The key to sustainability
Never has it more important to choose your suppliers with care, believes Dave Broxton, MD at Bohle.
Consolidation was a key theme for 2023, as changing trends and reduced cash flow caused some companies – both big and small – to cease trading.
Every year companies go to the wall, Bohle’s managing director Dave Broxton argues, but little is said about customers who are often left high and dry.
“Choosing suppliers is not a clear-cut process,” Dave says. “No matter how much you want to keep them at arm’s length, you end up working very closely with those companies that ultimately underpin your own offering.
“Yes, sometimes that relationship will simply be about finding a company that will supply what will become a SKU on your database. At other times that relationship can help define your own identity. And I would argue that the glass and glazing industry is more about the latter rather than the former.”
Bohle turned 100 in 2023, and Dave explains that part of its longevity is down to understanding the importance of relationships, and developing sustainable partnerships with customers.
“At every step of its journey since it was established in 1923, Bohle has constantly re-evaluated its offering to ensure it remains relevant to customers’ needs,” he says. “Those companies that fall by the wayside will most likely have cut prices, leaving less capital for investment, thus painting themselves into a corner with regards to product offering.”
Bohle’s approach to staying one step ahead of demand is part of its strategy to be self-sufficient and sustainable, Dave says.
“Today, we are not just a distributor of glass hardware. We are now a manufacturer of glass hardware with our own brands, our own R&D, and our own designs.
“That means as a supply partner we have stability running through the Bohle brand, which allows our customers to benefit from our core values.”
Sustainability is one area where Bohle invested heavily. For example, from 2024, the company’s manufacturing site in Haan in Germany will generate the majority of its energy via solar power, thanks to a substantial photovoltaic installation. The company has also improved the efficiency of its operations and upgraded its insulation so there is less overall pressure on energy usage.
“Combine this with the high quality of the products we produce, which means products or components need replacing less often, and the embodied energy in what we supply is incredibly low,” Dave says.
“And the fact that we produce much more of what we supply in-house, means we have greater control over who we employ and the standards they are trained to. This helps us to guarantee the quality of our products, such as our prestigious shower hardware.
“We can still give you expert advice on things like UV bonding, suction lifters, glass cutting,” he continues. “Customers trust Bohle because we always give them the best advice. They can call, speak to anyone and know that the answer that they will get to any question will be accurate and in that way they can progress their business, too.
“But Bohle continues to adapt and change to market requirements, because this is part of what it means to be sustainable. And when our customers put their trust in the Bohle brand, they can use it to underpin their own offering.
“It’s a strategy that has worked well for the last 100 years, and I’m sure it’ll keep us thriving for the next 100,” Dave concludes.