New Planning Manager Michael Phillips Reflects on His Time So Far at BEL Engineering

BEL Engineering’s newly recruited Planning Manager, Michael Phillips, tells us about his time so far at BEL Engineering and what his plans are for his new role.

Why did you join BEL Engineering?

Having spent most of my post education years learning many skills within a Japanese cultured manufacturing environment, in 2020 I reached what I now view as the mid-point in my career and felt I owed it to myself to take on a new and interesting challenge.  When I became aware of the opportunity to join BEL Engineering I spoke to some of the team and became immediately impressed and motivated to learn more.  I very quickly visited the operation to understand the strategy and meet the team and after a very pleasant two hours, I took the short journey home inspired and excited about the experience.  I really felt that I would be able to gel with the team and contribute.  Fortunately things worked out and here I am. 

Tell us about your career and qualifications…

After acquiring a mechanical engineering degree at Northumbria University in 1998, I was offered a graduate placement at Komatsu UK Ltd initially working in purchasing and then progressing through various departments and positions including Planning and Production Manager.  Looking back, I was fortunate in my earlier years to learn skills and techniques from some truly inspiring Japanese experts and in later years I really enjoyed cascading these experiences and skills to the next generation.

Is there anything different with your new role at BEL Engineering?

When I arrived in February, BEL Engineering had very recently began rolling out their business excellence strategy.  One of the many positive things I immediately noticed and continue to enjoy at BEL Engineering is air time dedicated to praising and celebrating success.  This is just deserved as I appreciate every day the amount of effort and contribution every employee puts into their role.

What are your main responsibilities in your new role?

Establishing an E2E (end to end) planning process/cycle which matches the shape of the business is my immediate focus.  This will include the introduction of relevant key stage KPIs which will allow us to monitor business performance and lead us to be able to identify and prioritise improvement requirements.  Facilitating these improvements is equally a key part of my role and I am really pleased that we are already understanding the current situation better and have agreed some key improvements which the entire business can be part of and support.  Planning and business improvement is the main focus of my role and with this in mind, I work closely with our Master Scheduler and Purchasing/Business Improvement Manager. I’m also responsible for supporting our front end QA engineers and project managers.  I really enjoy the daily challenges across all areas.

How has your first month been so far?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at BEL Engineering so far. I started my role in the last week of February, so it was good experience to see how the business handles month end.  As expected, initially it was challenging to understand and interpret the data, however with the help from my colleagues, progress is being made each day.

It’s been great having the opportunity to identify areas for improvement within the business. I’ve been working on new systems and procedures, which I am excited to launch within the business. I think the best part is receiving the positive feedback from my colleagues, so I’d really like to thank everyone for their support so far.

What do you hope to bring to the role and what are your top priorities?

The main thing I’d like to bring is system driven achievable and stable production which, when complete, will increase job satisfaction and business performance.  I also want to enhance the link between sales and planning to match order intake with our capacity. I’m excited by BEL Engineering’s ambition to grow into an even more successful business which it deserves, considering we have such a phenomenal facility and great workforce.

What are your interests outside of work?

Outside of spending time with my fantastic family, I volunteer as a governor for Whickham School.  I’ve enjoyed our recent new school build but my greatest pleasure is supporting the STEAM activities.  In my previous role, I arranged for pupils to visit the workplace and provided a motivational experience to encourage them into engineering.  I hope in the future to continue this and encourage our fantastic pupils to take up a career in engineering with BEL.

On weekends, like many people at BEL Engineering, I manage a local football team.  Actually, I manage my daughters U13 team who are fantastic and recently I have been able to establish a really close partnership with Durham Ladies football team.


If you’re interested in a career within British Engines, please visit our careers page for more information.


Back to all media