A Working Day for Anthony Sotheran

Methods Author

Vehicles and engineering have always been an important part in Anthony's life. It all started from the age of six when he had a go on a quad bike. After plenty of nagging he finally got his first quad bike and loved to drive it around the fields and helping his dad to fix it when it broke. This developed into cars and kit-cars on the field, this involved making and repairing lots of parts.

Anthony spent the early part of his career working with The Mansfield Group recovery service, here is where he learnt a lot about fixing cars and trucks especially the difference between good and bad design on vehicles. Also how frustrating it can be to have a vehicle break down at the most difficult times. After successfully passing his A-Levels, Anthony went on to further his education at Wolverhampton University studying Automotive Engineering Systems. Anthony joined USE* as a Method and techniques author working for a prestigious vehicle manufacturer writing the workshop manuals.

In July 2007 I joined USE* as a graduate, having completed my BEng (Hons) degree in Automotive Systems Engineering at Wolverhampton University.

For my first two months with USE* I worked as a Method and Techniques (M&T) author working on-site at an OEM client performing digital and physical trials for the workshop manual on pre production vehicles. My task was to ensure the workshop manual showed the best and quickest way to remove and install service components.

After two months we moved off-site to a new facility only 2 miles away from the OEM client. This is where I remained until March 2009 when I was asked to move to a new contract at another luxury car manufacturer. When we moved here I was made lead workshop manual author to make sure all procedures were being done accurately.

My role is working as a Technical Author, creating Workshop Manuals and Digital Labour Times for dealerships all over the world. Since starting here I have worked on 7 new vehicles and been a major part in the writing of over 3000 workshop manual procedures. This has included 300 procedures on a 200+ MPH hyper-car done totally digitally. I have also written an entire parts manual and helped with the owners guides; this is good as it means that every day is different.

How it all starts

The alarm goes and I cannot believe it is it to get up already. After the usual morning things I say bye to Karen and my little girl then off to work. Luckily I live approximately 1.2 miles from work, I walk if the weather is good and I get up on time and I have done everything required, so I walk about twice a year. I arrive at work and walk through the entrance past a line of gorgeous heritage vehicles dating from the 1920's to present day this makes me feel part of something special.

Once at my desk I normally start the computer (sometimes successfully) and check my emails. Then I start J*time and look at the procedures that need to be written for the next workshop manual. Next I open Teamcentre and send the CAD data to VisMoc to build a CAD session that I can work from for the next few days.

Next is the most important thing the early morning brew. Then I start to build workshop manual procedures using a mixture of CAD data, contact with design engineers, SRTD (Service Repair Time Database) and GIMP (GNU image manipulation program). I use the CAD data to access the removal & installation of components. CAD is also used to take snapshots to generate workshop manual graphics. Then I write the literature that goes with each graphic in SRTD, each sentence has to be written to strict guide lines called STE (Simplified Technical English). Once I have a complete procedure in SRTD I place the snapshots into GIMP this allows me to illustrate the graphic and make sure it is ready to be published. The graphics and literature are then put together on SRTD were I can then check the procedure to make sure all the points are covered. This is how all of the procedures are built the only other important thing to remember is the brew break at about 8am, 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm.

Lunch starts at 12.30pm till 1pm which is a welcome break from the computer screen and a good opportunity to have some banter with the people I work with. Then its 1pm and back to the desk to complete workshop manual procedures.

It’s not all office based, we also get to work on the cars if complex procedures require validating. This doesn’t come without its risks though, after all we are working on cars that are worth a lot of money, so we have to make sure that our procedures are right first time, every time. Something that has so far, proved to be the case.

It’s hard work but the atmosphere, and opportunities such as a ride out on the test track make it all worthwhile. Plus, I work with a great bunch of people who always lighten my day and have so much knowledge within the automotive field that I’m always learning!

16:30 the end of the day, I lock the computer and go home after another successful day of workshop manual authoring.

Meet Our Team

Jonathan Quaife

Jonathan Quaife

USE* Managing Director
Nick Cook

Nick Cook

USE* Technical and Operations Director

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