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NEWS | Round-up VIEWPOINT Get switched on


to the smart-home KBSA national chair Richard Hibbert talks about how retailers can benefit from the rise in smart-home technology


Getley launches new business strategy as sales grow 35%


KBB RETAILERS can benefit from keeping their knowledge updated about new trends and technologies and by displaying and demonstrating these in the showroom.


While it can be seen as an expense to update


The greatest benefit will come from diagnosing issues remotely


showroom displays and appliances, it is an investment that really pays off, especially when demonstrating the smart solutions now available for the connected home. Retailers with younger clients will find they respond well to seeing how they can control items in the kitchen with their phones. Those with older clients will find that demonstrating how easy and beneficial these technologies can be, is the best way to gain a sale. The pandemic has changed the way we all view and use technology, many clients are still apprehensive about the benefits. We have found that having some working wi-fi-enabled appliances and apps in the showroom enables us to showcase the benefits. At our showroom [KSL Sudbury], we have found that utilising technology, such as the Quooker Augmented Reality App, that helps clients see what a Quooker tap would look like in their kitchen, is a good introduction. Apps that can control lighting around the kitchen are also easily accessible and easy to demonstrate in the showroom. Smart lighting lets the homeowner create mood and atmosphere by allowing them to dim, turn off, turn on, or switch from warm to cold light


using voice control. This can also include movement sensors to introduce energy efficiency when coupled with heating sensors.


Other smart appliances, such as dishwashers, ovens and washing machines, offer remote controls that are designed to make life easier and in some cases help reduce household bills. The consumer interface could be improved and would make them more popular. Our customers are often frustrated by connections that drop out, interfaces that don’t work or incompatibilities between phones and appliances. There are smart fridge freezers that offer an interactive touch screen that shops for groceries, tracks food expiry dates, gets recipes, organises day-to-day schedules and even checks fridge contents. I believe the greatest benefit from this technology will come from remote diagnostics. Several companies are making substantial investments into developing digitally- enabled appliances which, potentially, enables faults to be remotely diagnosed and even repaired without an engineer having to visit. This same technology will also flag up routine maintenance requirements. Though we’re not currently seeing a huge demand for these types of appliances, when this technology is properly up and running we will, undoubtedly, see digital technology deliver real benefits.


8


KITCHEN FURNITURE manufacturer Getley says it has reported sales growth of 21% over the past two years, despite Covid, and is predicting a further 35% increase in turnover for 2021 to £7 million. Marketing director Dan Hughes (pictured) told kbbreview: “To meet this demand we have taken on 10 additional staff and have invested over £1m in new machines and new premises that will soon be coming online.” Covid forced the factory to shut down for four weeks in March last year, but all staff were back at work by August 1. Hughes explained: “We returned in May 2020 after lockdown. It was a slow start, but since July 2020 we have been running record numbers month after month with no sign of this slowing down.” The manufacturer also pre-empted any supply chain issues due to Brexit or Covid by increasing its stockholding levels by 60%.


While Getley is continuing with its established cabinet-making offering, producing the cabinets and buying in whichever doors and wirework its retailer customers have specified, the launch of its new Alku range has expanded its business model with a range of complete kitchens, delivered direct to site.


Hughes explained: “Alku takes the company in a completely new direction. The biggest problem was that component ordering was out of our control. Because of this, we began offering a complete service where we order the


doors, supply the wirework and accessories, giving us much greater control over the supply process, the customer also benefits from a single point of contact and a single invoice per kitchen. We now have a full range of doors with all the accessories needed.”


Getley has also invested in new machinery to produce its Alku doors. Hughes said: “We invested in a new edge bander and a new wrapping machine to give us better protection during transport and speed up the dispatch times. Four extra vans have also been purchased. We also invested in a new factory with a full CNC production line dedicated to the manufacture of Alku with a machine shop to produce special-size components, special-size and custom doors, and an in-house facility to spray them, all this will work to bring down the lead times of custom items. Lastly, we


have made a substantial investment in CAD design software packages.”


Getley is also planning to expand its bedrooms offering with new door designs, colours and internal storage solutions. Hughes outlined Getley’s next step for Alku. Predicting “a very busy 12 months” ahead, he said: “We have plans to further expand Alku with bathrooms, home offices, studies and living furniture. We will also be bringing in new staff, training them to Getley’s high standards, to bolster the team to in excess of 75.”


Target date for mandatory water label announced


THE INTRODUCTION of the new mandatory water labelling scheme is set for early 2024 and the consultation will take place during 2022.


The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) has been asked to provide input to the consultation and has had meetings with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other bodies to discuss the label. The consultation period will examine potential “minimum standards” for taps and showers, which the BMA speculates will likely be based on a combination of flow rate and functionality performance. The BMA is also pushing for a development of a European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) standard functionality. For KBB retailers, there are a range of possible implications surrounding the introduction of this label and they could be liable if they sell products that do not carry the label or do not display it in their POS for products that do.


· October 2021


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