An article written for GGP Magazine, April 2018.
In this report for Glass and Glazing Products, John King - National Sales Manager for Carl F Groupco , explains how the company’s advisory service includes taking a detailed brief and working with customers to ensure the best solution for their application.
“We sell hardware across a range of sectors including retail, trade, new build and commercial and all our customers have very specific, individual needs.
We know that, when supplying hardware, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. This philosophy is backed by a catalogue of over 7,000 product lines from leading manufacturers that enables us to mix and match solutions. With one of the largest ranges of big brand hardware names, we hold over £3 million of stock and almost 1.9 million components available for next day delivery.
It would be easy to assume that we have enough on our hands with stock control and that we simply respond to orders. There are occasions when a repeat order is needed or the enquirer knows exactly what they want. However, there are many instances when hardware purchasers need assistance regarding products, standards or specification issues.
Addressing this, we ensure that we aren’t just order takers. We take care to fully understand the products that we supply and we work closely with our manufacturer suppliers to keep informed of latest technology updates – this is backed by regular training. This depth of knowledge goes across our organisation.
We are also members of influential industry organisations including the Council of Aluminium Building (CAB) and Secured by Design – this give us access to the most up-to-date industry standards advice, which helps us to fully support our customers in responding to their brief. As part of our management and consulting services we also offer guidance on Document Q, Secured by Design and PAS 24, in conjunction with hardware and profile manufacturers.
Practical, pragmatic advice:
We believe in offering practical, pragmatic advice and our sales and technical support teams’ experience
spans production management, installation and service skills. As a result, we are in a very strong position to understand the needs of our customers and we constantly draw on our practical knowledge to provide our considered recommendations. And, if we are responding to a design and build requirement, we use the expertise of our full team and gain input from our suppliers.
When it comes to taking a brief, we regularly meet face-to-face to get a full picture of the order requirements. Personal relationships are important and we work with customers to fully understand their needs and scope of the installation to offer products with suitable accreditation. With distribution facilities in Peterborough and Cumbernauld in Scotland plus a network of Regional Sales Managers, our support is national and this has recently extended to encompass the whole of Ireland. However, you can rest assured that service isn’t compromised over the phone ……. our internal sales team is equally adept at understanding requirements.
No corners cut
We don’t cut any corners and our service is backed by a CRM system – benefits include real-time reporting and full historical data available to all members of the account handling team. This means that customers don’t have to go through the tedious process of starting afresh every time they contact us – at the click of a button we can call up their full order history.
As the supplier, we are more than happy to travel to customers to meet them at their convenience but equally, visitors are welcome at our UK warehouse, distribution and administration centre in Peterborough. Of particular interest is our fully interactive showroom for SmartSecure that displays our electronic locking and Smart access control solutions. The facility, which is part of an investment of over £100,000 in SmartSecure, showcases all access control options.
The showroom features eight fully electronic doors and a demonstration area which confirms the simplicity of hardware selection and installation. Aluminium, composite, PVCu and timber doors are represented, and a separate area for training is provided where we illustrate how easy it is to prepare a door and fit the hardware.
Key to how we set ourselves apart is our ability to assess the hardware brief to provide bespoke packages. We work as an extension of our customers’ teams and liaise closely, becoming their trusted advisors. And knowing that time is of the essence, particularly with new build tenders, we work fast to increase sales opportunities.
In summary, when it comes to hardware supply, at Carl F Groupco we pride ourselves in offering a holistic, consultancy service which translates to practical solutions that take account of the bigger picture regarding accreditation and standards requirements.”