Birtley Group: The Next Chapter

Birtley Group: The Next Chapter

As Birtley Group approaches its first birthday in October, Group Managing Director Graeme Miller discusses where things go from here

Q: It’s ten months since the Birtley Group was launched. Have they gone to plan?

GM: Very much so.Our overallobjective as you know was to simplify the way we do business. The new Group structure has allowed us to do that.The two pillars of Birtley Groupare the Birtley and Expamet brands, which complement each other perfectly. Both brands are now represented by a new, combined field sales force which is not only more efficient for our business, it’s also more convenient for customers to have one meeting instead of two.

Q: Any plans to combine the manufacturing facilities of the two brands’ products?

GM: No, definitely not. Both of our sites are centres of excellence in their particular product areas. The thing about change management is that sometimes you have to know what not to change. The Birtley and Expamet brands will retain their own well proven manufacturing facilities and workforces. The specialist expertise and decades of experience behind the individual brands are a unique resource for Birtley Group. Our fantastic people are our most important asset and we value them enormously. If anything, the only change we expect in the foreseeable is to expand the teams at both sites.

Q: Since the Group launch was successfully completed, what has been your management team’s big focus?

GM: I’d say we actually have to two big points of focus – developing the product ranges of our two brands and improving the efficiency of our processes.  As far as products go, we’ve been having on-going conversations with customers, the results of which have been fed into our R&D programme. One major theme has been the implications of future regulations which look like becoming even more technically demanding. For example, the likely drive for greater-than-ever thermal efficiency will come with significant cost implications for builders and specifiers unless we look at product development in completely new ways.

Q: Can you give an example?

GM: We’re planning to make an important announcement on that issue very soon.

Q: And what about processes?

GM: This has been a big story for us – identifying ways to do things quicker and more flexibly without compromising the quality that’s expected of us. The programme has been managed by our new Operations Director Terry Carmichael and it’s already bearing fruit. We’ve seen a very significant reduction in product factory rejects, for example. And, in doors production, we’ve seen a really encouraging boost in productivity.

Q: How do you feelabout the next chapter in the Birtley Group story?

GM: Very optimistic indeed. After some tough years following the banking crash the construction industry in general has been pretty depressed. But now we’re seeing a real upturn across the board, from the urgent residential building programmes up and down the country to the kick-starting of many big commercial investments that have been under wraps. A vibrant construction industry is one of the greatest indicators of a strengthening and confident economy. It’s great for the country, great for jobs and of course it’s great for a business like ours. Everything we’ve done since last October has put Birtley Group in the strongest possible position to answer changing industry demands with innovative new solutions. It’s very exciting to look ahead.

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