Success has ‘four Ps’

Uploaded 09 Apr @ 08:27am

It is 25 years since Biesse UK was founded and throughout the last quarter of a century, Steve Bulmer has remained a constant presence at the machinery manufacturer’s Daventry headquarters.

Helping to establish the firm when it was set up in 1993 as a UK subsidiary of the Italian Biesse Group, Steve Bulmer began as Sales Manager then became Sales Director, before taking up the position of Managing Director in 2009, a post he still holds today. His trajectory could be said to have mirrored the fortunes of the company itself; starting with just three employees, it doubled its turnover in the first two years and now Biesse UK boasts a turnover of over £30 million and employs 100 members of staff. As Biesse UK celebrates its milestone anniversary, Steve Bulmer reveals the ‘four Ps’ that have helped him to sustain a successful business – people, products, partnerships and progress.

People power
Behind every successful business is a team of great people and Biesse UK is no exception. Another of the original three employees is still at the heart of the firm; John Adamson is now the Service Manager for the glass and stone division. This commitment and loyalty is not unusual within Biesse. Despite its global reach – the Italian parent company has 40 subsidiaries – at its heart, it’s still a family firm. However, like many manufacturing firms, retaining and recruiting good talent can be a struggle, but developing a team is key. “The thing of which I’m most proud during my time is seeing the team around me grow. The value of our company lies not in the bricks and mortar, but in our staff. People matter.”

Premium products
While good people are crucial, a good offering has also been central to Biesse’s success. The company’s product range has stood the test of time because it delivers what customers need; high quality, reliable and flexible machinery at a competitive price point. “Machinery is an expensive investment so equipment that can adapt according to demand is really important,” says Steve Bulmer. Like people, machinery is an investment but Biesse’s clients are now less concerned with initial purchase price and are more aware of total cost of ownership. Biesse is so certain of the reliability of its machines that in 2011 it introduced an industry first, its Total Care five-year warranty and maintenance programme, which comes as standard on all core products. “We’re still the only company in our sector to offer this,” says Steve Bulmer. “It sets us apart from our competitors and provides our customers with a clear cost of ownership.”

Perfect partnerships
Prioritising customers’ needs has clearly paid dividends. Biesse UK is rightly proud of the fact that four of its original clients are still with them today. “Over the last 25 years, our DNA has remained the same; from day one, our focus has been on building relationships, not just selling machines,” Steve Bulmer adds.

Prioritising progress
“The Biesse Group is known for innovation; over 300 people are involved in our R&D activities and customers often visit our UK Technical Centre in Daventry for trials and testing of the latest technology,” says Steve Bulmer. No discussion around progress would be complete without mention of the 4th Industrial Revolution, however. “Our IoT platform SOPHIA connects us to our customer’s machines 24/7 so we can proactively monitor their condition, check component parts, and take preventative action as necessary to minimise downtime and faults,” explains Steve Bulmer. “We’re only at the start of the digital journey but technology is already making things easier for our customers.”

So, what do the coming years hold for Biesse UK? “Brexit may bring some challenges, but overall, I feel the market will remain buoyant,” states Steve Bulmer. “Following our acquisition of boutique advanced material machine manufacturer Uniteam, we’ve industrialised their product range and now have a great offering for composite materials, such as carbon fibres and resin – this has the potential to be an even bigger market for us than wood. Our next ambitious UK business plan is well underway and we’re targeting further growth.”

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