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Flexibility within the UK

Shropshire-based showering solutions manufacturer, Coram Group UK, has found that flexibility is a key advantage for UK manufacturers. Group sales director Liam Ryan looks at the benefits of bespoke manufacturing and large contract support for builders’ merchants.

The UK has a long and illustrious manufacturing history. From engineering to textiles, products designed and manufactured in the UK have gained worldwide recognition for innovation and quality. In 2015, UK manufacturing employed 2.6m people and figures show the UK’s manufacturing output as 8th highest in the world, at a value of $245bn.

In today’s market purchasing decisions are not made on price alone, with many other factors coming into consideration: availability, quality, choice and personalisation of product are all important. This is leading savvy UK manufacturers to find innovative ways to win business.

Builders’ merchants want to offer products that are well-made, reliable, easy to install and cost effective; whether that be to an individual plumber or a large housing developer. At Coram Group, we have found that offering flexibility within both our services and the products that we design and produce is beneficial to merchants, who can pass these advantages on to their customers

Bespoke manufacturing
Builders’ merchants and their staff have huge influence over their customers’ purchasing decisions. Recent market research carried out by Coram revealed that when obtaining a shower enclosure for a private home, 51% of installers would purchase from a builders’ merchant, while the decision on which product to buy would be influenced by the merchant up to 30% of the time.

The symbiotic relationship between manufacturer and merchant means that merchants can quickly and easily benefit from changes in the market identified by manufacturer demand. The increasing numbers of extensions moving into attics, lofts, basements and garages mean that showering spaces are increasingly being created in awkward locations, where steep roof angles, trusses, reduced ceiling heights and awkward shaped rooms won’t accommodate standard sized enclosures or panels.

Coram has seen its sales of bespoke, made-to-measure units shoot-up, as merchants can order bespoke enclosures, bath screens or glass panels which are angled, reduced height, extra height, reduced width, extra width or notch cut. In addition, a number of glass finishes are available including satin, mirrored and coloured variants. The company offers a wide variety of bespoke products made to order in four to five weeks.

Large contract support
When quoting for or dealing with large contracts, every business strives to offer the best possible service. The manufacturer support needed in these situations, including high-volume and composite pricing enquiries, can be complicated and extensive.

Coram’s contract support division for large merchant accounts and complex contracts supplies a variety of clients who order high volumes or have intricate service needs. As a UK-based manufacturer with well-managed stock levels, Coram can quickly and reliably supply high-quality volume orders.

Headed up by Phil Cox, group business development manager, the contract division is able to offer fast responses and high-quality service, but also by following-through on the company’s ethos of flexibility.

Coram’s market research identified that merchants were valued in the industry for their ability to offer advice and pass on product knowledge. By establishing the contract division, Coram is ensuring that merchants and their staff can continue to meet the specific needs of their larger customers.

Contrary to popular belief, British manufacturing is thriving. Adaptability and flexibility are of vital importance in today’s market. Reacting to the changing needs of customers and consumers by being flexible in both product offering and service proposition, will ensure that British manufacturing continues to flourish.

Sep 1, 2016