Keeping up with the world
As I am writing this piece on a Monday morning, we have experienced another turbulent weekend of events in the world all designed to make our lives in the KBB industry more challenging and on top of that my football team Liverpool shipped 7 goals a true sign that the world has gone mad.
We continue to suffer from supply chain issues and although the number of products affected are reducing as time passes, we are aware of the difficulties that this causes you, our partners, on a daily basis. We will continue to work hard to reduce the impact and improve our communication to you, our customer, so that you may plan your business accordingly.
Edition 5 of the View is packed full of insight and opinions from the team and our partners and as always I hope you enjoy reading our content.
The team would love to hear your opinions and also receive content for future editions so please get in touch if you would like to be part of the View.
Cover image courtesy of Mereway Kitchens, see their article on page 6
Neil shares his thoughts on the network and first class distribution services that Blum has to offer.
Neil Schofield is the National Distribution Manager and has been with Blum since 2014. He has been in the kitchen industry for 17 years and still regards it as one with never ending opportunities and potential. Away from Blum, Neil has been a junior football coach for 15 years and loves his early morning workouts.
BUK Main Number: 01908 285700
Sales Inbox: email@example.com
Written by Peter Sharratt
The right tools for the job...
Ever thought to yourself “there must be an easy way to install all this stuff?” or “why is this taking so long?” Or worse “*%&$* I’ve just ruined that”
Since forever carpenters and cabinet makers have used simple tools to achieve what might seem to be excellent results, but what was acceptable in Egyptian times, unfortunately is no longer good enough for today’s discerning customer, nor the fine tolerances of the modern kitchen. So taking forever or being tricky or making mistakes seems almost inevitable.
Is there an answer?
Don’t worry we are here to help you, we have listened and produced a number of installation aids to help the already stressed installer to achieve near perfect results, whilst saving time.
Sounds almost too good to be true?
For nearly every Blum item, there is a jig or template to help install them and I will hopefully explain a few of what I consider to be the most important ones.
So, you are probably asking what do I know about kitchen fitting?
Well as a carpenter who has worked for themselves and as a store carpenter for IKEA, I have faced the same struggles you guys face on a daily basis. In the past I have made any number of home-made templates on scraps of timber to somehow help me work faster and more accurately, with somewhat differing results.
Since working here at Blum UK, I have discovered the joy of using well designed and accurate jigs, in fact I have a few jigs that I simply will not leave home without.
The Universal Individual Template which is like a swiss army knife for all carcass drillings. Blum’s ECODRILL, Indeed, you probably can manage without one, but my Mum told me once “If you have a dull job to do at least have good tools to make it less painful”. My laptop loaded with the Cabinet Configurator is just the best tool to deal with those customers who simply cannot make up their mind.
Watch out for our new E-Service, Cabinet configurator
Managing your light-work balance
Unlike others in the animal kingdom, we humans cannot simply slow down and hibernate as autumn hits and winter approaches. Many people struggle with reduced energy levels at this time of the year. Anxious thoughts can often be triggered in the autumn (especially in the current climate of added uncertainty), so we’ve been looking for advice on how to best to cope with these changes.
If you’re feeling lethargic you certainly won’t be alone. With daylight hours shortening and the clocks going back an hour, increased amounts of darkness can result in reduced motivation. For people suffering from the recognised mood disorder SAD (seasonal affective disorder) it can give rise to changes in appetite, weight, sleeping patterns and overall decreased physical activity.
For everyone, their ‘circadian rhythm’ (or body clock) plays a part in regulating sleepiness and wakefulness. Night-time causes the natural production of melatonin, which encourages sleepiness. During the shift from summer to winter our sleeping patterns and this process move out of sync.
This year it all coincides with significant adjustments to our working routines; for many of us moving back to the office after a period of working from home. Research on the unprecedented adaptation indicate that up to 25% of us are experiencing work-related worries. Conversely, continuing to work from home may mean blurred boundaries and up to two hours of extended working – according to insights from NordVPN. Here’s a useful online article about navigating change with signposting to sources of further help
If you’re searching for ideas to help boost your mood generally and look after yourself as the nights draw in and mornings get darker, this feature provides eight helpful tips... from getting outside, taking exercise and managing what you eat. Read the General and Medical article
Quality with customisation at its heart
Mark Mills, Managing Director of high quality and bespoke kitchen maker Mereway, is the focus of Viewpoint this issue. View spoke to Mark about their unique ethos based on creating individuality and a fundamental understanding that no two kitchens can, or indeed should be, the same.
Mereway Kitchens see themselves operating at the very heart of the UK Kitchen manufacturing sector. They have certainly raised the bar in terms of innovative design, craftsmanship and customisation. Despite all the challenges of the year so far, they have been able to ensure that 2020 is still the ‘year of the launch’, with launches across their Mereway kitchen portfolios; Cucina Colore, Town and Country and English Revival.
Mereway unveiled Cucina Colore’s new Q-Line collection at KBB in March, which was extremely well received. Last month they launched Cambridge, a modern shaker style kitchen, to both their Cucina Colore and Town and Country ranges. Mark says “We have high hopes for this new design as it is totally unique and offers retailers something very different, whilst not moving too far from what our customers are used to”.
The manufacturing base and joinery facility at their Amington Road plant means that Mereway are in control of their own destiny and can create kitchens which are truly bespoke – literally customising to order rather than delivering the hybrid offering of many competitors. This is most evident in the English Revival Signature and new Cucina Colore Q-Line ranges. [continued on the next page]
We look with confidence to the future, with continued investment in our people, products, infrastructure and retailer relationships.
MD Mark Mills
It can be difficult for a company established since 1986 to be seen as progressive, but innovation and creativity are things for which Mereway are renowned. They are a large company but do pride themselves on being flexible enough to pivot when needed. Being essentially a family business provides the personal touch and they are keen to never forget or lose sight of their roots.
Mark shares the fact that loyalty to customers and suppliers is very important to them. He feels this puts the business in a very good place moving forward and told View: “We look with confidence to the future, with continued investment in our people, products, infrastructure and retailer relationships.”
Focus on education...
In Issue 2 we looked at the impact that The Kitchen Education Trust is having. Now we turned to the allied body FIESTA – the furniture industry's initiative to develop skills, training and employment opportunities in the UK’s furniture industry.
The opportunity to make a difference
A career in the home and kitchen industry is exciting and rewarding – as of course we all know! Now more than ever it's important to enlist fresh talent and breathe new life into our businesses. Here's a recruitment video that FIESTA have developed to help the process...
View aims to bring insights from all corners of the industry so this issue we’re turning the spotlight on appliances. We caught up with David Woollcott Managing Director of Fisher & Paykel, UK & Europe to see how the shifting sands of 2020 has influenced their current thinking.
On the subject of how lockdown has changed the way we use our homes, David shares the notion that things will probably have to move away from concentrated investment in one open plan space, to a slightly fragmented use of appliances. At the premium edge of the market, he thinks there must be more consideration for convenience spread across smaller, quieter spaces which allow home offices to function effortlessly and Zoom calls to be conducted in peace! Fisher & Paykel is well placed to excel in the cleverly divided home with cooling and cooking solutions – neat chiller drawers or discreet oven units that can be incorporated into a small study, for instance. Everything for today’s multi-purpose home.
Open up to design freedom
Open up to design freedom ...continued
Staying at home 24/7 during the pandemic has seen dish washing patterns change. Two or three meals a day has inevitably led to increased loads and created a situation where the Fisher & Paykel double drawer washers really come into their own. These offer an answer to smaller volumes/greater frequency for energy and water savings. All this might be good for our bodies too – research by Fisher & Paykel shows that a regular drop-door style dishwasher typically requires seven ergonomic motions whereas their dish drawers cut this to just three movements.
It is clear that when it comes to product development Fisher & Paykel sits at the “pointy end of innovation” as David describes it. The brand has always been technologically very different but Fisher & Paykel now recognise that what they do has to transcend the technical. In acknowledging that food prep has changed to become a ‘team sport’, Fisher & Paykel have embraced the connected environment of people, food and design. The Social kitchen as they call it underpins their design philosophy and more on this approach can be found here
On commercial relationships David believes they need to engage with furniture manufacturers more holistically and that the process should “...all start with a really good conversation with the kitchen designer”. They are pivoting from the basic sale of an appliance towards delivering a full kitchen solution, therefore Fisher & Paykel have a policy of recruiting designers, architects and those with an appreciation of the whole being greater than the sum of its individual parts. This might be about precise details like a consistent handle grip or the fixed height of all handle rails. It’s part of a bigger picture in which a complete refrigeration package can cost up to £26,000.
A spirit of humility pervades the experience of dealing with Fisher & Paykel and that includes the understated appearance of their products. Whilst competitors deliberately dominate spaces, they are working hard to visually disappear – yet there’s no hiding the perfection!
can be re-used
by Linda Parker
Investing in a new kitchen is a big step, a financial commitment and sometimes it involves discarding a relatively acceptable kitchen. In many cases, it can mean that something decent is being wasted. We’ve been look- ing at ways of ensuring that the old kitchen that’s being replaced can find a new home, and how prospective purchasers of kitchens can keep an eye on the sustainability of their investment. Basically, if you’re buying a new kitchen, take the time to consider whether the old one can be sold on – it’s better than it ending up in a skip, and as you all know, at Blum we have a strong commitment to sustainability and recycling. Even if the outgoing kitchen isn’t top notch, it may still be worth contacting local charities or projects who may be able to make use of the no-longer-needed cabinets and surfaces. Or, try eBay, Gumtree or local social media groups. More importantly, there are several companies that specialise in selling used kitchens, either from private homes or from kitchen showrooms who are changing their displays. So if putting a ‘for sale’ sign on a display hasn’t worked, try one of the used kitchen websites. For buyers, remember that investing in an ex-showroom isn’t a half-bad idea – at the most it will have been used for staff lunches or the odd cooking demo!
Helen Lord, Founder, Used Kitchen Exchange, comments “For showrooms and manufacturers looking to reduce their carbon footprint, Used Kitchen Exchange (UKE) have a unique Kitchen Sustainability Calculator which measures the carbon savings when selling an ex display or customers’ used kitchen. Carbon savings made by our showroom partners so far have reached 16,200 tonnes, equivalent to 2500 carbon free years for a family of four. This is a fantastic contribution for kitchen business looking to become ‘carbon neutral’. In addition, when offering this service to a homeowner you are effectively giving them a ‘trade in value’ for their current kitchen – in a similar way to buying a new car. It’s a fantastic differentiator and win-win all round”.
James Saidman, joint MD of the Used Kitchen Hub comments “With the very important focus on saving the planet, kitchen companies are looking for ways to recycle their display kitchens rather than dispose or send to landfill. Specialists like Used Kitchen Hub are doing just this by buying ex-display kitchens from showrooms – and also good quality ones from homeowners who are refreshing their scheme - and then selling them on to a new home. This way, units and all materials can be recycled and given a new lease of life, which is good for the planet, and for the wallet too”.
This Modern Gloss Approved Used kitchen by Wren, the seller was recommended to Used Kitchen Exchange by their new kitchen provider, was sold for £8,000
Alno Handless, Approved Used kitchen, recommended to Used Kitchen Exchange by their new kitchen provider, was sold for £12,000
Hand painted in-frame Light Grey Shaker kitchen with granite surfaces, £5,000 from Used Kitchen Hub.
Further sources of used, pre-owned and ex-display kitchens:
Used Kitchen Exchange, has an ‘Approved’ scheme, is a Which? Trusted trader and sells new ex-display kitchens as well as used kitchens. Good website, packed with information and a very well-established business.
Pre Owned Kitchens Again, sellers of used and ex-display kitchens. Website is very clear and straightforward, and they have a grading system for each kitchen listed.
The Used Kitchen Company Second-hand and ex display/showroom kitchens available, and also includes the Kitchen Passport system, where all the relevant info about a kitchen is kept online to pass on to future buyers or owners of that kitchen.
Used Kitchen Hub Offer sales and dismantling services, and are also involved with the encouragement of Recycling Your Kitchen. Good visuals on the website (they are website only), with individual cabinets and appliances listed in each showroom entry.
from Amanda at Blum Experience Centre
Following on from last issue, I am sharing more of my top tips – the rules for making sure I get the most out of my kitchen!
Divide and conquer
Life is incredibly hectic, and we don’t have time to stress the little things. “Has anyone seen the bottle opener?” “I can’t find the peeler” “Where’s the Tupperware lid?” are just as common in other households as they are in mine. Without internal dividing systems, storage can be a constant game of hide and seek. These systems are an integral element of any kitchen design that is often not considered. Including these elements in your initial planning will take a good kitchen to a whole new level, allowing you to concentrate on enjoying the space created and the people in it.
Kitchens are the engine room of the home. Understanding the mechanics and what makes your kitchen tick is as important as how it looks. A shiny new car may look amazing but looking under the hood may reveal a different story! Miles per gallon and guarantees are all important questions you will no doubt ask. Why should your kitchen be any different? To ensure it will last life’s journey, you need to consider the fittings.
Does it come with a guarantee, is it going to perform under pressure? One of the biggest households purchases you’re likely to make and something we only plan 2 or 3 times in a lifetime. Don’t make the mistake of going on face value alone.
Quality of Living
Do your homework.... How many people live in your household? What are your buying habits? Who am I accommodating for? These are all things you should consider from the beginning and will be important factors that shape your result. For a design to be successful your kitchen should reflect and work with your lifestyle, not against it. Inform your designer. Forgetting about your 35-piece dinner set, that pot for making jam or the dog food you buy in 5KG bags will result in them not fitting and the space not working. For a great tailored outcome, consider your lifestyle and what makes it unique for a perfect fitting kitchen.
Blum UK, Mandeville Drive,
Kingston, Milton Keynes, MK10 0AW
Tel +44 1908 285700