Modus stalwart, Lizzie Chadwick talks about the new development centre in our newly expanded factory and how she came to be in charge.
What are the benefits of having the development centre in-house?
It’s a huge asset to Modus having an in-house development centre. We have a much clearer focus on product launches and more defined improvements to our existing collection. It also makes us more agile and allows us to offer greater flexibility when it comes to bespoke production. The whole team can more readily pull together to problem solve and it pushes everyone’s creativity.
Working on five new ranges simultaneously, how do you accommodate all the changes that need to be made in development and the different personalities of five designers?
We work very closely with our designers, through carefully timed visits to our factory we have the opportunity to review and work together to make the necessary changes, meaning that the end product turns out exactly how the designer and Modus had envisioned. Each designer works in a different way, by understanding their ways of working we can work to keep momentum in the development process. It’s also important to us that across all departments everyone can have visibility of the new products coming through, we have regular internal presentations back to key stakeholders in the company. With numerous, simultaneous changes it’s important to ensure that we have a collaborative team that can work closely with other departments.
Who do you work most closely with and what value does direct collaboration have?
We work very closely with our Operations department so we can make sure that there is continuous monitoring of the quality of the products going out the door and through product training we can help pass on the knowledge and quality standards that Modus demands. In return, we are here to support Operations in their manufacturing needs and requirements, making continuous improvements to product that enables production processes to become more lean. We also work closely with the Sustainability team so we can make sure both existing products and products coming through are as sustainable as possible. We are still manufacturing products from 20 years ago, back then, sustainability wasn’t as key, now we are having to look back and re-engineer products to bring them in line with our sustainability standards.
The design team has grown a lot over the past year, what changes are you seeing to the way the team works?
We wanted to increase focus on new product deliverance and this is definitely something we are seeing, plus a greater confidence in cross-departmental working. Collaborating across departments but being centred on the factory floor is definitely having a really positive outcome.
Modus has always offered internships, in fact, you started as an intern yourself, is there a two-way benefit to this and if so, why don’t more companies offer paid internships?
Yes, completely a two-way benefit, Modus gives a great internship, right from the off we completely embed our interns as a full member of our team, giving them responsibility for a host of different tasks and projects. Through this they have a great opportunity to learn much more, they are given the chance to see a different side of how the drawings they produce impact the manufacturing process, from CNC programming to upholstery techniques and methods, setting them up for their future career. In return we really appreciate their contribution and hard work, it becomes part of the success of the business. I am extremely proud that Modus has a continuous internship scheme and invests in the future of the younger generation and of the furniture design industry.
You have been with Modus for an incredible ten years now, what has kept you interested and where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
Modus has grown a lot in the last ten years, when I started, we were a team of 5 now we are nearly 100. This has been an interesting journey to watch as the company has changed and evolved, through the introduction of in-house manufacturing to the way in which the different departments have formed. With this, the role I have played at Modus has also changed over the years and I have been involved in many different areas of the business, through involvement of overseas projects to product launches and marketing tasks. I have enjoyed growing with the company and the challenges along the way, and am excited to see the progression of the company over the next ten years.