John Padkin joined COBA Precision in May 2016 as Engineering Operations Manager. Here, one year on, we talk to John about his first twelve months with our precision engineering business.
The name ‘John Padkin’ may be one that sounds familiar. John has many years’ experience in the engineering and manufacturing industry including procurement roles, and more recently managing a 20-strong group of machinists for another engineering company. He is certainly no stranger to the industry.
John explains how he first came into contact with COBA Precision. “I had known Paul Barnett for many years, when the company was then Bowden Precision Engineering. I was a buyer at Jones & Shipman in Leicester and Bowden was recommended to me as a supplier. That relationship grew and over the years that followed, Bowden became a key supplier to Jones & Shipman. I obviously now work alongside Paul at COBA Precision.”
Unsurprisingly, John’s role as Engineering Operations Manager brings with it a number of responsibilities, including liaising directly with customers regarding any technical queries, generating quotations, purchasing tooling, raw materials and any other specific requirements.
“The smooth running of the machine shop is a high priority for me,” says John. “It is essential the machinists are working on the correct parts, at the correct time to meet delivery dates.”
When asked about noticeable changes over the last year since joining COBA Precision, John is quick to answer that “there have been many changes, and very positive steps forward too.” He feels that COBA Precision has changed dramatically, these changes including the introduction of various systems to improve visibility of work in progress, material recognition and traceability.
“The Inspection facility has changed beyond recognition, with the acquisition of a new CMM and a variety of metrology equipment, not to mention the dedicated Inspection Office. The biggest change has been gaining ISO 9001:2015 certification which provides COBA Precision with a standalone quality manual that can withstand the most challenging of audits.”
So what makes COBA Precision stand out from other precision engineering companies? “COBA Precision has a highly skilled workforce. The machinists take genuine pride in their work, which isn’t always the case in this line of business. I believe many of our customers return time and time again because they trust COBA Precision to deliver quality and value for money.”
John also goes on to explain how the team at COBA Precision have been supportive of him in his role. “I couldn’t do my job efficiently without their help and co-operation,” says John. “The guys in the design office are always ready to help with any drawing requests I may have, and Paul Barnett is a great sounding board for more complex quotations and for technical advice.”
While many of the projects are involved with machines and tooling for COBA Plastics, and predominantly automotive associated, there are an increasing number of customers from other sectors seeking the services of COBA Precision, including aerospace and metrology.
“I am fortunate to have a very interesting, sometimes challenging (but always rewarding) job,” laughs John. “Satisfying our customers’ expectations is paramount. I enjoy keeping in touch with customers and suppliers, many of whom I have known for several years. To be able to continue a working relationship and receive orders from customers I have worked with at previous companies is very special.”
So what of the future? “I would like to see the business grow with existing customers, and to attract a few more select ones to complement our portfolio. I am looking forward to the day when COBA Precision can boast a million pound per annum turnover. Hopefully, that won’t be too many years away!”