THE EQUIPMENT ENGAGEMENT Harry Mellor, LiuGong Europe Product Manager for Excavators tells Diggers LIVE a little about himself and the company he works for
How long have you been working in the industry? I’d like to think all of my life. I grew up on a farm with my family in property development, so I’ve always been around tractors, backhoe loaders, mini excavators and dumpers. But in terms of actually working for a construction equipment company, nine years.
How did you start out in the industry? I always knew I wanted to be involved in plant and equipment, so I joined the JCB Academy in Staffordshire as a sixth form student when it first opened. I studied an engineering diploma, maths and physics A Level. Two years later, I joined JCB as a Higher Apprentice studying a four-year course with one day a week at Sheffield Hallam University and four days at work. This really fast-tracked me into the industry as I’d got four years working experience plus a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering by the time I was 22.
What attracted you to the industry? Having grown up operating and fixing our own machinery, I’ve always enjoyed it although my heart was with tractors originally. Then nine years ago, when I got involved with excavators during my apprenticeship, I became fascinated with excavators’ ability to undertake such a wide variety of work, not just moving muck. I think this is what makes them such an exciting product.
Tell us about the different aspects of your work. As a product manager, the machines you are responsible for become almost like your child. You want to know everything about them and to ensure they are the best they can be, so the job description isn’t so straightforward, but most of all it is my responsibility to be the voice of the customer. The number one priority is meeting customers, listening to them, understanding their work and reporting
that to the right teams to develop our offering. That can take my involvement into all kinds of topics from R&D and manufacturing to sales, marketing, service or finance – it is all part of the scope.
What do you find most rewarding in work? I personally really enjoy launching a new machine to the market. When you have worked on a product for a number of years from concept, through planning and development phases, to actually release the machine and see the response from operators, customers and media is a great feeling as I take a lot of pride in the products I manage.
Which parts of work are most challenging? No job is easy, and if it is then I don’t think someone is pushing themselves to their full potential. Personally, I thrive off a challenge and I am always looking