What we have learnt over the last few years, is that many events have had, and continue to have, an impact on the way we live and do business. In light of all this, Sales Director Andy Green says it’s “all systems go” at Selecta, explaining the planned systematic approach to future proofing the business and the benefits of using a family and independently owned, UK based PVCu systems company.
There have been plenty of highs and lows within our industry over the last few years and there certainly seems to be further challenges ahead for all, from both a business and consumer point of view. The majority of the industry have experienced increased and record sales, which in-turn has led to many discussions anticipating when the bubble would burst. There is no doubt that the current bout of ‘party’ politics, inflation and soaring costs will have an impact on some within our industry.
So, how well prepared are you, your business and your key suppliers?
For Selecta, the continued success of the last few years have enabled ourselves to invest further within the business and bring forward expansion and improvement plans. The objective being, to provide a strong and solid business for all of our customers and employees for years to come.
We’ve strengthened and further improved our extrusion facility, it’s capabilities and capacities. New and replacement extrusion lines have been installed, improving production quality, facilities and output. New tools and dies have been purchased for key product lines, again improving quality and capabilities. New silos have increased raw material storage and increased end product storage space enables more bar length material stock holding.
We have seen an additional new high speed lamination machine installed, with investment in staff recruitment increasing the number of shifts within the area. This has increased coloured profile stock holdings, as colour continues to grow. A business restructure has seen the lamination area benefitting from increased profile storage space.
Transport and logistics has also seen large investments in its infrastructure. New trucks have been added to our fleet and our recruitment drive has seen us almost double the number of drivers on our books, providing ourselves with far greater flexibility when it comes to delivery options. There are also a further three brand new trucks on order, which with the current situation of delivery timescales, will be arriving in the new year.
Our marketing support has gone from strength-to-strength with an array of new brochures, materials and literature, whilst a new Selecta website is just on the horizon. This will be further supported by a homeowner based website, together with a find a fabricator / installer function to further support our customers and used as a sales generation tool. We also have another innovative feature up our sleeve, again with the aim of supporting and strengthening our relationship with our customer base further.
Connect, our online customer support portal is currently undergoing a re-vamp with some exciting new features being added. This will enable customers to ‘stay connected’ at all times, thus developing our communication channels.
It’s these kind of developments and investments that demonstrate our continued commitment to strengthening our position in the market, whilst providing a range of quality products, service and support package that customers expect. Being family and independently owned has meant that we could re-invest and expand areas within the business quickly – no backwards and forwards with a huge board of directors, shareholders or investors! Being a UK based extrusion and distribution systems company has also taken away the logistics and complexities of dealing outside of the UK! Why am I telling you all of this? Putting it quite simply and as you know, your supply chain is an extension of your business. They fail, you fail. Whether that’s product, service or support related, your supplier is a reflection of you and your business. In good and bad times you need to be able to rely on and trust your suppliers. At Selecta we believe we have future proofed the business, for the benefit of our customers and employees. At Selecta, it’s all systems go…
Irrespective of how good a products qualities are, what has been very evident over the last couple of years is that customer service, support and care remains as important as ever. In this ‘behind the scenes’ feature at Selecta Systems, Marketing Manager Mark Walker, provides you with a candid insight in to the marketing department at the Birmingham based PVCu window and door systems company.
Speaking from a very recent personal experience of purchasing a new car from a dealership. There is nothing more frustrating than buying a quality product, of which I am extremely satisfied with, to be somewhat disappointed in the lack of communication and support that you would truly expect to compliment that purchase. It sours the purchase and relationship.
Although this is different in the terms of it being a B2C experience, rather than B2B, the principles and perception surrounding customer expectations beyond the sale of the product remains. As consumers, many of us will value our involvement with a brand or company purchase, not just solely on the product that we buy, but on the whole customer experience.
At Selecta, we see marketing support as an integral and essential part of that after sales support service. Ensuring that we meet the individual requirements and expectations of a window and door fabrication and/or installation business is key.
Marketing and Customer Support
Heading up Marketing and Customer Support is Donna O’Reilly, who’s bubbly, energetic and friendly approach helps to build strong relationships with potential and existing customers. All online, email and telephone requests from fabricators, installers and homeowners are managed and actioned by Donna, providing a vital service of managing and vetting all sales leads that come in to the business.
Donna also collates a wealth of data to assist in the support of existing and potential business, whilst also providing a range of product and sales reports to the sales director and myself for marketing strategies and plans to be drawn up. These reports provide vital information to aid the continuous development of our marketing support package and services to ensure that we continue to meet our customer’s needs.
We recognise that marketing support goes beyond just the supply of a quality product brochures, information sheets and guides. Combined with the information at hand and the uniqueness and flexibility of the business, it means that the whole marketing support and service package doesn’t stop at just supplying a few brochures!
Creative and Design Service
From a marketing and PR perspective, everything that we create, design and write is done so in-house at Selecta, personally by myself. Whilst external marketing and PR resources work for a variety of businesses, it’s something that Selecta have moved away from for a variety of reasons. The decision was made in early 2014 to build, embrace and develop the skills from within the business. What this has meant is that we have been able to provide a very flexible, unique and personal marketing support service and experience.
For me personally, this means no two days are ever the same! One day I could be designing and creating a brand-new logo for a new customer who has come on board and wants to freshen up their image, then I could then be receiving a design brief from an existing customer who would like graphics designing for his new installation / delivery van. I could then be invited in to a technical meeting where a new fact sheet, guide or booklet is required for customers or a customer may contact me, requiring help with their social media presence, posts and activities!
I’ve worked on an array of customer specific and bespoke projects over the years, like, branded flags, company signs, A boards, posters, vinyl banners, roller banners, videos, stickers, workwear, adverts etc. and even designed wall graphics for customer showrooms! The list of projects is varied, and I’ve often said to customers that if we can do it, we will, but if we can’t, we will tell you… no matter how diverse the request!
The majority of the creative and design work is carried out using the Adobe Creative Suite of software titles. Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop being the most used software with Premier Pro and After Effects excellent for video productions. This creative and design element of the role is exciting and ticks a big box for some, where they do not have access to these skills within their own business. We’ve opened up the whole customer experience, so that they can utilise our in-house skills and resources to assist their business. We recognise that their success is our success.
The Digital Age
What is now apparent, is that we are now well and truly entrenched in the digital age and these last couple of years has undoubtedly transformed buying habits. Enhanced websites, interactive product designers and ordering systems, lead generation tools, customer support portals and social media presence are now more of a must, than just fancy like-to-have luxuries. Digital marketing and on-line solutions now undeniably form part of any forward-thinking businesses marketing plans and truly within our realms of support. Our assistance already extends to social media, website creation, lead generation and Connect, our customer support portal.
We provide a website package, where the fabricator / installer can have a themed and readymade website where they can add their logo, colour theme, contact details and about us info. This is an excellent quick, simple and effective way of having a brand-new website up and running in next to no time.
Furthermore, behind the scenes, I have been creating, designing and building two brand new websites. Firstly, a new revamped and fresh Selecta Systems website that is responsive, informative and easy to navigate. This is supported by a completely new homeowners’ website, full of consumer-based information and a Find a Fabricator / Installer function, a simple and effective lead generation tool for our customers.
Our existing site generates a large volume of homeowner leads per week, of which we pass on to our customers. The new websites lead generation capture and reporting functions will provide a far more slicker and sleeker platform for consumers, whilst the planned homeowner inspired digital marketing campaigns will push further traffic to the website. There are also arrangements for further website and on-line add-ons to enhance the homeowner experience and support our customers further, with the intention of generating additional sales leads.
It’s very difficult to provide an all-encompassing behind the scenes insight in to our marketing support and services, as it’s evolving all the time as we focus on providing a unique, personal and extensive marketing service and support package. It’s all about providing the perfect mix to strengthen and enhance the whole customer journey.