What is the mantra that is always drummed into every business person, especially those involved in capital equipment sales? It’s all about the relationship and long-term relationships are the key to building future business. It’s a massive influencing factor in winning new customers as well as keeping existing customers.
When that association extends to more than 25 years, it transcends the usual person-to-person relationship and becomes a company-to-company alliance based on mutual trust and values.
Gary Tootell, managing director of Richmond Cabinets reflects those principles in his own business. “We bought our first Biesse machine in the mid 1970s. It was a second-hand drilling machine and we ran it for over 30 years. Biesse were renowned for drilling machines and as they grew, we grew with them.”
Since those early days Richmond has bought several Biesse solutions, including one of the first Insider drilling and assembly lines to be installed in the UK.
By way of background, the Richmond Cabinet Company is an established, privately-owned family business renowned for the quality of its superior kitchens.
Since its establishment in 1987, with roots dating back to the mid 1940s, Richmond has grown a solid reputation as a provider to the specific needs of the contract kitchen market, supplying specialist ranges for the public housing sector, private developer market and trade merchants. Richmond also produces a Studio Living Accommodation range of products designed to provide functional and durable living spaces without compromising on style.
“The key for us is flexibility,” explains Gary, “Our business has gone through several transformations over the past 40 years or so. Like most people, we’ve ridden a roller coaster ride and the critical thing now is to be able to provide our customers with as much product diversity as possible in an efficient and timely way. Most of what we do is relationship based and we understand the value of those relationships with our suppliers.”
Richmond has the ability to mass produce panels and furniture as well as the more flexible batch one approach.
“We purchased our first Biesse Selco saw in 1997 which is still running strong today, shortly followed by a Selco angle plant and latterly a Rover B nesting cell. Now we have a full capability. We can cut, edge and drill for high volume production runs, as well as nest for small to medium production runs.”
Factory manager James Blackburn, also explains that the purchase of a Skipper 130 throughfeed NC boring machine has had a remarkable impact on the business.
“We now drill to order,” enthuses James. “We have improved our efficiency massively by reducing our levels of stock whilst still maintaining high levels of customer service with short lead times. We can manufacture 35,000 panels per week, as well as 1500 flat-pack and 2500 assembled units.
“Biesse’s optimisation software has also helped us to reduce material waste, both on the nesting cell and the beamsaws, but the main benefit is the flexibility which the machines give us.”
Gary continues: “The reasons why we chose and stay with Biesse are many and varied. Nothing is ever perfect, but the sign of good service is how fast things are fixed when they go wrong. Biesse have always delivered in that respect.
“It’s also about the people and culture. Biesse go that extra mile and listen to what we want and then help us to achieve it. They even modified a machine to make it do what we wanted which has definitely influenced our production techniques.
“We are a medium-sized business and any investment we make needs to be justified and absolutely demonstrate value for money. We have confidence in Biesse’s machines and in recent years, this confidence has been further enhanced by their five year warranty and service package.
“We bought our first new machine in 1995, which was a Biesse Techno boring and insertion machine and we have expanded this to include cutting and routing.
“As a business we’ve been through a few ups and downs, but the Biesse team have been with us every inch of the way. They are reliable and dependable, giving us the business confidence which helps us succeed in a highly competitive market.”