A Working Day for Deryck Corless

Owner Handbook Author

Deryck left university in 1995 and started working for a small engineering firm as a CAD draftsman and general office support.

He began his career in the automotive industry in 2000 when he joined Visteon in Essex, as an Applications Engineer working on in-car audio and multimedia, supporting Ford and other automotive OEMs. Since then he has worked in a few different roles locally, finally joining the team he works with today in 2006 as an Owner Information Author. His time with the team was initially under contract to the Serco Group, but he is now with the USE* team as of January 2009.

My working day begins at 7:45 am when I leave home for the short commute to the office at our client’s Product Development site. I am lucky enough to go against most of the rush hour traffic which is London-bound at that time of the day!

I join my colleagues in the Owner Handbook Team and after exchanging hellos, one of the first tasks is to see what has landed in my Outlook inbox (I suspect most office based staff do this). During busy periods when working on a particular vehicle program for our client, I will often have responses from various engineering contacts who are mostly based in mainland Europe and tend to start earlier in the day than UK staff. Coupled with the UK/Central European time difference, it’s not uncommon to have feedback waiting for me upon arrival at my desk.

There are three or four basic forms of work involved in our area as authors. Depending on the phase of a given vehicle programme, this may either be biased towards creating graphics for the owner handbook, or more towards text. More often than not however, it will be a combination of both. Every Monday morning our team of four have a weekly meeting to review the general status of our individual programmes and to share information about things in general that will affect us. This normally lasts for 30 -45 minutes but has been known to run to over an hour on occasions. We are quite a small team who work together very closely; I’m happy to report communication amongst us is good in general.

A large part of our working day, when we are not directly creating text documents or graphics, is programme research. This can take many different forms whether it is graphics-based research (where we spend time building up 3D models of a vehicle in CAD, analysing the impact this will have upon the owner guide), or reading and investigating our client’s source material on forthcoming launches and vehicle updates.

New technologies and innovations are always a challenge for us, as these may often be industry firsts or have never been available on mainstream passenger cars before. Recently, I have been working on a major refresh to the a vehicle carline due for launch in February 2010. There are to be a few new features introduced with this programme that have never been available before from our client’s product range. My job is to liaise with the engineering development team to gain a thorough understanding of these systems and their implementation into the vehicle.

We then co-author the necessary information to enable the customer to understand and use these new features. Communication with engineering helps us make sure that we present the information in a concise and clear way. It’s quite normal that an effort such as this may involve three or four different engineers and people from various different teams, all independently reviewing several drafts before the final document is agreed upon and signed off.

Timing can be an issue in such cases and we have a struggle at times to meet the milestones and deadlines needed to fulfil translation and printing lead times, but then this is all part of the challenge!

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