2016 to date has seen very interesting developments in the UK Voltage Stabiliser market.
In February, after being in business for just under 70 years, Watford Control Instruments, having struggled in recent times following the death of Stephen Brod its owner and founder, went into administration and over the summer Claude Lyons, probably the UK’s longest serving Voltage Stabiliser provider, announced that, after nearly 100 years in business the shareholders would be closing the doors of the company for good at the end of August.
While, over the summer, the appointed administrators at Watford Control sold off the business to a transformer manufacturer and energy management consultancy consortium, most of the staff and all of the engineering design team were laid off – not being offered alternative positions in the new business when relocating from its Corby manufacturing plant of 28 years.
For us here at Ashley-Edison (UK) it was very sad news to hear.
Over the last 50 years, several members of our senior management team have known and worked with many of the staff at both Claude Lyons and Watford Control who lost their jobs.
Our industry has lost a huge amount of industry ‘know-how’ both in terms of manufacturing and power supply problem solving skills.
Were we surprised at these recent developments? Sadly NO.
Unfortunately we consider the realignment in the UK manufacturing voltage stabiliser sector as being a long overdue market correction resulting from the ever rising manufacturing costs here in the UK. However sad as it may be for UK manufacturing, the simple truth is that to compete in today’s truly international market place you cannot be straddled with uncompetitive manufacturing costs.
For us, at Ashley-Edison (UK), as a leading international supplier and manufacturer of Voltage Stabilisers, we realised 15 years ago that to be truly competitive on the ever growing international stage we would have to relocate our manufacturing facilities overseas to a more cost efficient environment. This was not a step we took lightly as we were unwilling to make such a decision unless we were 100% sure the move would not be to the detriment of the Quality of our product offering.
For our operations here in the UK, we realised that we needed to ensure that we structured our business around our fundamental core business strengths. As a result, today, primary design, international sales and support functions are all based at our Head Office here in the UK and our dedicated manufacturing operations are located in the Far East.
For us this structure represents a fusion of the best in UK design and marketing expertise, coupled with the manufacturing prowess of the Far East. It ensures that, as a UK based company, we can truly hold our own on the ever competitive international and local UK stages. As far as the Quality of our offering is concerned, today we are the only provider of Voltage Stabiliser and Power Line Conditioning systems who, because of the unquestionable faith we have in the quality of our design and build, we are willing and able to offer a truly market leading warranty of up to 5 years on our leading brands.
Had Watford and Claude Lyons fully embraced the need to play to their strengths and fully taken on board the needs of their predominantly global traditional client base, perhaps the unfortunate realignment in the UK market could have been side-stepped and the loss of all those jobs and irreplaceable skills, developed over all those years, could have been avoided.
Moving forward in a post ‘Brexit’ world, we envisage that the need to be even more competitive both at home and overseas will be paramount. The recent realignment here in the UK market will inevitably create a void in UK manufactured supply and our international competitors, especially the Italians, will look to fill the gap.
For all those companies and organisations looking for a UK designed product, as an alternative to what may have been sourced from others in the past, we sincerely hope we can encourage them to look and see what we are able to offer at Ashley-Edison (UK). The sheer know-how and the skills of our people in solving the power problems our customers face on a daily basis are, more than ever, truly unsurpassable and unquestionably market leading.
We look forward to being of service to all our existing clients and potentially new ones in the not too distant future.
The Ashley-Edison (UK) Team