Ian Monk, chief executive and founder of bathrooms.com.
Bathrooms.com moves manufacturing from China to UK
Published: 24 July, 2013
Bathrooms.com is to start manufacturing 25% of its products in the UK. The decision to move to domestic manufacturing means the online company can now take products from design through to production in just six weeks.
“The decision to move manufacturing from China to the UK was a huge one,” explained Lucy Powell, buying director of bathrooms.com. “The process of curating new designs takes up to six months overseas, but we are able to bring several complete ranges to the market in under two months using British manufacturers. This allows us to be leaders in design rather than followers.
“The speed to market of new design changes in export pricing have meant that this was both a tactical and financial move that will also improve internal communications and customer service.”
The company has also said that it will increase revenues in its bathroom furniture category by 50% within 12 months, without increasing the costs to consumers – this will come from a combination of increasing sales in bespoke products and attracting new customers.
Bathrooms.com is not alone in this – a study from the Manufacturing Advisory Service found that confidence among British manufacturing SMEs is at a 12-month high, with nearly two thirds of companies questioned expecting to increase sales over the next six months.
Other highlights of bathroom.com's decision include:
- The initial contract will see bathrooms.com spend £2.5m with UK manufacturers over the next 12 months
- All new products manufactured in the UK will use sustainable materials
- The move will increase speed of delivery to customers; delivery from China normally takes six to 12 weeks whereas UK manufacturers can turn products around in one to two weeks
- The two factories being used are Dash Virdee and Collexion, located in the West Midlands
- This initial investment will allow the company to fully test out the benefits of British manufacturing with the aspiration to move further work to UK soil in the next two years.
Ian Monk, chief executive and founder of bathrooms.com, said: “The home improvement market is highly competitive, with internet shoppers able to go virtually anywhere for the latest designs and trends. Long gone are the days where one range would last a decade; consumers want the latest designs at an ever-quicker pace. Therefore it is important that we can turn around certain product ranges as quickly as possible.”
Jax Art owner Dash Virdee, one of the UK suppliers for bathrooms.com, added: “As a result of the new business, we’ve been investing in new machines and we have had to recruit extra staff. The new business also means the rest of the team feel more secure about their futures and are enjoying earning some extra money for their holidays with the overtime hours now available!”