We are delighted to welcome Clare Firth, our new QA/RA Manager, to the Kirkstall Precision Engineering family. Clare’s appointment brings with it an invaluable depth of experience, a strong focus on improvement, and an undeniable passion for quality assurance. To provide a glimpse into the dynamism she brings to the table, we had a sit-down with Clare to discuss her career, her goals, and the drive that motivates her.
Clare’s 11-year tenure in management roles has largely been spent in the Medical sector, equipping her with invaluable insights and experience. Her time with renowned organizations like STERIS AST and McBride Ltd has fostered an extensive understanding of the FMCG, personal care, household, and medical device sectors. A staunch advocate of quality, Clare has a proven track record of upholding BRC, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, EU GMP, and ISO 22716 standards across these domains.
“My primary objective,” she says, “is to ensure adherence to quality standards without compromise. I believe in driving continuous improvement, using lean tools to enhance team environments, and achieving effective performance at all levels. I am committed to maintaining statutory and regulatory requirements, ensuring seamless operations, and enhancing product and quality service for our customers.”
Clare is also excited to be back in a hands-on role, directly interacting with the team on the manufacturing front. “What I enjoy most about this role is the chance to work at the coal face of manufacturing. I’ve missed this direct involvement, and I’m looking forward to working alongside our dedicated team members to deliver exceptional quality.”
When asked about her significant career accomplishments, Clare was quick to highlight her contribution to reducing complaints from 15 to 2 per million at her previous workplace. She achieved this feat by driving site-wide initiatives to improve mixing, production processes, and packaging. Furthermore, Clare successfully raised Production RFT from 96% to 99% through strategic development and managed to maintain a green audit status with all UK retailers.
“Effective quality management is the result of strategic planning and targeted action,” Clare comments. “Each step taken towards quality improvement must be methodical, structured, and outcome-oriented. It’s not just about identifying and fixing the problems; it’s about preventing them.”
Clare’s people-first approach is evident in her management style. She has built high-performing teams, improved communications, and developed cross-functional skills. Clare’s ability to lead customer, regulatory, and notified body audits, coupled with her knack for managing external regulatory inspections, underlines her leadership acumen.
But Clare isn’t all about work. Away from the manufacturing floor, she finds joy in simpler things. “I’m an outdoors person,” she shares with a smile. “I have three adorable Pugs that I love taking on walks. I also enjoy wild swimming and keeping my garden in top condition. These activities keep me grounded and refresh my mind, preparing me for the challenges at work.”
At Kirkstall Precision Engineering, we are thrilled to have Clare join us. With her wealth of experience, hands-on approach, and continuous drive for improvement, we are confident she will be instrumental in ushering in new advancements in quality assurance at our company.
“I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” Clare concludes, “and I am excited to embark on this journey with Kirkstall Precision Engineering. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and to becoming part of this incredible team.”
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Clare Firth! With her at the helm of Quality Assurance, we are excited about the journey that lies ahead.