Formed three decades ago employing five people, Albion Valves (UK) Ltd has gone from strength to strength and says it has built an enviable reputation amongst some of the UK’s leading manufacturers.
Founded in Barnsley, South Yorkshire as Albion Distribution Ltd, with a team of five, the company now employs over 40 people, including four of the original members, and is known as Albion Valves (UK) Ltd after a name change in 2012. The business is privately owned and has been managed day to day by two directors who have been responsible for significantly increasing turnover over the last ten years. More recently, Albion has appointed a third director Darren Baxter, who joined the company at 20 years old as a Trainee Commercial Manager, he then became Commercial Manager for a number of years, before being promoted to Commercial Director.
Albion attributes its success to its reputation throughout the industry for providing quality products and excellent customer service, this has enabled the company to build strong relationships with their distribution base. The business also credits its loyal and highly skilled workforce as another contributing factor of its achievements.
The business operates in two sectors, the building services market and the industrial market specifically the process, hydraulic, pneumatic and water industries. From a commercial perspective, Albion’s ability to empathise with its customers and their responsiveness to an ever-changing industry has helped them build a reputation as a preferred supplier partner. The company has also been quick to reinvest in the business. During 2016, Albion invested significantly into its facility in Barnsley enabling them to increase office space to house the ever-increasing number of employees. In 2020, Albion will again increase the size of their office space and warehouse, enabling them to accommodate even more staff, increase stock, introduce new testing facilities and create a brand-new branding room, inevitably improving the level of service that customers receive from Albion.
The company also boasts a comprehensive product range featuring over 5000 lines of commercial valves, suitable for applications predominantly within the building services, process, hydraulic, pneumatic and water industries, which are available to users exclusively from their distribution network. Stock is held in large quantities in Albion’s UK-based warehouse to enable them to fulfil their promise of next-day delivery to their customers. This will also serve them well in the event of a fall out from Brexit when there could be potential delays getting stock to the UK through issues at ports etc, this could affect the whole supply chain and ultimately lead to costly project delays. The company pride themselves on their excellent customer service and their ability to deliver, so taking these precautions means that Albion can continue business as usual throughout this period of uncertainty.
Albion attributes part of its success to the excellent customer service that it provides, none of which would be possible without the loyal, highly skilled and consistent workforce that is employed by them. Many of Albion’s employees have been with the company for ten years or more meaning they have excellent product knowledge and a good understanding of the individual needs of the customers which enables them to provide such a good service.
Due to the steady growth of the company, Albion are always on the lookout for talent to join the team and have recently created and filled two roles to further strengthen their position within the market by offering new services. The first of which is Peter McGrath who has re-joined the company in the newly created position of National Contracts Manager. Peter who was formerly Albion’s Southern Area Sales Manager, has 30 years industry experience, extensive product knowledge and a wealth of technical know-how, complimenting his new role, which sees him assisting our distribution partners by working closely with contractors and consultants on live and upcoming projects. Sanwal Amjed has also joined the team, straight from university, where he obtained a degree in engineering, in another brand-new role at Albion as Material Scheduler / Estimator. He will be a valuable resource to support the network of distributors and their customers and will ensure that Albion’s market leading service levels are witnessed right down the supply chain.
Albion are also keen to recruit and develop young talent, passing skills on to the next generation by offering apprenticeship schemes. To date they have a 100% track record of turning apprenticeships into full time employment, and all former apprentices are still with the business in full-time employment today. Albion offer apprenticeship schemes in all areas of the business including sales, warehousing and export.
As technology is evolving it is having a knock-on effect on the systems being used, how they are being designed and the products used within them. Albion regularly introduce new products to keep their portfolio in line with industry developments, which has seen their range become one of the most comprehensive in the market over recent years.
It is becoming increasingly popular for projects to be designed digitally and as such require Building Information Modeling (BIM) components of valves that can be incorporated into the digital designs. Albion will be introducing BIM components of their core building services product range in early 2020.
The increased demand for BIM components in recent years is due to the governments construction strategy that states the digital build programme will be a primary focus over the coming years. Building specifiers, designers and contractors within the building services sector are frequently using the tools available to digitise the built environment. The uptake of this new technology demonstrates that the industry has recognised the need for a more efficient design and to assist with this need Albion are able to offer their building services product range on bimstore which will improve productivity, reduce waste and costs, not only through the construction phase but for the lifetime of the build. As well as benefits to the construction phase, BIM also offers benefits for maintaining buildings, which include improved awareness of asset locations, especially when it comes to valves and pipework, that are likely to be hidden and not always easily accessible. The asset data allows engineers to determine whether replacement valves are fit for purpose, which will ultimately reduce downtime. Albion’s BIM components will be available to download, free of charge, from www.albionvalvesuk.com and bimstore.
Looking ahead and as part of its growth strategy the business has recently founded and invested in its export business, Albion Valves (International) Ltd, with the specific focus on the Middle Eastern market, creating a dedicated UAE-based sales team and also forged new partnerships with distributors in the region to strengthen growth in response to the increasing building services demand.
Due to their large stock holding in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Albion Valves (International) Ltd is quickly becoming established as a reliable supplier for quality valves throughout the region. The new company will also provide valves to Africa and Southern Asia, and comes as a result of great success experienced by the UK based company, including an increase in export business over recent years.
Albion Valves (International) Ltd has also appointed two UK-based staff, one of which, Joshua Parkinson, has been employed as part of the Albion apprenticeship scheme. The other, Ryan Moore, has many years’ experience in the export market and will be providing Joshua with first-class training within a fast-paced environment. Ryan, Joshua and the rest of the team are continuing to work hard to build relationships with their international customers to give them the level of service that Albion is famous for in the UK.
The last 30 years have been hugely successful for Albion and the next 30 years look favourable too especially with the recent premises expansion, the introduction of new personnel and services which will benefit the whole supply chain, and the opening of their sister company, Albion Valves (International) Ltd.
The company is excited for what the future holds.