The task faced by today's electrical wholesaler is by no means an easy one. Growing environmental concerns, the current economic climate and ever-changing regulations, have made it even more important for wholesalers to provide their customers with easy access to the newest and smartest innovations. In order to meet this demand in the most competitive way, it can be all too easy to make price the deciding factor when choosing a product. However, the quality and safety of any goods can only be ensured by going back to the start - guaranteeing raw materials and manufacturing processes are not just effective, but completely ethical. Here Steve Havell from Newey & Eyre, talks through his recent visit to the Far East in search of lighting solutions
China is just one of the countries we have visited to seek out the best solutions for our customers and we have years of experience working closely with many of the world's leading manufacturers. We regularly investigate all the latest groundbreaking technologies from suppliers, as well as their manufacturing processes and ethics - ensuring they meet our high, exacting standards.
Investigating innovation - research and development
Innovation is the watchword for the modern electrical wholesaler. At Newey & Eyre, we are fully committed to remaining at the forefront of technology and constantly trying to improve our offering. So, we take time to look at all the products our manufacturers have in the pipeline, so we know what they will be bringing to market over the coming months.
"During a recent visit to China, I also attended the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair - one of the world's leading exhibitions when it comes to experiencing the latest green solutions. The event showcases the latest lighting ranges from the world's top quality brands - providing an insight into which products will be coming into the UK.
Ethical product lifecycle and quality assurance
As we are all aware, the continued outbreak of cheap, counterfeit, products created from substandard components remains a major problem for the UK electrical market. Looking at new lighting technologies, for example, counterfeit options tend to carry a risk of a shorter lamp or projector life and, worse still, can even represent a danger to users. To guarantee consistent quality, we demand rigorous product testing and packaging procedures are in place, ensuring only top quality products leave the factory.
Subsequently, there is the delivery process to consider. It is imperative to ensure this is managed effectively and procedures are in place to enable full traceability. For example, some more unscrupulous manufacturers may attempt to supplement the volume of good quality products with substandard goods, so thorough analysis is crucial.
Health and safety in the factory is imperative and as wholesalers, we have a responsibility to ensure products are manufactured in a safe working environment.
As a starting point, asking a senior representative at the factory to demonstrate the sort of checks they have in place to help maintain the globally recognised standard ISO9000 certification is key. This measures an organisation's quality management and covers all major processes. This includes monitoring systems to ensure they are keeping adequate records, as well as regularly reviewing individual procedures and the quality system itself for effectiveness.
Employee welfare and training
Working for a company that takes corporate social responsibility very seriously, we always have an active interest in the employee welfare at our manufacturers' facilities. The best approach is to explore the company culture and work ethic, as well as training programmes and staff benefits, to examine how effectively they are passed onto employees. We also request to see the staff canteen and accommodation, speaking to as many employees as possible along the way to see things from their perspective.
Another good indicator for a contented workforce is to look at the employee relationships, how leaders manage their team, ownership of the equipment and the general morale. After all, a good team spirit typically denotes a good working environment and, in turn, a good quality end-product.
From factory floor to market
Just as we utilise product literature and the internet to promote our product offering to customers, manufacturers also see the internet as a big opportunity to grow their business. Although informative websites act as universal tools for us to seek out new producers, it is the responsibility of wholesalers to look further into a company's credentials and take steps to verify their claims.
While it's important to see how the manufacturers bring their own products to market, it's also crucial to understand how they ensure the products are delivered to us. This gives us confidence to guarantee quality products are delivered on time and as promised, to our customers back in the UK.
Working together for a brighter future
Sustainable success cannot be achieved by one company alone. The future of our planet must be tackled on a global scale, with all countries coming together to discover and support the efforts of the most promising manufacturers, innovators and individuals, so we can accelerate the transition towards a sustainable world. By approaching this in a truly ethical and effective way, we as wholesalers can build solid working methods today, which may make all difference in the future.