We are creators. Everyone at Brompton plays a small part in making our bikes and getting them into the hands of people to ride, find their route and enjoy.
From first sketches to capturing the finished article, the people behind the product make us different.
We are Brompton.
Could you tell us about your role and what it involves?
I am the Manufacturing Engineer in the Brompton Sheffield Factory. We work closely with the design engineers to turn ideas into reality. They show us a bike, and we ask, what does it look like? How does it function? How can we piece it together? What are the processes to building it? Once we've established all of that, our job is to make the bike efficiently, set and maintain the quality, and manage the supply chain. And write manuals on how to do it all.
I worked in the aerospace industry for five years. I then spent five years working in automotive in large engine manufacturing, working in new product integration, basically figuring out how to make things. I wanted a different type of challenge. Instead of making a few big things, I wanted to understand how to make lots of smaller things and learn how to run a factory facility.
I wouldn't claim to be an avid cyclist, but Brompton is known to be a well-engineered British product. Plus, my PhD is in titanium. It's a material I know and understand. For me, it was the perfect fit. I can help take control of a lot of the processes and grow the team. It's all just clicked.
What have been your favourite memories of T Line so far, and the most significant challenges?
The greatest challenge is uncovering all the small challenges. You don't know about many hidden obstacles until you go from producing ten frames to 200. They call that 'hidden factory'. You must address sudden problems very quickly so you don't slow a project down.
In your opinion, what makes working at Brompton so special?
It's cheesy, but the people. It's a relatively small team compared to what I am used to. I have worked in businesses with so many people you could never know them all! Here everyone gets involved in a lot of different things. People are helpful, and there's a lot of passion for the product, so many people love cycling. You don't get that same excitement with big commercial boilers, for example.
There are so many different roles within the business, requiring a range of skills and characteristics. Is there anyone you'd switch roles with for the day?
I'd like to work at a Junction for the day! I love my job, but in the factory, you are behind the scenes, and I would love to meet the customer, hear what matters to them and understand how the design can impact their life. We take metal tubes and turn them into frames. We're at the beginning of the journey, and I would really enjoy seeing that last bit - especially seeing someone lift the T Line bike for the first time and being like, wow! Do you think we can arrange for me to go to San Francisco and work there for a few days?
The Brompton Factory is a unique place, where historically, bikes were built start to finish under one roof. That's changed now with the new factory in Sheffield. How has it been navigating that change?
I started during a lockdown, and in many ways, I think that's made it easier. We've been forced to utilise technology and share info over video. There are always people visiting the site, albeit remotely! I often start meetings with a tour of the factory floor. Also being separate from the main factory has its advantages. We treat ourselves like a supplier and hold ourselves accountable for the quality and delivery dates. It pushes us harder.
Tell us about your most memorable moment at Brompton since joining.
We pulled a bike box off the van and thought it must have something other than a bike because it weighed nothing. There was a fully built T Line there when we opened it, and we were blown away. I picked it up with one arm and thought, this is insane. I want one!
Relaxing and unwinding are always important. How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I play football, although I'm a bit past 11-a-side. More 5-a-side for me these days. I also play the guitar. I've got a big collection in the downstairs living room at home with lots of big amps that my neighbours won't like if I play. I like cycling too, and I can't wait to get my titanium Brompton!
It takes the hard work of every single Brompton staff member to take our little folding bikes from the first sketch to shipping them out the door.