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The Graeme Miller interview

The Graeme Miller interview

Group Managing Director Graeme Miller discusses the formation of Birtley Group and the opportunities ahead

Q: Why did you take the step of forming Birtley Group?

GM: It was a natural first step of our strategy to deliver ambitious growth plans. Birtley Group allows us to formalise the on-going relationship between our existing businesses Birtley Supergalv brand Lintels, Bowater Doors, Birtley Galvanizing and our most recent acquisition Expamet. All our Group product ranges will now go forward together under the iconic Birtley and Expamet brand banners.

Q: Hy-Rib formwork and BAT windposts and masonry support are highly respected and widely specified. What future do you plan for these two brands?

GM: Both ranges are of course immensely important to the future of Birtley Group. To make our brand portfolio clearer and simpler, however, these two great names will now continue as sub-brands sitting beneath the main Expamet brand banner.

Q: What advantages will consolidation into Birtley Group bring?

GM: The obvious benefits that customers will see very quickly is the way we will now be able to market our combined Group products more effectively than ever before, giving customers across the UK even higher levels of sales and technical support. Group status will also allow us to expand both organically and indeed via acquisition as opportunities present themselves.

Q: You have long relationships with a number of big and influential customers. What has been their reaction to the new Group structure?

GM: Overwhelmingly positive. They know that our growth strategy is based on Strength Through Quality. And if anything, our new status has further cemented our customer relationships – they’re eager to see fresh thinking in the marketplace with innovative product solutions alongside our long established ones. They know that Birtley Group has the will, the vision and above all the resources to deliver that next generation of products.

Q: Are you planning any changes to your well established product ranges?

GM: Our ranges are highly successful and the only changes we’re planning is to expand our offering by investing in new product development and new production facilities. Basically we aim to give the market a lot more of a good thing.

Q: As one Group will you continue to operate your two separate production sites?

GM: Very much so. Both of our sites are centres of excellence in their particular product areas. The fantastic skills and experience of all our people remains right at the heart of our growth strategy. If anything we’re looking to grow our teams further with new team members.

Q: A key factor in your business success to date has been the quality and commitment of your suppliers. What have you been saying to them about the changes?

GM: Our message is simple – it’s business as usual, only more so. Our growth plans are ambitious and, of course, our success becomes our suppliers’ success. When it comes to new product development we’ll be collaborating closely with supplier companies to bring world-class technologies to market. On a practical note, our day- to-day relationships and terms of business won’t change, so our suppliers can look forward to complete continuity.

Q: Birtley Group is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hill & Smith plc. Tell us about the significance of that

GM: The growth strategy underpinning Birtley Group is based on shaking up the marketplace with more innovation, more added value and higher-than-ever levels of customer support – both in sales and technical. All these things take more than know-how and commitment to deliver in the real world – they also need a strong foundation to ensure consistency. Hill & Smith has revenues of over £400 million and a board that believes firmly in everything Birtley Group stands for. This backing ensures that we have the all-important stability and critical mass to drive truly ambitious growth plans.

Q: With the new Group now launched, what are your personal feelings about the future?

GM: We have such great people and great products across the Birtley Group it’s impossible not to feel a real buzz for the future. The excitement right now is palpable. Personally, I’m looking forward to remembering October 2014 as the pivotal point when a new, game-changing chapter began for our business – with everyone involved inside and outside Birtley Group enjoying more success than ever before.