Over the last 5 years warewasher manufacturer Maidaid Halcyon has seen an enviable level of growth, with an increase of sales revenue of 65% from £5.5m to £9.1m. The company believes the expansion has been generated by adhering to a number of key principals.
Sales director Julian Lambert feels that one of these is the firm’s loyalty to the UK catering equipment distributor network. “We encourage distributors’ sales and technical employees to attend specialised free of charge training days at our Brackley headquarters. As testament to this we would refer to the awards we have received during the last couple of years,” he said.
Maidaid established these training sessions, taking place both monthly and on request, many years ago to assist and support its dealers. The sales and technical education gives distributors “the confidence in dealing with and specifying Maidaid Halcyon equipment to suit sites’ requirements”, believes Lambert. “The feedback to both our sales and technical training has always been very positive; in fact we are having to have new dates created to keep up with demand from both new and existing customers that feel their staff would benefit from the training we provide.
“Furthermore our distributors know that they can call on our expertise and vastly experienced sales and technical specialists within Maidaid Halcyon should they need to. As well as our training, we have also produced detailed literature to further assist our distributors’ knowledge of our machines, with the most recent being our ‘Dish & Glasswashing operational training manual’.”
Additionally, the commitment to high stock levels held in its Brackley warehouse has enabled the company to achieve a 99.7% success rate in delivering machines on the customer’s preferred date. Plus with swift logistics so in demand, 66% of appliances are delivered by the next working day.
In fact, Maidaid Halcyon supplied over 450 distributor customers during 2017 which is a 16% increase on 2013. Lambert commented: “With the ever changing UK distributor network, due to mergers, takeovers and sadly closures, we are pleased that each year more distributors are seeing the benefits of working with us.”
A high percentage of the company’s distributors could be classed as regular customers, although it prides itself on treating all customers, large and small, with the same level of care and support.
Lambert added: “Our success has been achieved by offering a range of equipment that the industry truly requires by listening very closely to customers, and not offering machines with lots of features rather than benefits. For Maidaid Halcyon to consider adding any new models we must be convinced we are offering improvements in either reduced running cost, improved reliability, improved user interface and never forgetting serviceability. We aim to include improvements in each area for any new model introduced.”
Currently the firm is actively studying new models to further enhance the range, either by addition or by replacing current models where “real benefits are evident”. The manufacturer reports that the new models under test will, if proven during trials, reduce water consumption and therefore energy savings, with the additional benefits of improved wash performance by redesigning the wash and rinse systems and improving the serviceability.
According to Lambert: “One of the biggest model improvements on the near horizon is the reduction of different components across the range, and in particular the control system. This has the advantage of reducing the number of different components service engineers have to carry on their vans and improves the ability to achieve a first time fix.”
Towards the end of last year, Maidaid expanded its partnership with ice machine manufacturer Brema, which saw dual-branded products supplied into the UK market for the first time. Lambert detailed: “Our relationship with Brema started back in 2002 and over that time it’s gone from strength to strength. Expanding the Brema ice machine partnership has given distributors and end users alike the reassurance and peace of mind that they are buying a machine that’s been made by a manufacturer with worldwide quality accreditation. Supplying dual branded machines has further endorsed the Maidaid Ice brand.”
The manufacturer’s team has been strengthened by the addition of personnel to develop the marketing activity and improve the awareness of its brands. According to Lambert: “This has brought about some interesting and positive benefits for the company. Whilst Maidaid Halcyon has been well known to the distributor market due to the excellent support provided by our very experienced and knowledgeable area sales managers, sales penetration has been achieved by the addition of two very experienced national accounts managers specialising in the public and retail sectors of the catering industry. Both work on developing interest in their sectors and work closely with distributors in support of their efforts to promote our products.”
This has resulted in recent or imminent rack and flight machine installations for NHS hospitals, large chains of nationally located family holiday resorts and garden centres, and MOD sites throughout the UK.
Furthermore, last year saw the manufacturer recognise that it needed to improve its warehouse storage facilities, following several years of sustained growth. “With a 30% extension of high bay storage warehousing, the short term goal was to have the additional warehouse space available for the extra stock required to cover the manufacturing facility’s annual summer holiday shutdown period of August,” explained Lambert.
“Fast forward to the start of 2018, the expanded warehouse has given us the opportunity to conduct a photoshoot for some of our larger products including the new Evolution Minirack (complete with tabling) along with our largest pot/utensil washer, which is something we have been unable to do in the past.”
He further added: “The warehouse expansion enables us to achieve our main aim of supplying machines from stock for next day delivery, with the only exception being bespoke rack and flight machines. It enables us to keep up with increased customer demand by ensuring we are able to carry sufficient stock across our comprehensive warewashing and ice machine range. With the additional space we can now stock our new Evolution Minirack models.”
The majority of the company’s units are manufactured in Italy. Said Lambert: “Our machines are renowned for their reliability and durability, which are the qualities that our manufacturing facilities have great pride in. With the Maidaid Halcyon brands continually increasing in popularity, working with a long term manufacturing partner that can keep up with demand without sacrificing the quality of machine is of the utmost importance.”
This takes the form of constant communication with the factory, discussing new trends and design enhancements from distributor feedback received. Any new features are put through their paces before the manufacturer introduces them to the UK marketplace. Maidaid also ensures its personnel regularly visit the factory.
Looking ahead, Lambert revealed that Maidaid Halcyon will continue adopting the same strategy that has brought it success over the last few years. “We will maintain a constant overview of product developments, ensuring only tried and tested benefits are offered to its customers. We will also maintain our high level of internal and external training to ensure an excellent level of product knowledge, as well as supporting and listening to our customers.”
For the overall market, he analysed: “Many reports tend to suggest the immediate future is uncertain for the UK catering industry, with almost weekly announcements in both national and trade press of established companies having to restructure or raise investment capital to maintain their business profile, the future would appear to predict a downturn in business potential.
“There is one view that the UK tends to revel in negative news, but for Maidaid Halcyon the future is assured due to its determination to continue offering the market products we can rely on to provide value for money but continue to manufacture to the highest standards. We have budgeted for 2018 quite prudently to ensure we can continue supplying the UK catering industry for another 40 years.”