At the end of last year, Francis Kitchin and I were invited to go and take a look around the new head office and warehousing facility of XL Joinery. We’ve been working with the team there on Carpenters’ Talk Group, in an effort to create a stronger relationship between the company and the tradespeople that use their products. XL Joinery supply over 400,000 doors per year through their network of Builders Merchants and retail customers from their new facility in West Yorkshire so we thought it must be worth a look. Here’s what we found.
A purpose built facility
XL Joinery have been operating in West Yorkshire for over 25 years and recently moved from 130-year-old premises to their new purpose-built facility. The site is really well placed, straight off the M62 at Birstall, making deliveries to and from the site really convenient. XL Joinery sits in a total of 5.5 acres, with the warehousing unit taking up just over 3 acres of that, providing around 140,000 sq. feet of space for the business. So, a big unit already but with plenty of room for growth. With the added benefit of being designed by XL Joinery to suit the needs of the business exactly!
Once we entered the building,
We were taken into the Showroom where a range of XL’s internal and external door styles is displayed. The new ‘Colours by XL’ range is showcased along with some of the accessories available within the range.
Whilst there we met with Tim Wood, Marketing Manager, who spoke about XL Joinery’s passion for what they do as well as the company’s 5 Core Values and how they hope to achieve them. We discussed XL Joinery’s desire to build a more direct link with tradespeople and develop its ethos for great customer service. After all, the carpenter who fits the door is the one who knows whether it is a quality door or not!
After a great conversation with Tim and his colleagues; Jade Samuel – Brand Manager, Mike Morris – Commercial Director, Matt Speck – Sales Director and Charlie Sykes – Marketing Assistant (and a rather nice lunch) it was time for Dave Crossley – Continual Improvement Manager, to show us around the warehousing unit.
An impressive warehouse.
What was obvious as soon as Dave started speaking, was his passion for what he did. It became clear that he had been hugely responsible for the design of the unit and had the exact knowledge to produce a set up that did precisely what XL Joinery needed to be as efficient as possible in the management of their products.
The warehousing unit has the capacity to provide bulk storage for up to 200,000 doors, with 6,000 available racking spaces. These spaces are serviced by a fleet of 20 electric fork lift trucks and 2 combi lift trucks which are helping to reduce the company’s carbon footprint as part of its mission to be completely carbon neutral.
But that’s not all!
Not only does the unit provide a huge storage capacity for the doors they supply, it also houses a Joinery Workshop. This includes the full range of internal and external doors and door sets, along with the glazing and ironmongery options available to order. We watched glazing being installed on doors ready for picking for orders, as well as composite door sets being put together complete with the ironmongery specified in the order. Again, what was clear was that the people working within the company had a passion for where they worked, as well as a desire to produce work to the best of their ability.
We then moved onto the in-house Spray Booth, with its dedicated prepping area. Ben Wayman, Spray Shop Manager, talked us through the process for each Colour Range door. It can take anything between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the door style with each door being sanded twice before being sprayed for a really flawless finish. The doors are then kiln dried for up to 3 hours to ensure they are thoroughly dried before they leave the spray shop. The spray shop currently produces an average of 350 doors per month ready for dispatch and paint touch up kits are sent out free of charge with orders of 5 doors or more.
Finally, we were shown the dispatch area, where the doors are picked and packed, ready for loading and delivery. Here, each order is logged and checked electronically by the guys in the warehouse.
So, what did we think?
Both Francis and I were struck by how big the warehouse was, as well as XL Joinery’s commitment to running a quality, efficient and clean operation. The whole building was purposeful with every section of the space organised to its maximum capability. The feeling of pride, not only in the work but also the premises was obvious, it showed in the standard of the finish on the doors as well as every other aspect of the production process that we saw.
The whole ethos of the building was one of respect and of working together, from the bright open plan office spaces right through to the break out areas, resulting in what feels like a family business, because everyone has pride and ownership of their stage of the process.
A really impressive facility, producing a really impressive product, why don’t you take a look at the range of products on the XL Joinery website for yourself?
Builders’ Talk Group