A leading supplier and distributor of specialist, luxury and performance textiles to leaders in global hospitality, healthcare, and retail markets, Vision Support Services prides itself on its diverse workforce.

Spanning five continents, we employ over 100 people who speak over 20 different languages and are proud to have a 50:50 female/male ratio of staff.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, which aims to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world, Vision wants to highlight the inspiring work that women in our business do with a series of company employee profiles.

In this edition, we interviewed Michelle Pegg, the Group Operations Director at Vision.

International Women's Day Interview - Michelle Pegg

Tell us about yourself and your background before Vision

I started working life in the textile testing laboratory of a fabric dyeing company producing materials for the fashion industry. I carried out routine tests on dyed batches such as shrinkage, colour fastness etc.

We then set up a laboratory dyeing section matching customer shades to provide bulk dyeing recipes. This side of things grew and I was eventually made laboratory manager, looking after 3 shifts of laboratory workers. Whilst working here I studied and passed my degree in Textile Studies. I was made redundant in 1998 when the company went into liquidation and within 2 weeks was employed by Woodnook Bleaching & Dyeing Company, which was part of Hilden Manufacturing Ltd. Woodnook was the fabric dyeing division of Hilden producing bleached/dyed table linen and bed linen fabrics.

My role at Woodnook began as laboratory manager, setting up a laboratory dyeing operation and implementing new sample dyeing technology. I was then promoted to technical manager, which involved managing the dye house. This included production scheduling, writing/improving dyeing programmes for the machines, controlling dyestuff/chemical purchasing and general management of the people and processes in the dye house to ensure the best efficiency and maximum output.

Hilden eventually shut down its dyeing and weaving operations at which point I became more product quality focused. Production was transferred to a mill in Egypt and I spent a lot of time in Egypt helping to set up the dyeing and quality control of our products, to generally pushing production through. Hilden faltered and was acquired by Vision Support Services. This opened up more opportunities and I got involved in helping to write and implement ISO procedures which was a great platform for getting to grips with business operations. My role at Vision has basically grown from there, picking up knowledge and experience up on the way to bring me to my current position.

What’s your role within Vision?

My role in Vision as the Operations Director is to oversee the operations side of the business which includes Purchasing, Logistics, Warehouse & Distribution, Assurance & Compliance and our overseas office operations in India, China and Pakistan. This encompasses management of company processes and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose and adhered to across the various operations functions to give optimum results.

What inspired you to get into the role you’re in now?

Inspiration came through the desire to better myself from a personal performance aspect and to improve wherever possible the way things are done across the business.

What challenges have you faced?

Requirements of the role are many and varied and new challenges arise on almost a daily basis. Ongoing development and implementation of new/revised processes is always a challenge, especially as the business continues to grow. The way we go about our business has to be done with scalability in mind.

A particular challenge at present is to oversee the implementation of a new warehouse management system alongside assisting with various other IT upgrades including a new CRM system. An ongoing challenge throughout my professional development has been to make the transition from “doing” to “managing” and getting to grips with stepping back from doing the day to day tasks to managing how they are done – looking at the bigger picture rather than the intimate detail.

What advice would you give to a woman starting out? Or what advice do you wish you could give your 17-year old self?

To a woman starting out – be true to who you actually are and don’t try to adapt your personality or do things differently to how you believe they should be done because of your gender. To my 17-year-old self – have faith in your future, listen to good advice and live a little!