Since its formation in 2005, Bolton-based JCW Acoustic Supplies, has grown to become one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of soundproofing and sound absorption products, with a £4m turnover.

After completing an extensive 12-month review of the business, JCW Acoustic Supplies has announced a new sales philosophy. Laura Keegan commercial manager explained: “This multi-channel approach meant that until now we have been growing our business but sending mixed messages to our core customer base, the builders’ merchant and contracts customer.

“Historically we have dealt directly with individual contractor and sub-contractor enquiries, provided technical support and advice on their project, and in most cases, supplied recommended products direct to site from our own warehouse stocks. While this has been no secret to our merchant and contractor customers, it has meant that the builders’ merchant who has a contractor lead for soundproofing products has occasionally been reluctant to speak to JCW, ask our advice or recommend our products for fear that we might take the lead and supply direct.

“Alternatively the contractor might have a preferred supplier relationship with a particular builders’ merchant outlet which might or might not stock our products. If this preferred supplier is a national merchant group and does stock our products, it will almost certainly be able to provide a supply point closer to projects than our distribution base in Bolton, saving transportation costs.”

Ms Keegan added: “In addition to these external issues with customers, it also became clear to me that we had internal conflicts, for example, typically around assigning incoming leads from our website either to our distribution sales or contract sales team. Some merchant groups also have their own dedicated contractor sales specialist who is talking to contractor customers. By offering an impartial and professional technical help and advice service on soundproofing, we can help the builders’ merchants own contractor sales person win incremental business and get a multiplier effect on our sales effort at the same time.”

Driving the new strategy is customer service

The new strategy will give increased focus and impetus to the business as follows:

  • The sales effort will now be exclusively targeted at the builders’ merchant or specialist insulation merchant, removing any market place confusion about where our priorities lay and building trust
  • Domestic leads generated by the Acoustic Supplies and Soundproofyourhome websites will still be fielded internally, but forwarded on to the customers’ nearest preferred builders’ merchant, once the customers soundproofing requirement has been discussed and a solution recommended and agreed
  • Acoustic fencing and sound absorption panels will be the only product streams retained within the business because of their complexity and specialist nature.

Investing in customer service

Alongside the pick-up in the construction market, JCW Acoustic Supplies significantly expanded its distribution sales team earlier this year with the appointment of three regional field sales representatives.

Simultaneously, the size of its back office team has been increased to help provide smoother order processing, logistics support and improved customer relationship management.

“As an established player in the soundproofing products market, JCW already enjoyed “approved supplier” status with leading national merchants like Travis Perkins, Encon/Nevill Long and the National Buying Group,” said Ms Keegan, adding: ”Increasing our visibility and support for this sector has already helped grow our merchant turnover significantly.”

In a major internal reorganisation, Andy Critchley, who previously headed up contractor sales, will switch roles to provide in depth technical support for the distribution team in an office and field-based capacity. He will also retain responsibility in house for the sales of acoustic fencing to commercial customers.

Scot Madden and Mark Wright will advise domestic customers on which JCW acoustic products they need to solve their noise problems. The active enquiry will then be passed on to the customers’ preferred builders’ merchant branch. Mr Madden will also sell acoustic fencing to the domestic market.

Investing in manufacturing

Significant investment has also recently been made in additional manufacturing capability with the installation of a new laminating machine at the company’s Bolton site.

“Our upgraded manufacturing capability and resultant improvement in quality and stock control has made it possible to introduce to the market a promise to supply any soundproofing product on a maximum two to three-day timescale,” said Ms Keegan. “Together with the organisational changes we have made to underwrite our new sales strategy, I feel we now offer not only the best soundproofing products, but even better levels of customer care, service and support than any of our competitors,” she concluded.