Flexibility and the need to react quickly to changes in the industry are both key elements of any successful relationship but there are numerous other attributes which make a partnership really work as I discovered when I visited Malvern boilers.
Malvern Boilers was set up in 1991 to design and produce appliances for the domestic market. Since then a lot has changed but it is still a small privately owned company whose speciality is niche, low volume manufacturing.
Perhaps one of the biggest steps which brought them into the commercial market was in 1997 when they partnered with Potterton Commercial to manufacture a range of commercial boilers. This led to an introduction to Andrews Water Heaters in 2005 and the subsequent manufacturing by the company of the Queens Award winning MAXXflo range.
The relationship with Baxi Commercial Division (BCD) has gone from strength to strength and according to Managing Director Nick Perry, the reasons for this are very simple – trust, respect and innovation. Nick says: “A great deal of time, effort and money goes into new product development and therefore it is imperative that you have a mutual trust and respect
“This is paramount within our own business because we all understand the benefits of getting behind a project and really making it work. We are essentially a group of engineers who find solutions to problems through new product innovation, but the only way that we can do this is by working together, focussing on the challenges in the market and finding the right solution.”
Attention to detail
It is this approach which has proved to be such a strength in the partnership between Malvern Boilers and BCD as Paul Hardy, Managing Director of Baxi Commercial Division explains: “Malvern Boilers understand the way the market is going and the challenges which we face in meeting the Government targets and they have the ability to develop new products which meet that need. As a small company they also have the ability to react quickly to changes which means that we can get products to market quicker and meet the needs of our customers.
“But perhaps what is equally important in this partnership is the fact that we share the same business culture and a mutual respect for the part that each company plays in getting the product to market.”
Seize the moment
Nobody can underestimate the value of a good partnership and it is things like culture and meeting demand which play a very important role in new product development. But you can never underestimate the role which trust plays in the partnership which became very apparent with the introduction of the iHE, a high efficiency condensing stainless steel combination boiler, in March 2012.
Nick says: “We were constantly amazed by the fact that large domestic boilers were being used in small commercial applications as a low cost solution, but in a lot of respects this made perfect sense because installers understood the concept of combi boilers. As a result we saw a new opportunity for the market with a dedicated solution that met the needs of the small commercial sector but which satisfied all of the demands of the installer.
“From this the concept for the iHE was born and following an extensive period of customer and market research by Baxi, we were able to start production of the first combi commercial boiler on the market.
“Developing such a new product is one of our key strengths but we are not a marketing led company and this is why the partnership with Baxi works well. We each have an area of expertise and by putting the two areas together we can offer something which is far greater than the sum of the two parts.”
The development of the iHE is just one example of a partnership that really works well and proves that flexibility is key to success. Paul says: “For me the success of a good partnership is all about seizing the moment. When we were in the development process of the iHE we were focussed firmly on making the job of the installer easier because that was the feedback that we were receiving from the market. We were able to feed this information to Nick and his team who could make the necessary changes.
“It is this flexibility which allows us to stay ahead of our competition and means that we are able to be the first to market with new and innovative products. BCD has a long history and a lot of expertise in packaged solutions, they are tried and tested and we know they work and that they are what the installer wants. By working with the team at Malvern Boilers we are able to match this experience with their innovation and provide the iHE – a solution which the market needs and wants.
It is not often that you come across such a successful partnership, or indeed such a strange one, because as companies go they are poles apart. But perhaps this is exactly the reason why it works so well. Malvern Boilers is focussed on the creation of new technology and developing products for the future while Baxi Commercial Division is focussed on getting this innovative technology to market – put together the two companies complement each other excellently.
So while they may not have a huge amount in common it is safe to say that the one focus which they do share is the desire to bring new innovation and technology to the market. I am sure therefore that we can expect to see some exciting developments over the coming months, exactly what these are however I am afraid I can’t say as both Paul and Nick are remaining very tight lipped about what might be in the pipeline.