In January this year, Nick Horton, previously Sales Director for Westco, took over the reins as the company’s new MD. Here, Nick outlines his thoughts on the business and his plans for 2015.
It’s a great privilege to take over as Managing Director at Westco. Prior to this appointment I’d been with the company in my role as Sales Director for over a year — although I’ve known the business for a good 30 years. I’m also fortunate to have worked closely with outgoing MD Neil Johnston, who left the company after 18 years to spend more time with his family. I think it’s fair to say that Neil cemented Westco’s reputation for providing the highest quality service and products during his time in charge.
As Sales Director, I was able to appreciate first-hand what has kept Westco at the forefront of the UK heating and plumbing market for over forty years. I also had the opportunity to meet many of our customers and get to grips with what matters to them; namely our people, our service and the quality and range of our products.
There’s no doubt that our industry has been squeezed over recent years. However, the fact that Westco remained profitable, continued to invest and retained a focus on quality during a long, painful recession is testament to the strength of our business and Neil’s leadership.
But this is a time to look ahead, and we’re gearing up for a big year at Westco. While things are not going to change overnight, for me, the focus is on improving and evolving our business.
We retain, of course, our commitment to continuous development. We have already improved our next day delivery service with email notifications on dispatch to ensure our customers know as soon as their consignment leaves our warehouse. In addition, to make ordering from Westco as straightforward as possible, we’ll soon be launching a new product guide, website and full e-commerce service which will allow customers to order directly through our website.
As well as more streamlined ordering, we’re also adding to our ever–growing range of over 5,500 product lines and I’m particularly excited about introducing Pipeloc to our offer.
Exclusive to Westco, Pipeloc combines high-quality plastic pipe with innovative push-fit and twist lock fittings in an end-to-end piping system. With plastic pipe and fittings growing in popularity, Pipeloc is lightweight, durable and safe to install; making it suitable for an extensive range of plumbing applications. WRAS approved and made with BS Kitemark approved materials, it’s yet another addition to our range of accredited products and with a 25-year warranty is guaranteed to meet the needs of modern installers and their customers.
In addition to improving service levels, introducing new product lines and doing our bit to raise the standards of our industry, my personal focus over the next year will be on building partnerships with our customers. Product innovation comes from collaboration and understanding what our stockists want to supply to their customers. Continuing this partnership approach, we plan to reach out to our stockists to see how we can help them to maximise revenue for their own businesses through sales and marketing support.
By working closely with customers and adding value to the service we provide, Westco will continue to be a great partner for our stockists. Just as importantly, I believe we’ll continue to raise the bar for product development across our entire industry.