SOUTH YORKSHIRE S73 0UW
Tel: 01226 340222
Fax: 01226 340999
Suppliers of: pipe couplings flexible pipe coupling adapters pipe connectors
Flexseal designs and manufactures the most comprehensive range of fully approved low and non-pressure flexible couplings in the marketplace. Flexseal couplings are suitable for sewerage, drainage, plumbing and vent systems, and can be used with plastic, clay, concrete, cast iron and steel pipes
Flexseal has diversified into channel drainage, plumbing couplings, saddle connections and other pipe repair systems.
As a specialist manufacturer and distributor We supply our range of products across three key areas which are broken down into:
Civils & Drainage:
Flexseal Civils & Drainage include the company’s core range of drainage couplings, as well as our range of lateral connections and pipe seals. This is the area for which the company has built its reputation for excellent quality products and market orientated focus.
Flexseal Civils & Drainage products include:
Flexseal Plumbing will comprise of our comprehensive range of smaller diameter couplings, which the Fernco Group manufactures in both EPDM rubber and PVC, as well as a portfolio of other associated plumbing products.
Flexseal plumbing products include:
Flexseal Water Management provide products ranging from domestic-level flood control all the way to large-scale river management items make up Flexseal’s water management product category. At the smaller end of the range, we offer valves for domestic properties for new-build or retrofit work. At the larger end, we can supply specified products for river management or sewage works directly to site, but purchased through merchants, as with all of our ranges.
The Flexseal water management category includes:
With a reputation for supplying high quality products, Flexseal offers a service to match and operates with a spirit of innovation across all areas of the company. Flexseal’s focus is to add value to all the links in the supply chain, from re-sellers to end users of our products.
Flexseal is a UK-based company; a core member of the Fernco Group. The Group is headquartered in the USA, with operations in Europe, Australia and North, Central and South America, offering an extensive range of inter-related products across the Globe.
Flexseal MD contributes to the Parliamentary Review Document
Flexseal has, this year, been invited to contribute to The Parliamentary Review, a document distributed to over half a million leading policy makers. The aim of the document is to demonstrate best business practice to influence future business policies and Flexseal were asked to submit a piece for the Manufacturing and Services section. Here is what we've published in the document...
Flexseal is a 30-year-old company that designs and manufactures the most comprehensive range of drainage connections in the marketplace. Alongside its European subsidiary companies, the group leads the market and supplies infrastructure projects across the world. With a turnover of £17million, the company (based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire) isn’t huge, but the value it brings to its customers and the UK’s critical drainage infrastructure is massive. Lee Pashley became managing director in 2015; here he explains how he’s put a well performing business under the microscope and invested in some key areas to get more value than ever before.
The business will be celebrating its 30th year next year and I’ve spent the past 16 of those years in various sales roles. One of the first major challenges I faced as managing director was defending our position in the marketplace. As market leader serving approximately 75-80 per cent of the UK demand we had everything to lose and our direct competitors were becoming more active and more competitive on price.
With an already keen sense for sales and marketing, I threw myself into building a talented team within these functions and creating a joint sales and marketing strategy that put the customer at the heart of everything we do. I was now able to instil this culture of ‘customer-first’ into areas of the business that had never seen themselves as customer-facing. I wanted to ensure that everyone in the business was empowered to make positive changes to impact on the businesses offerings to customers.
An internal culture movement
My reaction to this new challenge of more aggressive competition all started with labels on delivery boxes. A simple despatch process used to be hand writing the contents onto the outside of the box using a marker pen, a manual process that meant every single box looked different and, in most cases, messy, like it had been vandalised with graffiti. I remember thinking to myself: “is this the image of a market-leading company?” We decided urgently to develop a simple printed label that clearly showed the contents of a box - an immediate improvement. This may have been a small step, but it turned out to be the beginning of a big movement within our organisation; I soon realised that critiquing every process in the business and making small improvements wherever we could would have benefits on our performance, our image in the market and help us to differentiate from our competitors.
We challenged every member of staff within the company to think of ideas for continuous improvements and no matter how small they were we implemented them.
"Customers were, for the first time, seeing exactly how Flexseal added value to their businesses"
It wasn’t enough to just make the improvements - we had to tell our customers about them. Our previous message out to the marketplace was arrogant and focused on our market leader status without telling customers why we’re market leaders. I worked closely with our marketing team to improve our message. We had to focus on all the reasons why our customers continue to use Flexseal’s products and services. The result was a clear message of ‘why’ followed by a new strapline ‘Another way Flexseal adds value’. The impact of this on our customer perception was huge and strengthened our commercial relationships as customers were, for the first time, seeing exactly how Flexseal added value to their businesses.
With a firm culture now in place that consisted of a flatter approach to employee hierarchy and more employee involvement in business improvements, we had internal driven changes covered. It was now time to put more focus on what our customers wanted and to learn more from them. We created a series of customer surveys that asked for feedback on how they thought we could improve our offerings to them. This gave our teams a second stream of ideas that were risk free because the improvements that flowed from them were coming in directly from our customers, so we knew they would have a positive impact.
Our innovations strategy has seen a shift because of inbound customer insights and feedback. Our research and development team is more collaborative than ever before and is focused on developing new products based on the needs of the market. We ask the obvious questions: does this product solve a real problem; is it easy to use; will it save the installer time or money? .
This constant flow of ideas and implementation over the past three years has resulted in a greater level of customer engagement, improved customer perception, increased new product development, improvements to customer service, development of new customer tools, more reliable production processes and many more. All of which is communicated back to our customers through an increased level of channels and points of contact.
Flexseal at 30
The right teams who are passionate, care about the business and want to see it improve are the drivers behind these improvements. The senior management team instils a culture of rewarding successes. We constantly celebrate these successes with BBQ’s, pizza days, fun activities etc. We also celebrate the personal milestones of our people such as work anniversaries, and birthdays.
Our business continues to grow despite an increasingly competitive market and I believe the steps we’ve taken over the past three years have significantly contributed to this. For this I can’t thank our employees, suppliers and of course our customers enough. We do and will continue to engineer new ways of connecting drainage and sewer pipes with a view to constantly improving the UK’s drainage infrastructure.
If I could distil the reasons for our success over the past three years, it’s down to asking the right questions, listening and not being afraid to take action.
Flexseal uses its 'customer-first' culture to support stockists
Since its inception in 1989, Flexseal has been at the heart of the civils and drainage sectors, aiming to play a ‘vital part in shaping the way contractors repair and refurbish drainage and sewer pipelines’. PBM takes a closer look at the brand name which is reportedly the ‘go-to for any connection required for a plain ended gravity pipeline’.
With a track record stretching back almost 30 years, Flexseal highlights its strong strategic relationships with UK builders’ merchants as a key reason for its success. As a longstanding member of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), the company states it has always been committed to supporting its reseller partners, working closely with them to shift with the changing demands of the end-users.
Managing Director Lee Pashley has been with the business for 16 years, and he explained some of the changes he’s seen and implemented during that time: “We’ve always distributed via the builders’ merchant and it’s always been a big focus for us. It’s a big task growing our customer base as large as we have without damaging our service levels – and one that we couldn’t have achieved without making some changes along the way.
“Our most significant strategy to achieving this has been in our people; we have quite a unique culture and one that empowers our people with the skills and experiences to make a difference – and one that’s always with a ‘customer-first’ view.”
The firm employs approximately 60 people in the UK, many of which are long-serving and have helped Flexseal reach a record number of distribution partners to-date. Managing the ever-changing demands of a large number of customers can be challenging, so the company has implemented new strategies to service these customers in a way they hope is ‘consistent, fair and adds value’.
“I’ve challenged my team to modernise our business and use technology to manage our growth and offerings to customers.” Explained Lee, who further stated that modernisation is a key focus for the next 15-year business plan.
Ricky Hasprey, National Sales Manager, shared how he’s taken on the challenge and is adding new service provisions with the aim of adding value to the customer base. He said: “We work closely with our marketing team to collate market insights and customer feedback to then make improvements wherever we can. When we analysed the feedback that was coming into the business, it clearly pointed out to us that additional training was at the top of a lot of our customers’ agendas – we recognise this is also a hot topic industry-wide.”
Flexseal offers in-branch practical training for its customers but recognises that this can present certain logistical issues for time-pressed merchants. Presenting a solution, Ricky said: “To further improve our training package we’ve now developed an online training tool called Flexseal Academy. (academy.flexseal.co.uk) This new tool can instantly give all our customers access to training materials; a service that we’ve never been able to offer before. The content is very much tailored to sales tips and tactics as well as industry standards and changes.”
Flexseal Academy on a range of devices PRESThe Flexseal Academy (academy.flexseal.co.uk) will be an extension of the supplier’s established training offering led by its team of experts. The online platform allows the company to react to and communicate changes that affect the pipe connections industry, aiming to keep builders’ merchants at the forefront of any changes.
This is not the only example of the company using technology to add customer focused tools to its service offerings. It has also recently introduced a Product Selector App and website (findmy.flexseal.co.uk) which allows the user to find compatible products for connection requirements. The user can enter the sizes of two pipes they need to connect,
and the system will automatically display the products that
are compatible with those pipe sizes.
“Our merchant customers have welcomed the Product Selector tool as it made specifying couplings quicker and easier than ever before and the usage statistics prove that it’s a real hit with them.” explained Ricky.
With a large distribution network in place, the supplier is committed to providing additional support to builders’ merchants and their staff to prove the Flexseal brand is one worth investing in. And it believes that by implementing the right tools and technology, its builders’ merchant customers will have the opportunity to maximise sales and growth.
MD Lee Pashley concluded: “For almost 30 years Flexseal has done an excellent job in increasing our distribution and we believe it’s now time to put more focus on supporting the sales of our builders’ merchant customers. I firmly believe that technology can play a big part in that and with further investment into the business, our service offerings will continue to strengthen and grow.”