As part of FoodProductionDaily’s ongoing series of 60-second interviews with the movers and shakers of the food and beverage industry, we caught up with Tony Bryant, sales manager, Loma Systems and Lock Inspection.
The engineering and manufacturing firm specialises in metal detection, checkweighing and x-ray inspection systems. Bryant is responsible for sales and customer relationships in the UK and has worked for the company for nearly 15 years.
Tell us about your current role?
I have two roles, managing the UK sales team for Loma and Lock inspection machinery sales and also a sales territory. We supply metal detection, x-ray inspection and checkweighing technology to the food sector. Our customers are both large and small food processors.
How did you get into the industry?
Like a lot of us in the food sector, once you have a "taste" for it you love it. I started as a production engineer for a food machinery manufacturer but wanted to see more of where and what the machinery was used for, sales was a natural progression and something I love to do.
What do you like most about your job?
Managing a successful and happy team of people gives me great satisfaction, but I'm still a salesman so the customers who call and say "can I have another one" always gives me a great buzz.
What's the hardest thing about your job?
We're a very busy company so managing customers’ expectations can be challenging. The food business is fast moving and we need to be able provide quick turnaround of machinery orders. However we've listened and now offer a range of machinery on shorter lead times which does help.
Is there such a thing as a typical day for you? If so, what does it look like?
The great thing about this role is the variation, but as typical as it gets would be up at 6.30am, walk the dogs. Out for 7.30am (coffee on route) into the office & factory or out on customer visits. Back home for around 6pm typically and then about an hour or so of emails. Wind down, watch some TV, preferably Golf or Man Utd, glass of red and then early to bed, ready to start over tomorrow.
What advice would you give people interested in a job in your field?
Tricky, but I'd say work smart as well as hard. Use the technology available to its maximum (saving on motorway miles). Stay focused and level headed whatever last months results were, believe totally in your business and respect all other members of staff that work behind the scenes, as they make your job easier.
If you could have one 'do-over' in your career, what would that be?
Don't panic into employing a sales person. Finding the right one is more important than finding one quick.
What do you see as the next top trend in five years’ time?
We're all very busy people and ready to eat foods will continue to grow I'm sure, but I think recipes will or should become healthier making it easier for us to choose healthy, ready to go foods without the guilt. Relating to our business I'm pretty sure our customers will rely more and more on us providing total solutions for their quality control inspection equipment and so x-ray technology will become very much main stream.
Which country do you see as the next big emerging market?
Poland - for us it's a great market. Living standards are forever improving and expectations on food safety is becoming more and more important.