Where did you study and what course/diploma/degree did you gain?
RJ: I have worked in various service industries, including travel, leisure, and immigration facilitation. All have been within customer services. Many various jobs have allowed me to upskill myself to best quality service values and skills. I have gained various customer service accreditation throughout my working career.
KB: I studied textile design in the past. Unrelated I know to this industry but it just goes to show how people from diverse backgrounds and educational routes can still use their skills productively and creatively in this amazing industry.
Details of current employer (or own business), including location
RJ: I have been working for Fujitsu since 2013 based in Elstree Hertfordshire. Fujitsu is one of the largest manufacturers of Air Conditioning Units in the world. Fujitsu is now one of the leading suppliers of air-conditioning equipment in the UK.
KB: We all work together at Fujitsu in Elstree.
What attracted you to the industry?
KB: All of us came through a recruitment agency. In truth we didn’t know anything about the industry before we joined, we were just applying for sales/admin roles. However, I would say that Fujitsu being such a well-known international brand was an attraction.
RJ: I have always strived to take on a challenging job, be it in any industry. Fujitsu gave me the opportunity and motivation to start-off as a customer service administrator, and then working my way up to my current position of Customer Service Supervisor. I didn’t know anything about the industry before I joined Fujitsu but I am very glad that I did join, and that I joined a market leader like Fujitsu.
RE: In truth, I didn’t really know anything about this industry before I started. I can’t say that it was the industry that attracted me, but I had heard of Fujitsu before as they are a global brand and I thought I could further my career in an administrative role here as a really good starting point.
What do you specialise in now? Or, what type of projects do you work on?
RJ: I started off my career with Fujitsu within the spares department. Over time I broadened my technical knowledge of the different product ranges and also gained experience of looking after more and larger clients. I now look after a wider portfolio and have two supporting colleagues within my team.
KB: I have moved into a new role, Product and Marketing Co-ordinator. This is a change for me but something that I really enjoy. I am enjoying learning and Fujitsu have given me the opportunity to express myself creatively and learn new skills. Although I have a design background it was from the textile industry but even so, there are transferable skills. I am also helping with the company’s rebranding.
RE: I was recently promoted to Customer Service Supervisor for units. I took over from Kelly when she moved into her marketing role. I oversee the unit’s side of the team and I work very closely with distributors and our VRF team to ensure that all the large scale VRF projects run smoothly and are completed on time. I have national responsibility for order fulfilment and stock imports.
What do you know now about the industry which you wished you had known before?
RJ: Initially I was unaware of the size of this huge and successful industry. So I perhaps underestimated the possibilities and potential this industry offers both in terms of career and business opportunities. As it was, I had the experience of jumping at the deep end and suddenly having to learn to swim. Thankfully I have had great support from the team at Fujitsu and enjoy working in this fantastic industry.
KB: I wish I had known just how quickly everything evolves and develops in the industry. It feels like there is continual innovation and change. With developments due to refrigerant change and improving energy efficiency nothing is staying still. I had no idea before I joined the industry just how dynamic it is.
RE: I wish I had known what an exciting industry this is. There is a genuine need to constantly challenge yourself because everything is changing so fast. It is a fast moving industry with never a dull moment.
What excites/interests you about the industry and your part in it now?
RJ: The constant development and innovation within the industry is a constant challenge to keep abreast of. I like to constantly challenge myself with learning new things and this industry allows me to do that and more.
KB: The people! I find this industry is full of lovely, helpful and friendly people; both inside the company but also our Distributors and customers. I also am excited by how this industry is growing and continually changing. We are seeing more young people joining the industry and the company. We as a company are also playing our role in supporting this by supplying equipment going into colleges and training centres. We also work alongside our customers to support their charities whenever possible which is doubly rewarding.
RE: When I talk to friends in other industries, they don’t appear to have such strong relationships with their customers. I now find it natural to care about our customer’s successes and well as their problems. I like that this industry is a people industry and that people matter. So many other industries are so impersonal but this one is very much the opposite and I like that.
What would you say to other women who are considering coming into the ACR industry?
RJ: I would say to them ‘Go for it!” It is a great industry to work in.
KB: If you like a challenge, then this is the industry for you. There is a lot to learn but there is also an extraordinary number of different avenues and opportunities for personal, professional and business development.
RE: This is a really friendly industry and not stuffy at all. I would say that if you like dealing with people then this is the industry for you. It has technical demands of course, and there is a lot to learn, but the people in the industry make it special so I would say don’t hesitate to join if you have the opportunity.
Where do you see your career developing?
RJ: My goal is to work my way up within this company always keeping my customers in mind and ensuring they get the highest levels of service. I really enjoy being here for many reasons and can see a career path as opportunities arise.
KB: I have had a wonderful opportunity to start a marketing career within Fujitsu, a truly global market leader. This gives me a chance to learn new skills and express my creative side. I would like to develop and progress within the organisation which thankfully is large enough to provide many potential career paths.
RE: I would like to develop my management skills and progress to become a manager. I have been supported and encouraged by the company and senior staff to develop my skills, particularly man management. The company is large enough to enable me to see that I will be given opportunities to accept responsibility and become more customer facing.
What are the challenges of this industry?
RJ: This industry is quite complex in many ways and it has taken time to learn and understand all the different technical terms.
KB: Changes to environmental legislation resulting in new refrigerants being introduced and pushing the drive to ever more energy efficient units. BREXIT has also created uncertainty in the business world and we have yet to see how this will pan out.
RE: We are constantly introducing new products to continuously evolve and grow in the industry. With each new product, there is lots to learn so that we have sufficient knowledge to pass on to our customers.
What are the benefits of being in your role?
RJ: My biggest motivator is being a people person. I love to go the ‘extra mile’ for every customer. This is more satisfying than anything else I could ask for. My role here at Fujitsu enables me to help customers and deal with people. I continually strive to go above and beyond in terms of customer service and this role motives me to do just that.
KB: For me it is learning new skills, and also getting to travel. I get to meet many interesting people and I also like that my work is non-routine and never repetitive. It’s great to part of a company that is growing and progressed over the past few years.
RE: I have been given an opportunity to develop. Fujitsu are a wonderful company to work for and they bring out the best in people. I like the variety and the opportunity to grow and develop my career.