Issue 117 June 2015
A quality installation
As a market leader in the UK boiler industry, Baxi places quality of product and service as paramount to its continued success
With a strong heritage dating back to 1866 when Richard Baxendale founded the company, Baxi has grown to become a global company supplying boilers to consumer and industrial markets. Employing around 6500 people worldwide, the company has manufacturing sites across Europe and sales offices across Europe, the Americas, Russia and China. Based in the UK, Baxi sits under the umbrella of Dutch based BDR Thermea, and operates three brands: Baxi, Potterton and Main Heating in the UK, with1500 employees spread across two manufacturing sites, customer contact centre, sales offices and training centres. At the heart of Baxi is its commitment to quality of product and service, and the core value is to make it easy for its customers throughout the supply chain. Continued focus on this value has earned the company an award winning reputation.
“We make sure that everything is of the Baxihighest quality,” confirms managing director, Paul Hardy. “We spend a lot of time making sure that quality is at the forefront of everything that we do. We don’t just test our boiler within the factory; we also monitor all of our equipment out in the field. This means we have the lowest failure rate record in the industry.” This strength of product quality is reinforced in the operations and manufacturing process employed by Baxi. “We don’t just assemble our boilers like our competition, we’re actually the only boiler manufacturer to still have a foundry,” highlights Paul. “So we manufacture heat exchangers, which are basically the engines within the boilers. We also export heat exchangers to our sister companies in the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey.
“Manufacturing this way brings us both cost savings and quality benefits, as we are able to manufacture in large quantities to satisfy our sister companys’ demands throughout Europe, and it can drive efficiencies through the factory.” Aside from this, black belt six sigma operatives and the employment of lean manufacturing support the Baxi production facility. “In this programme we examine all of our processes within the factory to ensure that quality is maintained throughout,” he continues.
Supporting the quality of product is the company’s quality of service. “We have a very strong customer service department called Baxi Customer Support,” explains Paul. “We have 250 engineers out on the road ensuring that all our customers get the best aftercare with our products. The customer is at the heart of everything we do. We do a lot of customer insight, so our marketing team will have extended programmes where we are constantly asking for feedback from our installers, our supply chain and, most importantly, from our customers.” By offering such a service the company works to meet the vision of its strap line: ‘We make it easy.’
Testifying to the company’s commitment to product and service is the wealth of awards Baxi has won and been nominated for in recent years. Most notable amongst awards for customer service, green manufacturing and supply chain partnerships is the Queen’s award for Enterprise in Innovation, which the company won in 2012. “We developed and manufactured the first domestic combined heat and power boiler that was available to the UK market,” outlines Paul. The awards not only give recognition to the company on a public stage, but also serve to realise the efforts it puts into ensuring high expectations are being met.
One significant pressure ever present on boiler manufacturers is the constant focus on energy legislation and this will come into another stage of fruition in September 2015, when the new ErP (Energy-related Products) Directive is implemented. “We’ve known about this legislation that’s been driven from Europe for the last three years, so as an organisation our R&D departments have been working non-stop to ensure that we understand the legislation and that its requirements are met,” explains Paul. “We’ve had to make changes to the products to make sure newly regulated components can be incorporated. As a result we have just been through one of our biggest field test processes ever to make sure that all the changes were right. This process then culminates in us launching our new range of ErP compliant boilers from the first of June.” Abiding by its commitment to service, this change in regulation has also prompted the company to train not only its own internal engineers, but also external installers through a number of regional training centres. “We have undergone a massive training programme to make sure that everyone understands the new regulations,” he adds.
The future is defined by both its own development and by playing a leading role within the industry as it moves forward. Paul sees the need to continue building the brand reputation within the market place, as well as looking ahead at an industry that is becoming increasingly aware of data. “There is a lot of emphasis at the moment on looking at connectivity in our boilers so that it is easier for consumers to manage their heating systems and gas consumption,” he says. Aside from this, Paul also explains the importance to increase communication with the Government: “As a market leader we try to help 65the Government shape its future energy policies. We engage with our local MP and other industry and Government organisations on a regular basis so they can understand and represent us in parliament and help the Government with their challenges in the future.”
Products: Boiler manufacturer
Employees: UK – approx 1500 employees