Superior support as Interroll UK moves to larger premises
19 September 2013
Interroll moved to new, larger and more modern premises, while remaining in the Kettering area in mid August. The site offers increased office and storage accommodation, as well as additional space to expand its motorised drum service department and showrooms. The company held an Open Day in September to show customers around the new facility.
The primary objective is to bolster Interroll’s capability to provide support and after sales service to meet the needs of the UK market.
Managing director Chris Middleton says: "If we want to continue to be recognised as the UK’s leading company in this sector, we need to be sure our customers can count on us day and night, for solutions beyond the call of duty in terms of quality of products and service.”
For example, should motor failure occur on conveyor systems this results in expensive downtime. To tackle this, the new facility has a dedicated service department with repair workshop and comprehensive stocks of spares in order for us to support Interroll’s customers 24/7 throughout the UK.
This reduces the need for customers to hold expensive stocks of spare parts while ensuring they maintain constant and efficient internal productivity levels.
The new facility shows a strong commitment to the UK market, which will surely not be lost on Interroll’s many UK partners. Chris sees the ‘them and us’ relationship between manufacturers and distributors or systems integrators as very much a thing of the past.
"We work with partners,” he says. "We are open, we solve problems together, we grow together. For example, the energy efficiency argument can be lost to the end user, as we sell through partners, so we ask them to get us involved early, we aren’t competing and won’t steal business, we will step back when we need to.
Within the last twelve months the company has launched the following products:
- Interroll Safety Separator with Time Plus Function for safer Pallet Removal.
- New Interroll Magnetic Speed Controller for Safe Pallet Handling Operations.
- New Cross Belt Sorters installed in the UK.
- New Synchronous Drum Motor.
- The new 24 V DC Interroll RollerDrive EC310.
- ConveyorControl - provides energy-saving drive solutions.
"We have an open door policy, we want people to come down and meet us, we know engineers like to touch and feel the products.”
Interroll UK is targeting revenue of £13.2m this year, with UK staff at 21, and sees the standalone facility as part of its effort to move to the next level, based on growing demand for automated handling products. Interroll is emphasising its package offering - drum, sorter, conveyor, carton flow and more.
In terms of sectors doing well in the UK, Chris says Interroll is seeing growth from a number of sources. Postal companies are buying sorters because of the rise of eCommerce, the automation side is growing, and airports, the food industry and centralised distribution are all strong.
As Chris explains: "Everything is being automated these days. Interroll is producing 35,000 rollers a day in its German plant, every day. Demand is increasing in every global location, China, Brazil and so on.
"Since the 1980s UK companies have cut back on R&D when the going has got tough. Interroll has increased its spend on R&D. One example is the £300,000 spent to get rollers to run quietly. We also work hard on return on investment, with a £1m sorter paying for itself in 18 months to two years.”
Interroll is a company that seek to grow, in part, through acquistions. One example is the Portec Group – a US manufacturer of belt curves. The Portec product portfolio complements Interroll’s existing range of solutions with its emphasis on belt curves for medium and heavy duties. Interroll is gearing up to introduce this new range to the UK market later this year.
Indeed, Chris was previously managing director at motorised drum manufacturer BDL, which was acquired by Interroll. Other notable purchases include German automation company Axmann.
Chris says of Interroll’s strategy: "We take products on and make them better. The BDL product now has better gears and motor. We buy companies to develop them not to take them out.”
The UK company is part of the Interroll Worldwide Group, which is one of the world's leading manufacturers of products for unit load handling systems, internal logistics and automation - operating with 31 wholly owned companies worldwide and employing around 1600 staff. It has a turnover of 350m Swiss Francs.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Interroll products are deployed at well-known global brands such as Amazon, Bosch, Coca-Cola, Coop, DHL, FedEx, Peugeot, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, USPS, Walmart and Yamaha.