The Lockwood range of premium locks and security accessories has been manufactured at the ASSA ABLOY Australia (formerly Lockwood) plant in Oakleigh, Melbourne for 70 years.
Unbelievably, more than 60% of ASSA ABLOY Australia’s employees have been with the company for more than 10 years and an amazing one in twenty employees have been with the company for more than 30 years. This is unusual at least, when today two years in one place is considered too long!
There are some amazing stories in these statistics, with lasting work and personal relationships being established and maintained over long periods. Currently, there are four sets of sisters employed and a couple of husband and wife teams but it’s the Patterson family which deserves special mention for its remarkable length of combined service.
Sisters, Marilyn Patterson and Glenda Smith (nee Patterson) started their association with Lockwood as young children in the 1960’s when their uncle, Mick Bunce, long time Lockwood Purchasing Manager, brought the girls every year to the Lockwood Christmas party. Both have very fond memories are of being treated to ride the Ferris wheel.
As the girls grew, their mother, Alma, began working at the factory, a position she held for 15 years. Coincidentally, it was around this time that their father, Bernie Patterson also worked there for a short time, when the company he worked for (Australian Die Casting) become part of the Group.
In 1981, both young women joined the company on the factory floor. In a matter of months, Glenda had met a colleague who was to become her husband and the company connections became even more involved as her husband’s father worked in Lockwood’s accounts department and his sister also married a long time Lockwood employee.
Rod Patterson, brother of Glenda and Marilyn, joined Lockwood as a chemist for a short period around this time too!
Collectively, the six members of the immediate family have worked more than 100 years at Lockwood. For Glenda, who can add the time of her in-laws as well, the figure is more in the region of 150 years!
Currently, both Marilyn and Glenda work in customer service and Marilyn has recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with the company. Glenda’s celebration is delayed because of the time she took off to be a full time parent to her two children.
As well as this amazing family involvement with Lockwood, Marilyn and Glenda have lived a classic story of adapting to a changing workforce during their quarter century with the company.
From factory floor, first Glenda, then Marilyn became involved in administrative positions, as the need arose in that area. When the company then centralized its administration both adapted to the new systems required.
Now, both work in a team of 11 customer service officers and agree that their time in manufacturing has been a huge advantage to handling customers’ queries.
“Because of our knowledge of the production process, we can go straight to a particular person to source an extra part for a customer or find out the best way to solve a particular problem,” they say. “It makes meeting the customer’s needs much easier.”
Certainly, the value of experience cannot be underestimated and pays enormous dividends for the company and its customers.
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