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Written by Guest_Blogger

Next week will be my last week at Scott & Fyfe, and as I am typing this, I am trying to remember all the events and lessons that I have learnt so that I may make this post meaningful, inspiring and interesting. That being said, I don’t think that will take too much, as my experience at Scott & Fyfe has been something of a well needed reality check and a definite game changer for my skills (in a good way).

 

Coming directly from art school (Duncan of Jordanstone), my head was bursting full of creative ideas; spontaneous and bubbling like a sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice about to explode. Nothing was my limit and nothing could stop me.

 

I was thrilled to hear that I had been accepted into Scott & Fyfe and couldn’t wait to get started. I carried out my research and found out that they are an innovative textile company, producing technical textiles for various industries around the world. All from their wee home in Tayport.

 

I got started almost immediately. My first project was to design a show board for one of their many exhibitions. I was nervous but again, my ideas helped along the way. After many adjustments the board was sent for printing as the exhibition was in 2 weeks time in London. My first day and I already had my work sent down to London. The exposure was fabulous. However, that’s where one of my first lessons came in.

 

LESSON #1 JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE UNRESTRICTED, DOESN’T MEAN THE COMPANY CAN BE

Although the company wanted a complete re branding, they also had criteria, rules and guidelines and being a naive art student I didn’t understand why - until later in my internship. As the old saying goes ‘rules are put in place for a reason.’ Whilst Scott & Fyfe were innovative and different to most technical textile companies, they still needed to uphold a professional, definite standpoint within their industry and had to consider all sorts of factors such as customers and market reactions.

 

So even though they liked my wild and crazy ideas, I needed to appropriate it to the company so that they wouldn’t attract the wrong sort of attention, or even worse, no attention. I learnt quickly though and researched companies to see how far I could go without making myself (and Scott & Fyfe) look like the catch of the day.

 

My work included brochures, flyers, posters, logo design, leaflets, folders and stationery. I got so much out of this including learning how to prototype, use the computer and my programs a lot more efficiently. In fact, I was able to create a template for some datasheets in less than three hours! (I was a technical dinosaur before and it took me at LEAST half a day to create something of such magnitude) but along with speed, came careless mistakes.

 

LESSON #2 YOU DON’T SEE ALL EVIL, BUT YOUR BOSS DOES

I made so many careless mistakes while typing and creating but my lovely boss Michelle was quick as a whip to correct and notice all evils that happened within my work. She could notice a misaligned line from a mile away so even though I was engrossed in the work, I still needed to pay attention and focus on the minute details because it is always the little things that count.

 

The weeks passed quickly while I was working at Scott & Fyfe and I stopped making silly mistakes like that (I hope), and delved into my perfectionist side.

 

LESSON #3 CAFFEINE IS YOUR FRIEND (even if you don’t mean for it to happen)

In the whole time that I was in Scott and Fyfe, everyone kindly offered me cups of tea and coffee and even on my first day I was introduced to the coffee and tea cupboard. I politely declined, as I thought I could handle the long working hours sans caffeine.

 

Never have I been so wrong.

 

After the second week, I learnt my lesson and made tea (or coffee) every morning before I started work. Somehow, the day passes a lot faster and my work gets shipped out quicker.

 

LESSON #4 WHY SO NAIIVE, SON

One project that really made me wake up and smell the coffee was a special brochure I was working on that was originally meant for the company. However, they needed this done within a tight schedule. The idea was already created during the first few weeks but only at a prototype level with the intention of printing within the office towards the middle of the month. However, the company required these to be professionally printed within a further one week. Whilst the prototypes conveyed the idea well enough, the actual construction and technicality of the art school idea soon became a problem.

 

The printers said it would be expensive to carry out my idea as 2 machines needed to set up for only a few brochures. In addition to this, a lot of man labour would be needed. It hit me right then and there like the cork from said non-alcoholic bottle in the beginning. I was so focused on my idea that I forgot the actual feasibility of the product. While it was easy enough for me to produce, I could only make one or two at a time. The company needed around a thousand copies and the printers had to have the technology to print and re-create my idea.

 

But lesson learnt, keep your safety belt on at all times until the idea has safely been examined and we land on the ground.

 

LESSON #5 EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE

I’m drawing to the end of my post and even after all the ups and downs and rushes and slows, I am immensely grateful to have had this opportunity with Scott & Fyfe. The experience really grew me as a designer, as a person and also as someone who someday wants to build an industry of my own. I understand why it is essential for all students to have an internship. It really does help and change you. What I learnt at art school may be the Cinderella dream come true, but companies that take fresh interns like Scott & Fyfe, help to shape and build the dream into a much more happily ever after that we actually need.

 

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me a dose of reality, and a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me the kitten heel that I really needed.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for everything.

 

Written by Ummi Jameel

 

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Written by John Palmer

 

This year we celebrated 150 years in business and what a year it has been! 

 

Following a complete transformation of our business 5 years ago and a switch to employee ownership in 2012 we are now finally on a track with a clear destination. The greatest transformation in our company history and one, I have to say, gives us reassurance for the future.

 

We would just like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of our colleagues who make work that much more enjoyable, our customers for their loyalty and patience and our suppliers for their support through this phase.

 

This has been a satisfying year but not one without its challenges. Despite these however, we have achieved a great deal and look forward to 2015 with renewed vigour.

 

Some of the highlights of 2014 include:

 

  • Reached 150 years of successful business
  • Launched our new website
  • Attended Employee Ownership events including an enlightening conference at Nottingham University. We will be hosting our own event in February 2015
  • Benefited from the skills of fabulous interns from around the globe
  • Held an Employee Ownership, Successful Succession Event here with CDS
  • Created a new business sector addressing innovative pipe relining
  • Launched new ground breaking products including Alphashield and Polymat FR
  • Carried out innovation workshops, partnership events with some major blue chip companies
  • Participated in a number of charity events including a very colourful “Wear It Pink” day in support of breast cancer
  • Generated a collaborative strategy to take us through to 2018, which is based on facts rather than pipedreams

 

With our current very loyal customers, supportive suppliers and not least our very flexible and motivated employees we will achieve our objectives.

 

We still have much to learn and there will be pain and discomfort along the way but our determination will get us there!

 

Again we’d like to wish all of our friends a Very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2015.

 

John Palmer

Employee Elected Director and POD Manager

 

  

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Written by Karin Brummelhuis

Since I made the transition from an intern at Scott & Fyfe to Ideation Business Manager a lot of people ask me what does an Ideation Manager do? To begin with the definition of Ideation is stated as:

 

 “The formation of ideas or concepts”

 

This is exactly what my role is as the Ideation POD manager within Scott & Fyfe. When there is a new idea or concept I am involved its development from the earliest stage carrying out research, product development and further market research. Another part of my job is to look at next steps within our existing markets. For example, we recently launched new products within our PFT POD's cured in place pipe (CIPP) range and in the Composite POD's Polymat range and I am now looking at what can come next. In order to carry out these tasks I utilise many of the skills that Scott & Fyfe learnt throughout their “Creating Cultures of Innovation” work with Glasgow School of Art including the Double Diamond, P.O.I.N.T and dotocracy tools.

 

I began my journey at Scott & Fyfe working as an intern whilst carrying out research for my dissertation. This was a requirement at the course I was doing at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands; this course offers education focused specifically on technical textiles.

 

The knowledge that I took from my course is applied to my work on a daily basis in some way or another, varying from the learning of how different knitting patterns affect the product to understanding the properties of different polymers and the affect they have on the production process and final product. This education has helped me greatly.

 

One factor that I think is very important when working in an idea generation and product development role is the understanding of how new methods can be applied and their relevance to market areas and the business as a whole. A question that I need to ask is whether or not a new technology really adds value to the textile product or if a more conventional method is better. Another aspect that I must consider is the investment that it would require to produce. This is perhaps one area that significantly differs from my theoretical work in University, as now I have to consider the financial implications within a business. Not all new technologies require investment though; an example of this is that some new and performance enhancing nano coatings can be applied by conventional coating processes therefore adding no additional cost.

 

I believe that growth in technical textiles lies in finding new applications thereof. For example a few decades ago nobody thought of reinforcing concrete with textiles rather than metal bars, or replacing steel cables with textile fibres (e.g. Dyneema), which outperforms traditional steel.

 

Nowadays we find ourselves making boats, planes, trains and all sorts of construction materials with textile reinforcements. The major benefits being that textiles are flexible and much lighter than traditionally used materials and can have many other improved features. Textiles can be formed around the most difficult bends because of their conformability. Additionally textiles can be given almost any desired property such as conductivity and insulation properties. Given these beneficial aspects it will be interesting to find out what else can be done with textiles in future for areas where they are currently not being used yet and as Ideation Manager it is partly my job to find out. 

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Written by Guest Blogger

 

I applied to Scott & Fyfe through the Saltire Foundation, an organization who provide internships across the world for penultimate undergraduate Scottish University students. When the internship options were posted I was studying at the University of North Texas as a part of my degree. I focused solely on Scottish based internships as after being away for five months I wanted to be able to catch up with friends and family on weekends!

 

I applied to Scott & Fyfe as I am studying the International Business Management course at Edinburgh Napier University and was interested in the variety of different markets that they manufacture technical textiles for. It was my intent to gain valuable experience through applying my university knowledge directly into the workplace.

 

My internship focused on the knitted hose reinforcement fabric, Polyknit Easyform, for use in automotive silicone hoses. I was tasked with analyzing the current market in order to determine how Scott & Fyfe should proceed with the textile product.

 

Through my degree so far I have studied numerous topics relating to business such as accounting, marketing, management and logistics; this knowledge proved extremely useful when launching the product and completing my final report. Alongside this I carried out marketing communication work and completed a market analysis and sales forecast using a variety of business framework tools. My internship culminated with a presentation to the board outlining my key findings and recommendations for the product.

 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Scott & Fyfe. By being part of this technical textile business I benefited through being able to apply the theory from University into practice. The internship gave me a great amount of freedom regarding my approach to the task and this improved my time management and organizational skills.

 

The environment at Scott & Fyfe is extremely friendly, with the open plan Innovation Space it was easy for me to ask for advice whenever I needed it. The project was important and provided value to Scott & Fyfe; it defied the stereotypical image of internships being all about making coffee! The responsibility I was given made me much more motivated, as I felt valued by the company. I would highly recommend working for Scott & Fyfe; this internship has given me skills and experience that will greatly benefit my future career prospects!

Rob1

Robert Gathergood

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Written by Guest Blogger

Living abroad can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to study and even work in a place totally different to where you came from. My name is Leonardo Fantinati, I am Brazilian and I took the challenge to live and study on my own at Dundee. The results of my experience were quite exciting!

 

I started my study program at DJCAD (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design) on September 2013 under the ‘Science without Borders Programme’ scheme. As a Product Design Student I got involved with projects and subjects exploring multidisciplinary fields of study and solving numerous problems by the use of appropriate research techniques.

 

My interest into new methodologies and innovative materials to work with led me to attend a specific module, ‘Textiles Futures’ aiming to give students opportunities to understand and have contact with the field of technical textiles.

 

The project briefing, in partnership with Scott & Fyfe, tasked us to consider how some of the their existing textiles could be re-appropriated, developing innovative contexts of use and researching new areas of application in terms of market viability.

 

Focusing on the ‘wearable industry’ and providing the user with good ergonomics and comfort during hours of use, the product concept was to provide a low-cost utility shoe formed with a two-piece die cut pattern dispensing conventional construction models such as sewing, being easily foldable and constructed around the user’s foot.

 

leo2

 

Due to my efforts I was offered the opportunity of a two month paid Research and Development Internship at Scott & Fyfe. As a part of the Composites Pod my duties included gaining market insights into the Composite industry with a view to analyze distributors and potential customers not recognized in Latin regions. Another element of my work was to gather insights into Composite product ranges and support new product developments.

 

The best part of everything? I’ve learnt a lot, both at DJCAD and Scott & Fyfe. Studying and working abroad provides you with the ability to leave your comfort zone and it unequivocally influences your worldview. On a personal level, independence and self-confidence is what you take. Besides that, the interaction and contact with people all over the world can provide you long-standing friendships and a diversified network of contacts.

 

On a professional and academic level, the whole experience taught me cross-cultural and interpersonal communication skills while working in a multicultural team, making me able to easily adapt to new settings, backgrounds and challenges that may appear. Scott & Fyfe gave me an awesome opportunity to develop these abilities while working with a competent and challenging team. Thank you guys for everything! 

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About Us

With innovation, diversity and partnership at the heart of our company’s ethos, Scott & Fyfe have been designing and producing a vast range of technical textiles for numerous market areas worldwide for almost 150 years. Our ability to design and manufacture products for both current and future market needs have allowed us to build a global reputation for excellence in both quality and service.

Scott & Fyfe
Tayport Works, Links Road, Tayport, Fife, Scotland
DD6 9EE

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