Under The Spotlight
IT & Systems Department
IT & Systems are integral to any business and for many years, we have managed this critical function in-house. With an IT development background, Austin Kitchen, our Managing Director, was largely responsible for the design and development of Vmans, our advanced ERP system.
At the age of 16 and at the height of the Dot-Com boom, Austin was ready to launch his own e-commerce business with a business plan backed with funding from the Prince’s Trust. Austin’s father, Alex, Managing Director at Velden at the time, persuaded Austin to put this project on hold temporarily and join the family firm to help protect the company from the much-feared millennium bug. Austin rapidly transferred most of Velden’s old DOS based systems to a new Windows based software, which he wrote from scratch and developed in conjunction with the management team. This initial development work formed the basis of the current Vmans ERP system, which is still constantly evolving.
Alex’s real ambition was achieved when, shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Austin made the decision to join Velden full-time. Since then, he has moved our IT systems to an entirely new level and over the years has introduced full site networking, digital document management, OCR archiving, CADCAM software, shop floor terminals, machine monitoring, full barcode job tracking and much more.
In 2011, Austin took on the role of Managing Director as Alex became our Chairman. To maintain the momentum for development of our IT and systems, we were joined by Ray Newton, a sixteen-year-old apprentice. Mentored by Austin, Ray increasingly took on responsibility for our IT requirements, whilst studying for his three-year apprenticeship at Alliance Learning in Horwich. With a keen interest in information technology and having worked with computers from a young age, Ray also worked on various IT projects with Austin prior to joining Velden. Both Ray and Austin have hobbies and interests in IT related projects and are often called upon to resolve IT issues by their family and friends!
In April 2016, Ray’s efforts were rewarded, when he was promoted to IT & Systems Manager and he is now a key member of the management team. He continues to further develop our already advanced systems to meet Austin’s vision of becoming a true Industry 4.0 smart factory.