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A day in the life

Heidi Sachs is Managing Director of Modplan, a trade fabricator of PVC-U windows, doors, conservatories and garden buildings. Here she explains why delivering excellence is what gets her up in the morning and why you’d better think twice before challenging her to a game of pool. My day always starts early. I like to get into the office first thing to prepare myself for a busy day ahead. I’m often away from my desk for most of the day, so my first job is to catch up on emails from the previous day. People know it’s better to give me a call if they want an immediate answer, but they’ll use email for non-urgent queries, so I like to get those sorted out before the day begins.

Different challenges

No two days are the same, because there are different challenges and opportunities coming up the whole time. Having said that, they do tend to follow a similar pattern and my focus tends to be on customer liaison, product development and team development. After I’ve caught up on email, I’ll often talk to customers on the phone. It’s very important to me to keep my finger on the pulse and it’s only by having this regular contact that you get a feel for how the market is and what our customers need to help them grow their business. One of the things it’s most useful for is understanding the products that homeowners are asking for so we know we’re developing the products that will add value to our customers’ portfolios. Product development is a big part of my day. It’s a fascinating process, taking the requirements and working out how to best meet them, often making new technological advances along the way. In an industry like ours, we have to keep new product plans under wraps until we’re ready to launch, so I can’t say too much about what we’ve been working on recently. But it’s all looking very exciting and I’m looking forward to unveiling the new additions to our portfolio later on this year!

People power

Another thing that’s important to me is the company’s most valuable asset, its people, and I’ll always take the time to walk round the site and catch up on the day’s events. We’re very much a team at Modplan and we recognise how important people are to our operation. A motivated and happy team adds value toour business by adding value to our customers’ businesses. So as well as being out and about on site, everyone knows they can drop in any time if they like – we have two main offices on site and neither of them has a door, so we can honestly say we have an open door policy! We also invest heavily in training and development. Every manager at Modplan has achieved the Institute of Leadership and Management Level 5 in Service Improvement and on the shop floor, members of the team are undertaking a range of NVQs from Level 2 to Level 5. The training develops the skills that our team has and helps us to improve the quality of our products and service.

Passion for interior design

I simply love what I do, but I also love getting out of the office – work hard and play hard is my motto! My weekends have been taken up with home improvements for the past couple of years. I bought a new house in 2011 which needed quite a bit of renovation. Luckily, I really enjoy DIY and I have a passion for interior design, so it was a very enjoyable process. I miss working on it now it’s finished and I’m always looking for bits that need sorting out! Apart from DIY, I also love walking and enjoy nothing more than a long walk at the weekend. My other vice is a game of pool because I’m a bit of a tomboy. I’m told I’m pretty good, so if anyone is up for a challenge… I’ve worked at the Burles Group, Modplan’s parent company for 30 years this year, and have been Managing Director since 2006. I can honestly say that what drives me today is the same thing that drove me when I first joined. I want to be part of a team that grows a profitable business and is proactive and committed to helping our customers – in short, delivering excellence!