Life at CWE – Steering success as a Production Manager

6th November, 2023

At CWE, we’re proud to be part of the UK rail industry. We believe it’s a great place to work and that our friendly team showcases the best of the sector. In this series, Life at CWE, we’ll be providing a glimpse into the life of our staff. We hope th

is will give readers a sense of the work our brilliant people do and the diverse range of talents and skills that make up the world of rail engineering. 

In this edition, we speak to our Production Manager, Darren Moorhouse. Darren gives us an insight into a typical day at CWE, discusses his core responsibilities and shares some of the key attributes of his role.


How have you settled into life at CWE?

It’s been great having a good team and a good set of people around me to make me feel welcome, in fact I feel like I’ve been here a lot longer than I have, which is a good thing – so it’s definitely all helped me settle in. Of course, you’ve always got quite a bit a learn and for me that’s on the engineering, product mix and fine detailing products – there’s hundreds of different products going through a lot of different operations. So that’s keeping me busy, as I’m more familiar with the rail side of the business. 

As CWE’s production manager, what are your core responsibilities?

My core responsibilities are to ensure everybody leaves as they arrived – essentially that everybody’s safe. I need to make sure we are achieving production requirements,  by producing the right products to the right quality, in the right time frame and at the right cost. I’m also responsible for all health and safety and HR-related matters.

What do you find most rewarding about your job at CWE and working in rail?

I get that real sense of achievement when a product leaves the building. For example, the first GOS rail job presented some challenges. So, it took a few longer shifts to get it over the line, but it was all worthwhile. It was great to see it leave at 3pm on the Friday, receive great feedback, and gain additional work off the back of it. Another rewarding part of working at CWE, is seeing improvements being made around the place. In the three months I’ve been here, there’s already been a massive change in buffers and couplers with housekeeping and we’ve seen shop floor standards improving. We’re going to start replicating what we’ve done there in our engineering to provide an even more professional and safe place to work.

What have you brought to CWE with our specific experience and background?

From a professional point of view, I’ve got more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing engineering environments, with 10 years of that spent in rail. From a personal point of view, I am able to maintain a calm head which helps with the pace and pressure of the environment.

Which of your personal skills has helped you fulfil your role at CWE?

I think people skills are really important in any sort of leadership or management role, because at the end of the day I need them more than they need me. The ability to problem solve has also been vital. If we have an issue with anything, we figure out what we can do and how we can fix it because at the end of the day we’ve still got to try and get that product out to the customer in the right time frame.

What is one tip you would give to another production manager?

Keep calm and stick to the processes that are in place. If something is out of your control, don’t waste too much energy worrying about it. Try to take emotion out of situations, because you’re dealing with different people and different emotions, so you have to try and remove yourself from it and be consistent – be the same person when things are good and when things are bad. I’ve done it in the past and it’s easy to make a rash decision based on emotion and it’s not the right thing to do because you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

What does a typical day look like in your job at CWE?

It’s busy. In the morning I do a shop floor walk to make sure everything’s in its place and check on product / production progress against plan. If I’m not quite happy with something, for example if something is in the walkway or a product needs to be pushed along , I’ll point it out and make sure it’s made safe or prioritised. I host the morning  production meetings. We’ve got two production boards, so we discuss couplers and buffers, and then we move onto engineering and bogies. The meetings are held with all the other key stakeholders to discuss production issues and relay information between all interested parties. Other than that, I deal with any other issues that arise throughout the day, which can range from HR issues to maintenance, transport so it’s a real mix.

To find out more about the CWE team, click here

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