Why I Work In… is an occasional feature where we ask people about their jobs and the industry they work in. This time it’s Andy Cromack, operations director at Huddersfield-based direct mail specialist Propack.
Tell us a little bit about Propack?
Propack is a leading UK provider of technology-led print and direct mail solutions for brands including Parkinson’s UK, Travis Perkins, Sky Bet and Joe Browns. Our team creates innovative (and award winning!) campaigns for our clients, producing over 25 million mail packs per year from our 30,000 square foot bespoke site in Huddersfield.
We also have our own postage brand, Ethical Mail®, which provides sustainable paper supplies and fair supply chains for our clients. We recently sent out our 50 millionth piece of Ethical Mail®!
And what’s your role there – how would you describe your job to an alien?
As operations director, my role is to put processes in place to help the business run more efficiently so we can continue to grow, ensuring that all team members are united in our vision and are working towards a shared goal.
How long have you worked in this sector?
I started a print apprenticeship straight from leaving school and then held roles with Alistair Mcintosh and Williams Lea. This is where I learnt all the skills of a print finisher/direct mail operative.
Since then, I have worked at Adare Halcyon and Communisis as a print finisher. I then spent almost 15 years at Gecko in Leeds where I worked as head of production before becoming a commercial manager and then finally operations director. I joined Propack in June 2022.
What skills make someone a good operations director?
Being able to communicate effectively is key. My role is all about bringing teams together and getting everybody on the same page, so being able to connect with people at all levels and from all departments is really important.
What’s your advice for people looking to get into the print sector?
Be willing to change. The industry is completely different to when I first started out, but that’s the exciting thing about it!
This is a very fast-moving sector so be willing to adapt your skills, learn new technologies and help to drive change.
If you could describe your job in only three words, which would you choose?
Stressful, challenging and rewarding!
What do you most love about it?
Being an operations director in a business that hasn’t previously had one is an exciting position. It’s so rewarding to see your ideas come to life and make a real impact.
At its core, my job is about solving problems and finding solutions to make our teams’ lives easier, our processes more efficient and the business more profitable. When everything comes together, it’s a great feeling!
What word would your colleagues use to describe you?
Hopefully ‘approachable’. My role spans all departments and I’m really keen to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. If it doesn’t work for the team as a whole, then it is likely the wrong solution, so being able to have honest and open conversations with each and every team member is crucial.
Where do you hope your career may take you?
I have been at Propack since June 2022 so the next steps for me involve bringing a lot of ideas to life and ensuring that we can continue to work effectively for years to come.
I joined Propack at a really exciting time; the brand has experienced so much growth over the last few years so it is fantastic to be a part of that and ensuring we can continue on this trajectory.
If someone is reading this and thinks, I’d love to work at Propack, what should they do?
Get in touch! We’re a friendly team and are always open to hearing new ideas and supporting new talent.