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COMPANY FOCUS: AG


raw material composition of products, using more cement replacements including GGBS and optimising the top mix content of natural aggregate flags, making the highest quality reconstituted granite aggregate flags on the market even better.


“We have listened to our customers who have expressed demand for alternative products to porcelain and sandstone and are adding further products to our range in 2021 to meet this demand,” he says.


COPING WITH THE CHANGING BUSINESS LANDSCAPE


BMJ catches up with Stuart Thomas, head of sales at AG to talk about how the company has coped during the turbulent trading times.


AT THE BEGINING of the year, no-one would have predicted the huge numbers of people who would be forced to work from home, with the result that their surroundings - indoor and outdoor - took on new importance. “It has been a turbulent and unusual year for everyone. Like many businesses, Covid-19 and the consequent restrictions set in place hit our business hard,” says Stuart Thomas, head of sales at AG, the landscaping suppliers. Happily, he adds that, after a very tough period due to lockdown, the company saw a very strong demand for its products..


During lockdown, May saw the hottest temperature on record and this resulted in householders revamping their outside spaces more than before. With holidays becoming a no-go, people began spending more time and money on their gardens and outdoor living, resulting in unprecedented demand for paving and hard landscaping products.


“DIY also became the “thing to do” as people were forced to stay indoors. We saw a massive increase in demand for our Kamden walling products, a perfect choice for DIY projects. It is a freestanding, self-supporting, mortarless wall which is fast and simple to install and can be


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used to build walls, raised flower beds, seating, fire pits etc,” Thomas says.


There is currently a new industry trend forming for imported porcelain and sandstone products, especially for large format paving with less joints or closed joints for easier maintenance. Yet Thomas points out that, with uncertainty around Brexit still strong, along with the extra pressure of Covid-19, imported products are in decline as customers seek to ensure security by using local UK suppliers.


“Another industry development we have seen is the growth in SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) products. Flooding and flash flooding have been all too prevalent over the last few years. To avoid the risk of flooding many domestic and commercial projects are calling for new and innovative ways of managing surface water and drainage.


Innovation


“Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and we have been first to market with many innovative products throughout our history. We are continually seeking to develop new products which provide solutions which are ‘better, faster and safer’ for the construction industry. Now we have a huge focus on new innovative manufacturing methods and product development. In fact, we have recently invested heavily in new finishing equipment for surface textures and treatments, which will be coming to market in 2021.”


Thomas says that AG is deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations and that the company has further improved its green credentials by enhancing the


“At AG, our commitment to innovation means that we are constantly investing in our business to make our products and processes even better.”


Recently the company has made a series of investments in new equipment, pigment, finish textures, surface treatments and Thomas promises that there are many other developments, which will be coming on stream soon.


machine install clamp – a hydraulic clamp which enables our Vertica®


retaining wall to be mechanically installed. Making it ‘better, faster and safer’ from a manual handling and social distancing perspective.


“Continuous investment makes a huge difference to business. We specialise in providing paving and building product solutions for customers. Our commitment to continual improvement means that as a company we have developed concrete technology beyond anything else available in the UK or Ireland.” Thomas says that AG is loyal to its merchant stockist partners, offering a merchant-only approach and not selling direct to end-users in GB.


“We also provide expert knowledge and sales support to all our stockists through our nationwide team. This includes technical support as well as comprehensive aftersales customer care,” he adds.


“As part of our ongoing commitment to our merchant partners we have developed a range of marketing support packages, point of sale displays, literature, online tools, training and more. We have recently developed a new range of merchant display stands for our stocking partners which will be available early next year. We are currently refining our core stock range to maximise efficiencies.


“Following a significant and sustained increase in demand after a slow start to the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have now introduced new shift patterns and production hours which will increase our capacity from now and into the next year.” BMJ


www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net November 2020


“AG were crowned winners of the Health and Safety Product of the Year in this year’s Housebuilder Product Awards for our Anchor Vertica®


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