number as a barcode to make scanning it easier.
From an operational perspective, what makes ETB unique?
Everything we do, we do to the highest quality whether it be shipping goods to the customer or ensuring quality between internal departments. The team continuously strives to be as efficient as possible and when things go wrong – because it does sometimes – we make sure that we’re looking into it to source the root of the problem and prevent any future recurrences.
What is the ETB difference for me?
It’s the team’s commitment to quality and efficiency. Wanting to improve and continuously looking at new strategies to enhance our processes ensures our customers are met with only the highest standard of quality.