Meet Andy Clarke

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Stairways is fortunate to have some very long-standing team members whose body of knowledge and experience is invaluable, and a major driver for our success as a company – and Andy Clarke is certainly one of those people.

After starting out with us at age 16 as an apprentice carpenter and joiner, he has spent almost 30 years on the Stairways team, progressing from the factory floor to management, becoming Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager based at our Walsall site in 2016, before his latest promotion to Production Manager.

Anyone who knows Andy will know it couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more well-deserving person, and for our Managing Directors, it was the easiest decision to make.

Karen Wood, our Joint Managing Director, here at Stairways, says:

“I am delighted to see Andy Clarke appointed as the permanent Production Manager at our Walsall location. After working with him for almost 30 years, there was no doubt in my mind that he was the right person for the job.

Andy has worked incredibly hard, remaining loyal and supportive throughout his time at Stairways. His work ethic, ability to mentor, coach and work with real people in everyday life, as well as knowing and being able to clearly communicate all things Staircases is remarkable, and one of his biggest assets.

He is well-respected, has a great sense of humour, a huge heart and is all around a really nice guy. He’s one of a kind.”

The journey so far

It was Andy’s older brother, who was working at Stairways at the time, who suggested he apply for an apprenticeship all those years ago – something he remains grateful for.

Andy explains: “I’m not academically bright but I have common sense and I’m good with my hands, so it was a good fit from the start, and I really enjoyed the work.”

After completing his NVQ level 3 qualification in carpentry and joinery at Stafford College, he started work on the supply and fit of high-end staircases for Westbury Homes, working on similar accounts across the country for other developers, fitting stairs across multiple sites.

After more than 10 years of site fitting, he began working more in the factory, covering technical drawing and quotes, among other things, gaining a reputation as a man who could turn his hand to anything with staircases.

In 2016, he became Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager, a wide-ranging role covering performance, processes, health and safety, troubleshooting and innovation.

During this time, he implemented a number of improvements including launching the “eze-ways”, Stairways’ demountable balustrading fixing solution which makes it easy to fit handrails that comply with current British Standards in minutes.

He was also behind the Railsafe handrail system, which works in tandem with “eze-ways” to make it simple to install safety railings on site. He also worked to improve processes, including contributing to the re-writing of risk assessments and all the method statements for the machinery.

The next chapter

In his new role Andy’s work is just as varied, from dealing with paperwork, wages, staff discipline, and onboarding new starters, to troubleshooting and change implementation – ‘whatever needs doing’, he explains.

“I want to look after the staff and make things easier in the factory. People need to come to work happy to be honest, so morale is a big thing. I need to build up the team under me, work with the team leaders, and get people into the right places where I know they can do their best.”

With so many years under his belt, Andy says he is still just as committed to Stairways as ever: “I’ve worked all my life to get into this role. I started from the bottom and progressed through, staying loyal to the same company my whole career – something you think of only happening for people years ago.

“It’s a great company to work for, and it has been very good to me. All those years of hard work and loyalty were recognised – it has all paid off.

“It’s been a good journey, and I just want it to carry on now and do the best I can do in this position; to do good things for Stairways to help it continue to be a success.”

Andy, who grew up in the Cannock area, turns 45 in November. He is married and celebrates his 29th anniversary this year, including 17 years married. He and his wife have two teenage sons and a ‘mad’ working cocker spaniel, Barney, who turned one this year.

When not at work, Andy is not one for sitting around at home. Describing himself as an ‘outdoors person’ he enjoys spending his time walking Barney in the Peak District.

Stairways

Author: Stairways

Stairways, founded in 1989, has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft production capacity. Stairways goal is to raise their profile and brand awareness to become known throughout the industry as the UK’s leading staircase and door solution provider.

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Commitment

As a highly reputable firm within the industry, Stairways are dedicated to meeting their client’s product and application requirements. All materials used are manufactured to the highest quality and meet the relevant standards achieving ISO9001, FSC®, and various product certifications, whilst their staircases and door solutions are manufactured with compliance to UK building regulations & legislative standards in mind. Using the knowledge, passion, and experience acquired across all team members over the past thirty years, Stairways aim to continue to be the best in what they do.

THE FUTURE

Stairways are continuously looking for opportunities to improve and expand their service offering; this includes the investment in new machinery to further enhance and innovate the manufacturing process, with the aim to shorten lead times and increase overall in-house capacity. The changes Stairways employ are always focused upon improving the customer experience, to ensure their process remains as efficient as possible from start to finish.

THE HISTORY

Privately owned and managed since it was founded in 1989, Stairways has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Starting as a small staircase manufacturer, Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft of bespoke and mass production capacity.