UK: Pipe Center and Climate Center, the UK’s leading heating and cooling distributors, have announced the creation of a new trading leadership team.
Led by recently appointed trading director Chris Banner, it will be responsible for delivering Pipe and Climate Center’s ambitious sales and service agenda, via field sales teams and the nationwide branch network.
The move is a further refinement of the new senior management structure put in place earlier this year by managing director Lee Jon Newman. “Trading is a key focus for us, as it is where we connect with our customers. The aim is to make sure everything we do across the business helps customers win, and that we deliver our promise, every time,” he said.
Under the new structure, Robert Franklin, the national sales manager for refrigeration, becomes Climate Center development director. Also in the new trading team is new appointment Robb Alsem, who joins Pipe Center and Climate Center from Plumbase Industrial, where he was UK sales director. He has previously had director roles at Monodraught, Georg Fischer and BSS Industrial.
Other members of the new team are industrial development director Marcus Sampson, branch director Mike Russell and national accounts director Geoff Stone.
Commenting on the change, Chris Banner said: “I am delighted to be heading up such an experienced and energetic team of ‘big hitters’. Between us we have a formidable combination of senior management experience and deep knowledge of the industry. We will be making sure that delivering excellent service to customers is the centre stage issue across the business, and that everything we do is aligned to meeting their needs.”
Chris Banner was recruited earlier in the year from HSS, where he had previously been a colleague of md Lee Jon Newman. The two were part of the team that turned HSS Hire into a focused and highly successful sales-led organisation.
With HSS being a significant supplier of temporary cooling and heating, plus tools and ancillaries to the building services industry, Chris Banner had already gained an insight into the dynamics of the building services and cooling markets before joining Pipe Center and Climate Center.
“It was a useful introduction to some of the major contractors, and the language and mind-set of the trade,” he says. “It highlighted the importance of providing specialist knowledge and support, particularly on the technical front, and the absolute necessity of delivering top quality service. In a market where technology and products are near universal, service and support are the great differentiators, and can make or break a business. Recognising this, and applying it, is potentially transformational. It is central to my mission at Pipe Center and Climate Center.”
Chris Banner sees Pipe Center and Climate Center’s benefitting from its three main strengths: national coverage, the knowledge and experience of its staff and the company’s flexibility and ability to embrace new ideas.
But improvements will be made: “The focus is on developing and deepening relationships with customers and suppliers, delivering great service, and ensuring we have the right products in stock, in the right place.,” Chris Banner insists. “It is not rocket science, but you absolutely have to get these basics right. The business is built on the foundation of intelligent, well-managed stock and high quality relationships – with customers as well as suppliers.
“Customers will receive improved on-time in-full deliveries. They will be closer to us and our teams, and be better informed about what we can offer. In turn, we will be better informed about their needs and how we can help them succeed. Phone calls to branches will be answered quicker. Communication overall will be more productive.”
As part of the initiative to further improve customer support, Pipe Center and Climate Center recently invested in doubling its central estimating team.
The move will accelerate response times to project quotations nationally, and give additional capacity to focus on growing business in London and the South East.