Sad News at Centurion

Charlie McKinlay, European agent for Centurion Europe, has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on 4th June. 

Charlie had worked with Centurion for the more than five years and had a long and distinguished career in the international DIY sector.  A well-respected and popular character, his loss has come as a great shock to his many friends and colleagues at Centurion, across the industry and for the numerous customers with whom he had built long term relationships. 

Charlie started his sales career at Timex, but spent the bulk of his working life in the tools and hardware industries, working with Aven Tools, Sandvik and American Tools.   He was managing director of Izard Irwin and also spent time with AW Tools before representing Centurion, one of his key principals, worldwide.  Leading the company’s export activities, he was a frequent visitor to the IHF in Cologne and was highly instrumental in securing Centurion’s extensive 22 country export portfolio.

Paul Kantecki, managing director of Centurion Europe said, “Charlie was admired and loved by everyone at Centurion. Having worked with Charlie for many years, he taught me a lot and it has been a real pleasure to know him.  His contribution to this company and the industry in general was great and we are lucky to have enjoyed his company as part of the Centurion team.  He was one of this industry’s great characters and he will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences go to his family at this sad time.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation in Charlie’s memory is asked to contact the British Heart Foundation or visit

AkzoNobel opens pioneering ‘VR’ Customer Centre at Dulux HQ

-New 6,400 sq. ft facility houses industry-first Virtual Reality technology enabling retailers to explore different store environments and experiment with product layout

-Facility offers completely immersive Dulux experience, showcasing latest trends in colour palettes and future design concepts developed by Dulux colour experts

-Ex-GSK marketeer Jenny Hall appointed to head new Dulux Customer Experience team with remit to drive future growth through ‘customer-centric’ ethos

AkzoNobel UK this week opens a brand new Customer Centre at its decorative paint headquarters in Slough, housing a pioneering Virtual Reality suite which will enable retailers to immerse themselves in the Dulux customer experience and view product innovations before they go to market.

The 6,400 square foot facility includes an innovation lab and ‘living zone’ furnished and finished by Dulux colour and design experts, to bring current and future decorative trends to life. Other features include a showcase store environment, indoor and outdoor hospitality spaces.

The centrepiece of the new facility is a Virtual Reality installation, which offers retailers the opportunity to create and trial potential store layouts, so that they can instantly weigh up the impact, convenience and fit of different in-store display options, before products hit the shelves.

The opening of the Customer Centre coincides with the appointment of former GlaxoSmithKline marketeer, Jenny Hall to a brand new role as Customer Experience and Transformation Director. Jenny, who joined AkzoNobel in 2011, has undertaken a series of senior marketing roles across the Consumer and Trade business, most recently leading a strategic review of Dulux’s stores network.

Jenny leads a newly formed Customer Experience team, with the objective of developing a world class customer experience for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK and Ireland. The new structure reflects AkzoNobel’s wider ambition to drive all future growth through a customer-centric ethos.

Matt Pullen, Managing Director of AkzoNobel UK & Ireland said:

“AkzoNobel are committed to constantly improving Customer Experience and the new Customer Centre delivers a real step change in that experience.

“It means our product and service offer is more tailored to individual customers’ needs and employs technology such as Virtual Reality to help customers to visualise and optimise store layouts and experiment with new design options. The centre is also the perfect showcase to lift the lid on product and service innovations before they come to market.

“This facility is designed to cement AkzoNobel’s place as an industry leader in marketing, category management, technology and design, allowing us to explore new business opportunities and work collaboratively to unlock future growth in our industry.”

Regarding Jenny Hall’s appointment, Matt Pullen added:

“Jenny is a highly talented colleague who has made a major contribution to the success of AkzoNobel brands in the UK over the last five years. Her new role recognises that to drive future growth and differentiation in the market, we need to adopt a customer-centric approach. 

“She leads a brand new team from across the business with the clear objective of putting the Customer at the Heart of our business, ensuring that we are focused on delivering a world class customer experience that ensures our brands and our business are first choice for all our customers.”

Commenting on her new position, Jenny Hall, Customer Experience and Transformation Director for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK & Ireland said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead the new Customer Experience team.

“Our objective will be to inspire and create organisational change to deliver an unrivalled customer experience, and in turn generate new commercial opportunities, competitive advantage, employee engagement and ultimately customer loyalty.

“The combination of this new team and the opening of our amazing new Customer Centre will enhance customer experiences and ultimately move us closer to our goal of inspiring and enabling beautiful living spaces for all.”

This week’s developments are part of a drive by AkzoNobel to harness innovations and technologies which set new standards for the industry and crucially put the needs of the customer first. 

  • Dulux Amazing Space was launched in October 2015: a pioneering online interior design service provided by Dulux Design Experts and including a 30 minute consultation, a personalised digital style guide and a 3D room visualisation making design and colour expertise accessible for all.

The Dulux Visualiser App: an easy to use smartphone app that lets you pick a colour from any source, and with augmented reality technology, allows you to see the colours come to life in your living space.

  • The Dulux Academy: launched in March 2016 next to the Customer Centre at AkzoNobel Decorative Paints HQ, the Academy will enable more than 4,000 people every year including professional decorators, store staff and employees to receive advanced training on product knowledge, application techniques and the essential principles of colour, design and sustainability.  The Academy will also equip decorators with the skills to build, run and promote a successful business.

Calling all Workers in the Electrical, Building and Plumbing Sectors!

Are you an electrician, builder or plumber? Would you like to win £250,000, a car, a motorbike, a boat and a whole lot of other goodies? Then the UK Worker of the Year competition is just what you are looking for.

Now in its seventh year, the competition, organised by Dickies this year in association with ASDA and HONDA UK, is offering a range of amazing prizes. In addition to the opportunity of winning the whopping £250,000, there is a Honda Jazz car, a Honda Crosstourer 1200cc motorbike, a Honda Marine Rib boat, a year’s free shopping at ASDA, a luxury holiday and that’s just for the winner.  There are more prizes available to our finalists, and spot prizes along the way. The competition is founded on the same principles as the Dickies work wear brand: excellence, professionalism and longevity.

With a wide range of ppe products suitable for electricians, builders and plumbers, Dickies knows what matters to you most when working. The personal protective clothing and equipment you use should only be of the highest quality, which is what you are guaranteed in the extensive Dickies range.

Gary Barak, the event promoter, commented: “This competition is to demonstrate pride in the British workforce, and is open to everyone, regardless of whether you work on the shop floor or are a CEO.”

It’s easy to enter UK Worker of the Year 2016, simply go to the competition’s website: You can also find out more about the competition if you visit our UK Worker of the Year Facebook page or @workeroftheyear on Twitter.

WernerCO invests over $1.8M at its Maldon UK Facility

WernerCo, the UK’s leading manufacturer of professional ladders and access towers, invests over $1.8m at its Maldon UK facility strengthening its position in the market.

At the heart of the investment sits the installation of a new BLM Adige Fibre Optic Laser Cutter, used for cutting treads for WernerCo’s leading fibreglass stepladders, stiles for box section extension ladders and BoSS access tower components.

John Darby, WernerCo UK Manufacturing Engineering Manager, said: “The state of the art machine from Italy was an investment of over $1.2m and forms part of the overall production site improvements in WernerCo’s Maldon UK plant.

“The investment in this second laser cutting machine prevents any need for outsourcing and provides an increase in capacity to support growth. The new machinery enables cutting for the D-Rung ladder stiles and GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) treads and horizontals. More critically this investment improves and streamlines production processes, following the production lines moving from our Belper site.”

To support the overall improvements in operational efficiency at the Maldon plant, over 25,000 sq.ft of storage buildings have been added for component storage, including a 10,000 sq.ft dedicated extrusion store.

In November 2015, WernerCo opened a new National Distribution Centre in Burton Upon Trent, which saw the move of finished ladders from Maldon and Belper. This new centrally located facility provides distribution and collection facilities to WernerCo’s UK customer base.

As a result, over 36,000 sq.ft of production floor in Maldon has now been relayed to optimise production efficiency and to absorb the volume from the Belper closure on course for later this year.

WernerCo has invested over $100k in increased nitrogen generation, which is used in the aluminium laser cutting production, making the company self-sufficient in nitrogen generation. In addition the company has also improved external storage, general facilities and parking.

Nick Platt, EMEA VP Operations, said: “WernerCo has production facilities all over the world, and it’s been great to see the investment in manufacturing in our UK business.

“We are looking forward to seeing the results of the investments and improvements at Maldon in terms of quality, speed and efficiency at the plant. We’re also investing in global operations, like Vietnam, where we have just installed a new $5m aluminium extrusion machine, predominantly to supply ladders for the UK market.”

Brexit Forum - Brita-in or Brita-out? 

In the light of the upcoming European Referendum, the organisers behind the UK Construction Week, surveyed construction professionals about the upcoming EU referendum. Of the 3,200 that took part, 57% believed the UK should stay in the EU, with 43% wanting to leave. Interestingly, engineers and architects are more likely to stay, with subcontractors voting by 58% to leave. 

At a forum on the 26th of May at Grimshaw Architects, a worldwide architectural practice, a mixed panel of industry experts was invited to discuss the realities of a Brexit to the Construction Industry. The panel, hosted by Brian Kilkelly, founder Member of the World Cities Network and Development lead of Climate KIC, consisted of Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Cezary Bednarski, founder of Studio Bednarski, Paul Scully, MP for Sutton and Cheam, David Cash, Chairman of BDP, and Mark Middleton, the Managing Partner of Grimshaw Architects. 

Brian Berry began by turning the red tape argument on its head, arguing that regulation and skilled labour were vital in the UK Construction Industry, and being part of the EU, was therefore important to ensure a supply of suitably trained tradespeople, working in a well regulated environment. He did concede that many individual tradespeople would vote to leave based on their personal beliefs and experiences, but over half of them said that they would like more concrete information to inform their choices.

Cezary was keen to put what he called a ‘philosophical’ view to the audience. As a Polish immigrant many years ago, who had to fight for his British Citizenship, and who has completed many architectural commissions throughout the world, including Africa, he took the view that ‘elephants do not gallop’- the EU was too slow to respond to changing market conditions, and it was therefore in Britain’s best interests to leave. 

Paul Scully, businessman and recently elected conservative MP, had three reasons for voting to leave, trade, immigration, and sovereignty. He believes that Britain is shackled by EU Trade Groups, and stated we would be far stronger on our own. 

David Cash, also an architect, believes that Britain’s economic fortunes are firmly tied to the EU. In the longer term, businesses will continue to build connections in Europe, however an exit would surely create a ‘tough patch’ in the UK. He also argued that he has no issues with adopting several identities; English, British or European, depending on where he is in the world. 

Much like David, Mark Middleton not only enjoys the lifestyle of a European and visa free travel, but also is keen to emphasise that Britain holds a powerful ‘third position’ by not being part of the Schengen Agreement and the single currency. He sees that a breakaway from Europe will mean forcing us enter into negotiations for European Trade, something we have not done since the 1970s. He cites the Norway example of how not to do things- all the costs but with none of the influence. 

The first issue discussed was the Housing Crisis in the UK. David was first answer this, making the point that building housing is not necessarily connected to the EU. The London housing market has been overheated by international money buying up expensive properties at the expense of affordable housing in the capital. Brian Berry shares this view, suggesting that affordable housing was very much in the remit of the UK Government, and it was wrong to blame immigrants for it. He also put it down to the fact people are living longer, and the shortage of land to build on. Brexit would lead to a decline of investment in major infrastructure projects, because Europeans might withdraw from the UK. But also any ‘tough patch’ in the building industry created by a Brexit may see householders lacking the cash and confidence to upgrade or repair their homes.

In direct contrast, Cezary believes that money is neutral and will follow the market, so for him infrastructure investment is not an issue, and housing very much a responsibility for local authorities and housing trusts. By rewriting immigration rules, skilled people would be attracted to the UK to address the much-discussed shortage of construction skills.

This idea of widening the search for skilled workers was an attractive prospect also to Paul Scully, particularly with America and Australia. He also disagreed with Mark’s view of negotiating trade deals, claiming we already had trade deals with Europe, and a Brexit would allow Britain to move ‘nimbly’ through the international market, and allow many small British businesses a freedom from red tape. 

The debate then moved on to a discussion of infrastructure. The survey had revealed that 16% of respondents claimed that major infrastructure projects would be positively affected by Brexit, 47% said it would make no difference, and 37% thought that the effect would be negative. 

Mark feels that we are in a more important period of infrastructure building than in Victorian times, believing we have benefited from the EU, as we simply do not have enough skilled people in Britain, nor the funding. Paul believes with 95% of small business are currently not involved in major infrastructure, leaving the EU would make little difference. 

Given the opportunity to sum up their positions, it became clear that emotional arguments are just as important as practical or philosophical ones. The panel agreed that the EU needs to adapt to survive. Economically, there are still countries like Spain and Greece that need support. The balance between economic regulation and freedom needs to be redefined in order to create a more vibrant free market economy that would be more open to the world markets that Britain would like to trade with.

It also faces real difficulties like the immigration crisis and the threat of Russia, in which concerted European efforts will prove to be necessary to solve, regardless of Brexit. There is no doubt that Britain will still need to deal with the effects of migration, whether in or out. 

In a show of hands, a slimmish majority of the audience voted to stay in, although many stated that the debate had really helped them crystallise their thoughts on the upcoming referendum. 

Industrial flooring company Watco wins ECMOD Direct Commerce Award

Innovation and excellent customer service are key to Watco’s success in being named Best Industrial and Warehouse Supply Business.

Watco, the UK’s leading direct supplier of industrial strength flooring products, has won the ECMOD Direct Commerce Best Industrial and Warehouse Supply Business Award. Held at the Hurlingham Club, Fulham, the award was presented to Ed Suthon, Managing Director, Steve Chanter, Product and Operations Director, and the UK Marketing Team by Dermot Murnaghan from Sky News.

The ECMOD Direct Commerce Awards, organised by Direct Commerce Magazine and supported by the Direct Commerce Association, was created to celebrate excellence across a range of categories and is entered by direct commerce and multichannel businesses. Watco was adjudged to have demonstrated excellent performance in key areas of customer service and innovation, to win the Best Industrial and Warehouse Supply Business.

Commenting on its success, Ed Suthon said, “Watco is driven by a passionate team of staff and a culture of innovation making us extremely successful in the industrial and warehousing industry. This innovative culture keeps us up-to-date with new technology, but we also listen to what our customers say. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and many of our products are in response to their requirements, and are often inspired by a customer enquiry.”

Watco prides itself on its high-quality, trustworthy approach and innovation. With customer service a top priority, the company has invested in web site improvements for easier customer navigation, and investment in product training to offer top quality customer service, resulting in a high level of customer loyalty. The constant drive to improve product offering saw several new products launched in 2015– the main ones including Putty Patch, Powerfloat Sealer and the Protect range.

Watco also takes great pride in supporting charities local to their head office in Godalming, Surrey,  Support Shooting Star Chase, a hospice dedicated to helping families with children that have life-limiting conditions, and Age UK’s ‘Call in Time’ scheme.

Chandlers launches new graduate training scheme

Chandlers Building Supplies is delighted to announce the launch of its brand new Graduate Management Training Programme, which gives young people the chance to develop a career in the builders merchants industry.

Offering graduates the opportunity to get to know the sector inside out, the two year programme will include working in a variety of roles and departments interspersed with tailored training workshops that will be delivered by the Builders Merchants Federation.

The first year will be spent at Chandlers’ head office in Ringmer, where graduates will gain experience in a range of roles including sales, transport and operations.  In the second year they will have the opportunity to further develop their skills and experience working alongside colleagues in one of the company’s Sussex based branches.

At the end of the programme it is hoped that the graduates will be in a strong position to apply for supervisory roles within the business before progressing to management positions in the future.

Andrew Cope, Managing Director of Chandlers Building Supplies, commented:

“Graduate training schemes offer young people a fantastic opportunity to immerse themselves in a particular industry.   This will be our first Graduate Management Training Programme and we look forward to welcoming the successful candidates into the business.

“I’m sure many young people will not have considered looking at career options within the builders merchant industry, however, for an individual with drive and determination there is plenty of opportunity to establish a very varied, fulfilling and successful career.”

Those wishing to find out more about programme can do so by visiting the Chandlers website  Closing date for applications is the 31st July with an anticipated start date in September.

DIY SOS calls upon local construction industry to help transform young carers’ centre in Blackpool

DIY SOS Trades Day’ Event on Wednesday 8th June 2016 hopes to galvanise support from businesses and volunteer trades for DIY SOS, BBC Children in Need special

BBC television’s most popular building series, presented by Nick Knowles, DIY SOS: The Big Build, is attempting to take on one of its most ambitious and heartfelt projects to date and needs the help of businesses and volunteer tradespeople from the greater Blackpool area of Lancashire.

The BBC One TV programme, DIY SOS The Big Build, Children in Need Special is preparing to transform a young carers centre from a run-down, neglected Victorian house, to a fun, safe and supportive environment where young carers are able to enjoy their childhood. The project is being designed by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, who was himself a young carer and will raise money for Children in Need projects across the country. To achieve this ambition the programme is seeking donations of materials as well as help from tradespeople including; electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, decorators and landscape gardeners who may be able to offer support.

 DIY SOS, build manager, Mark Millar is hosting an all-day event on Wednesday 8th June 2016 at Blenheim House, Blackpool and inviting tradespeople and businesses to assess the task at hand and find out how they can contribute by volunteering as a trade or by donating materials.  The upcoming build dates are: Tuesday 28 June until Thursday 7 July 2016 and will help make a difference to Blackpool Carers, a charity which provides emotional and practical support to young carers, some as young as five.

Nick Knowles, presenter of BBC One’s DIY SOS, said: “We’re so excited to be coming to Blackpool to renovate Blenheim House for some of the most important un-sung heroes of the community – young carers. We know this build will be no mean feat, but these young people are worth it. From skips to bricks, paint to plasterboard and anything in between, we urge businesses to come along to the event and pledge to help in any way they can. Ultimately we hope to change the lives of these young people and deliver the safe and calm environment they deserve – but we can’t do it alone. We need the help of local trades and suppliers.”  

Michelle Smith, CEO at Blackpool Carers Centre added: “Although we are incredibly fortunate to have been provided with such a great base from which to reach out to more carers and respond to need, it is currently in no fit state to host services for those children and young people who have caring roles.

We would love to be able to provide support and respite in a safe, clean, stimulating environment. This would enable the young carers to not only enjoy their well-deserved childhood, but also have a much better chance of a brighter future.

We are delighted to have the support from DIY SOS and would appeal for others to help them, help us achieve our dream.”

Those interested in attending the Trades Day on Wednesday 8th June ahead of the build MUST contact Lucy Jones BEFORE HAND for further information by emailing: [email protected].

Unlocking ABUS UK – 21st Century Security Solutions

Report by Peter Brett

History Means a Lot

The ABUS story starts in the village of Volmarstein, Germany, in 1924 when August Bremicker and his sons (hence AB und S = ABUS) founded the company. Initially they made padlocks and accompanying hasps and staples in the cellar of the family home, but 92 years later ABUS production is based in five different German locations, and two Chinese plants with worldwide partnerships and subsidiaries. Its 3000 or so employees are urged to live up to ABUS’ motto of “Security built on quality” so ABUS is justifiably proud of its market-leading security solutions for homes and mobile objects aimed to provide ‘the good feeling of security’

Founder August Bremicker and his family had very strong Christian values and these principles still guide his great grandsons who head the company today.  Honesty and integrity in dealing with customers, suppliers and staff are very important, as well as more current preoccupations like “green” issues and energy usage that have strong implications for the future of next generations. For example, ABUS production methods are so stringent that pollution from its factories is a fraction of current EU targets.

The UK’s current debate over a living wage has not been an issue at any ABUS operations.

There have been many milestones along the way since production restarted in 1947 after World War II. These include the iconic Diskus Padlock in 1949 – still an icon today set apart by its German production and trademark ‘Diskus’ logo.

Increasing demand and market share made it necessary to open the Rehe factory in 1957 in Westerwald, which is now also the centre for developing and testing commercial, domestic and mobile security products.  Rehe is the production base for the ABUS ‘Granit’ padlock range.

1957 also saw the introduction of the first brass padlocks on the market, the ABUS no 75, followed swiftly in 1958 by the first ABUS bicycle lock and a telephone lock. I remember my mum had one to stop my elder sister from having long teenage telephone conversations while she was at work!

The first bicycle U-lock was launched in 1971 and has been much copied, as was ABUS’ first additional retrofit window lock.

With the demand for extra home security solutions in the seventies, ABUS produced a range of retrofit domestic door locking products and the oil tank lock from 1981 again reflected the needs of consumers during the 2nd oil crisis.

In the “noughties” ABUS acquired the Pfaffenhain cylinder system company based in Saxony and later the Security Centre Company that enabled it to expand its competence into video surveillance and alarms as well. By 2008 modern security needs required the development of the Secvest 2WAY danger detection system which combined fire and intruder protection and in 2011 ABUS was selected as a security system “best for children” for its range of “child friendly” locks.

A relatively new development, also located at the Westerwald factory, is the ABUS Academy. Its modern facilities are used to train and inform ABUS’ distributors and installers about ABUS security products and general security issues, so their business partners have the best information about both ABUS security solutions and the security industry in general.

This lightning tour of ABUS’ past history is complemented with the introduction of the new series of TITALIUM padlocks in 2012 – a brand new alloy developed by ABUS using, amongst other metals, titanium and aluminium, to create a padlock body that provides a lower cost alternative to brass, but with equal or higher security rating – and the image of solid steel!.  This month sees the launch of shutter and closed shackle TITALIUM padlocks offering further high value and security.

ABUS in the UK – Markets, Marketing and Products

Inevitably there are always differences in the way that markets operate in different countries and Nick Vanderhoest, MD of the UK subsidiary of ABUS has had the job of managing ABUS’ growth since 2006 when CK stopped marketing ABUS and started marketing its own brand of locks independently. Today the bulk of ABUS UK’s padlock business is been managed via wholesale partners Toolbank, Hoppe and Aldridge.

However, markets don’t stay the same. Increasing internet sales and the introduction of more complicated electronic security products using smart technology and video recording, has meant that ABUS has had to develop its own team of experts and additional specialised distribution.

ABUS has not ignored the impact of the likes of Amazon and other internet sales companies, nor have they ignored the big retailers like Screwfix and B&Q and this has meant the development of a range of strategies to keep customers happy. 

The sizeable premises in Avonmouth near Bristol, is home to a team of sales and support staff who manage all the functions of a modern subsidiary. IT, as we would expect, is a key area, with roles in communication, accounts and product development. Each area of ABUS’ security products has its own dedicated Product Manager, whose role it is to explain and develop products and markets, support sales staff and all the other 101 things that come up.

Marketing is also an inevitable part of explaining and expanding awareness of products, and this important role is filled by Sarah Utley, the lady with the “In” tray that is constantly being filled with new demands – some from this magazine.

The building also houses a substantial warehouse space needed for stock as well as cylinder system assembly, servicing and demonstration space for new products and ranges.

Nick is a mine of information about the UK market for security products and how it differs from other markets – particularly the continental market, where security needs differ greatly than in some sectors of the UK.

One example he quoted was window security, where screw type sash locks are considered enough for most purposes in the UK. However, Germany and continental Europe they have floor to ceiling windows that can be tilted or fully open for ventilation and for easy cleaning. These windows provide a significant security risk, because they are easily big enough for an adult to enter through, and big enough to manoeuvre a giant flat screen TV through as well. ABUS has been providing both inbuilt and retrofit window locks for these types of windows for many years and continental householders think nothing of spending €100 or more for secure locks on each window. Hard to imagine an average UK householder spending £80 on door or window locks…… And yet with the more and more modern buildings with walls of glass being built in the UK, it will be only a matter of time, so perhaps specialist security retailers will need to start looking around at the products needed to fulfil the demand. 

It is a similar story with UK home security. As some readers may know already from continental holidays, each European manufacturer may have a range of different keyways to fit a continental euro cylinder lock. This means that European potential thieves would have to have literally hundreds of “bump keys” if trying to access a home via the ‘bumping’ method. However, in the UK, 95% of us use the 1A Yale keyway. While this is convenient for distributors cutting extra keys, limiting the range of key blanks distributors have to stock, it also means that a potential thief has to carry only one “bump key” to potentially gain entry to most UK domestic locks.

ABUS promotes it’s high quality cylinders as the ‘brain’ of the door, and rather promotes correct size cylinders protected by internally fitted strong door furniture across many often patented different key profiles as the better door cylinder security solution.   ABUS has just developed and launched a solution to consumers’ varying cylinder size requirements with its ‘Modular’ cylinder lock system that both minimises the sizes of cylinders distributors need to stock while adding extra strength against ‘snapping’ type break ins.

But as we would expect, Nick is also keen to tell us about the latest developments that ABUS has been making in “Mechatronic” (access control via a combination of top class mechanical security with electronic programming) and video security. Ironically this area has grown in the UK because some ABUS dealers have asked the company to help them install their own security system. The knowledge gained with involvement in installing the system has then led to the dealer to be able to confidently recommend and manage the more complicated sales process involved in installing a mechatronic system.

ABUS cylinder systems are already used in a number of high profile buildings like the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, Wembley Stadium and the Gherkin, and ABUS confidently predicts their Mechtronic solutions will be exploited in similar icons. Security issue in large organisations will be complex, with staff needing access to clean and service, while clients need the reassurance of security for themselves and their possessions.

This can now be achieved via electronic key fobs using 6 digit pin numbers that are almost impregnable to either manipulation due to the millions of combinations they offer, and their inherent mechanical strength and quality.

Either commercial or domestic needs can take advantage of this system, but it is not too much of a stretch to see that as the systems become more common (and therefore cheaper) these simple to operate systems will become the norm for “ordinary” householders to programme in unique numbers to allow a plumber access at a certain time, enable the Ocado delivery and let the kids in after school. Done remotely via a smartphone, AirBnB owners could manage a unique access time and code for their individual guests.  ABUS successfully sells many thousands of “key garages” for carer or holiday homes access.  But the mechatronic solution eliminates the potential “key garage” risk where actual house keys could be stolen or copied, and where guests inadvertently or deliberately reset a new “key garage” combination.

Increasingly, even home security now involves the use of video cameras to record movements and events. ABUS’ latest contribution to this are high technology low cost camera systems that are able to use existing analogue cabling to record high resolution digital images that can be used to identify individuals or car number plates.

The ABUS Academy can help provide extra information and training and ABUS’ team of individual Product Managers and Sales team can all be involved in helping clients choose and install a security system that is suitable for particular premises.

By now, readers should be able to gauge that ABUS’ knowledge of security is in-depth and extensive and this is reflected in the range of security solutions the company offers. Whether it is a cylinder lock for a front door, a disc brake lock for an expensive motorcycle or a surveillance and security system for a luxury house, the ABUS people have the expertise to recommend and supply a system that suits – whether this is in the UK or pretty well anywhere else in the world.

My big realization after our visit to ABUS UK is that I need to wake up a bit when it comes to my home and workshop security. And perhaps this is also a message that ABUS dealers could be passing on to customers. Increased security may not always cost that much extra, but as Nick told us, security is only as good as the weakest link and even a determined thief can be put off by the extra time that that extra bit of security might buy us. Time for a security evaluation I think. 

ABUS’ Security Viewpoint

I’d like to firstly stress the vital point of ABUS’ Christian belief.  We live today in a multi-faith country and world, but whatever one’s personal creed, faith or doctrine, we hope all our customers recognise, as do all ABUS staff, the very real benefit of the high ethical code on which all ABUS business is conducted.

This links strongly with the ABUS’ insistence on constant high quality of material and manufacture, and as Peter has already pointed out our founding statement is “Security built on quality”.

While on links, I also pick up and emphasise Peter’s point on security being as strong as the weakest link.  We see unbalanced situations where containers full of high value merchandise are secured by a brass padlock, or where a garden shed with high value leisure goods is secured with a Granite padlock, but the shed door needs only a screwdriver to take off the hinges.  So the fundamental rule of security is recognising all potential points of entry, and ensuring balanced appropriate security for the risk and value is comprehensively applied.  Police advise on cycle and motorcycle security is to spend at least 10% of the value you are protecting on security devises.  This commercial advice can be applied to all security applications.

I also stress Peter’s comments on the varying security needs in different countries, which as an international manufacturer and supplier of security solutions leaves ABUS with the continual challenge, to think global and act local.

I am very proud to work for the brand ABUS, and while we strive for perfection, recognise we sometimes may fall short of all expectations.  We none the less genuinely believe that ABUS, through our valued customers and UK distribution does make a genuine valuable contribution to ‘the good feeling of security’.

Nick Vanderhoest – Managing Director - ABUS UK


Paul Bidwell - Marketing Manager of Manitou Ltd UK, dies at the age of 58

It is with great sadness that to nform you of the sudden death of Paul Bidwell, Marketing Manager of Manitou UK Ltd  on Friday 13 May 2016 at the age of 58.
Paul was a well-loved member of the Manitou UK staff and had been with the Company for over 25 years.

Jonathan Tapp Managing Director conveyed the feelings of the Company by saying “Paul was a well loved member of the staff here at Manitou and so I am sure you can appreciate we have lost a dear and valued colleague and our thoughts go out to all Paul’s family and friends.”

Brian Bradford Managing Director of Manitou Dealer Northern Lift Trucks (NI) Ltd also added ““It was with great shock and sadness that we learnt of the recent untimely death of Paul Bidwell.I have known Paul since he started with Manitou in the Sales Administration Department more than 25 years ago. Paul was a kind, good hearted man who was well liked by everyone in the industry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this difficult time.He will be sorely missed."


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