The London bubble

Michael Turner, Bohle’s technical sales representative, discusses opportunities in London’s commercial and domestic markets.

I joined Bohle in 2014 from Richard Gent in Wellingborough, where I worked as an estimator. Richard Gent had – and has – a comprehensive product and service offer including UV bonded display cases and furniture, balustrades, balconies, canopies, glass screen, mirrors, showers and splashbacks; everything that you would expect from an established and quality focussed glass processing business.

It works across a lot of different sectors – domestic, hotel fit-out and retail. When I was there retail was pretty big and I worked on a number of projects for Harrods and Selfridges, for the most part working with concessions, supplying displays and UV bonded cases.

That gave me an insight into glass processing, seeing first-hand just how important the right supplier is. You’ve got to have reliability, the right products and the tools to do the job. My time with Richard Gent was really interesting has certainly helped me in my role as technical sales rep for Anglia and the north of London.

I’m not saying that I know it all but I do know what it’s like on the other side of the fence, and I hope that that enables me to talk to my customers on more-or-less the same level because I get what they’re doing day-to-day and how Bohle as a supplier can support them in what they’re trying to achieve.

That supplier-customer relationship is always important but it is going to be more important this year. The wider economic context means that things are going to be a little bit more challenging. The right products can clearly help you to diversify, and having that diversity in what you do generates opportunities.

For example, we have seen a number of glass processors in and around London start to look towards the capital as a source of growth. It remains a real bubble, with a huge amount of commercial investment taking place, particularly in the East End, alongside openings in retail.

These offer some good opportunities to increase the pull through of core product through diversification. Bohle offers a range of hardware products that are designed to give its customers reach into these growth areas.

Frametec, our office partitioning system, fits this bill. It was developed to support glass processors in accessing the growing commercial market

Ideally suited to new build or retrofit markets, the system is configurable as a partial or full partitioning solution. Also, delivering a high level of sound-proofing when used as a floor-to-ceiling system, it delivers significant installation efficiencies.

Commercial and residential balustrading also represents a great secondary market opportunity for glass processors and home improvement businesses – particularly in London, but across the rest of the country too.

We’re seeing some customers access it through a supply only or supply and fit basis – regardless, it pulls more glass through the line.

Our two most popular offers are the modular EasyMount Fix and flexible EasyMount Vario base rail systems, which are fully tested to BS6180:2011.

They’re also both suitable for floor or lateral mounting, supporting fast and easy installation, with the EasyMount Fix accommodating loads of up to 3kN.

These are growth areas in London particularly but also elsewhere. The hotel fit-out sector, particularly higher end installations that perhaps require bespoke work, is also continuing to perform strongly.

My role is to support Bohle customers in accessing these opportunities. For me, having worked in-house and now supplying into glass processors, it’s the level of support that we deliver to our customers that is key to the relationship that we have with them. It’s very much a partnership.