Managing Director, Paul Briggs
As a small business, we have invested incredible amounts of time and money in research and development to be the UK’s first kitemark accredited manufacturer for both composite and Upvc storm resistant doors for the domestic market.
Some observers might say the expenditure was too high and a great risk for a company of our size. Indeed, there were times when we had the same thoughts!
So, why did we do this?
The first reason was purely commercial. We wanted products that gave us clear differentiation in the market. Accreditation by the British Standards Institute (BSI) has certainly achieved that and interest in our products is higher with this approval than it would be without.
The second reason was a personal one and of far greater importance to us. It had nothing to do with business strategy, facts or figures, but was about people – the people in our business who have strong values and principles and those who we have a responsibility to when we provide our products. Like any other business, we want to succeed but alongside this, we want to make a difference and the beauty of our work is that we get to do this every day.
Our products are, in the vast majority of cases, fitted to the homes of ordinary, hard-working people, whose greatest asset, their properties, have been seriously damaged by flooding and whose lives have been made a misery. When you have seen the absolute devastation and stress this causes families, it is hard not to want to do all you can to help re-build their lives and protect them from this ever happening again.
These people are looking for reassurance at such an uncertain time and it allows them peace of mind that the foremost independent accreditation body in the UK has tested and approved our products.
Our journey has not been an overnight success. We have fought our way out of the recession by sheer grit, determination, identifying a gap in the market and developing a product that reflects our business ethics of being a responsible manufacturer. We will under no circumstances cut corners to save money and make additional profits, to do that would be playing with peoples’ wellbeing and perhaps even their lives.
In times of austerity, organisations feel pressurised to make cuts and we have, in the last year, all witnessed the disastrous consequences and loss of lives as a result. Any product that is being used, not just doors, needs to be of the highest standard. We cannot allow finances to dictate the quality of products, it simply isn’t acceptable nor is it excusable. How many times do we have to see devastation on the news before we say enough is enough? Decisions ruled by finances to procure inferior products have long lasting consequences that go beyond financial repercussions.
There can be no corners cut when it comes to safety! We have worked around the clock to achieve a BSI kitemark and have been subject to vigorous independent testing at a BSI facility in Hertfordshire. Our manufacturing plant is assessed for the quality of the production of the product which is continued up to twice a year.
Failure was never an option. Our products are the best in the marketplace and we truly believe in what we are trying to achieve. This, along with a heavy dose of sheer determination allowed us to stay with the process despite setbacks we faced along the way. We are passionate in our stance that products being supplied to protect against fire or floods should be kitemark accredited. The consequences of this not being so are not worth thinking about.
Our frustration is that if we, a small manufacturing company in the North East of England, will not compromise cost for quality, why is it that other, much larger organisations, are prepared to do so?
We will continue on our path and our company story speaks for itself. At the heart of our business, we are people who want to help other people. We are where we are because we have at no point rushed or compromised ourselves. Patience and careful research, alongside well developed products and financial investment is key to building consumer trust. It is this that will make you successful – and sleep easy at night – not cutting costs.