With a dedicated workforce at its heart, British manufacturer William Turner is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history, filled with new opportunities and milestones…
Exciting times are ahead for school tie and accessories supplier William Turner. The company’s main development is motivated by the lease-end of its factory in Colne, Lancashire. Seizing the opportunity to relocate, William Turner is moving to a brand new factory in March, which is located in Nelson, not too far away from its current site in Colne.
“Our previous factory lease in Colne was due to expire and a site became available to buy a few miles away,” explains William Turner’s production director, John Turner. “We employ a lot of incredibly skilled people locally, so this was a great way to move into a better spec premises and have full control of all aspects of our production without causing any disruption to our dedicated staff. It’s an exciting time for the company”.
In addition to being slightly closer to the company’s Stockport offices and warehouse, the new Nelson factory is primed to provide multiple benefits.
Along with potential to increase output, the new site – fully owned by William Turner – will help the company consolidate and protect UK manufacturing as well as giving it more control and stability in the market; important factors considering the results of William Turner’s recent customer survey revealed that over 50 per cent of its customers ranked ‘lead times’ in their top three most important supplier factors.
“This is what is key about being a UK manufacturer,” adds John Turner. “That we’re able to offer lower minimums, and focus on quality control and our supply chain.”
Following the transition to the new site, William Turner’s doors will be open once again for customer tours of the factory, with bookings being taken for later in the year after the busy Back to School period.
“We’re really looking forward to getting all of the staff together, initially to mark the opening of the new site, and then, of course, we’re excited to show it off to our customers,” says John Turner. “The Nelson site is a great achievement for the business and it’s only through a collaborative effort from everyone at William Turner that we’re able to purchase the new factory.”
In addition to the new factory, William Turner has also added new products across its ranges. The company’s 2018 schoolwear brochure, which was previewed at the 20th anniversary Schoolwear Show in October, provided customers with a first look at the new lines, which include hats, pre-school bags and new design junior and infant hi viz backpacks.
Aside from making around 40,000 ties a week in its UK-based factories, William Turner also produces UK-made wool scarves. Sourced from the finest Saxony merino wool and with the option to add crest embroidery, the scarves are a well-suited addition to any organisation looking to promote a sophisticated identity.
Finally, William Turner’s bottle range has been extended to tap into today’s healthy lifestyle culture with the addition of protein shakers and fruit infusers, all suitable for printing with school logos.
While much of the company’s focus for early 2018 is on the new factory, another spotlight is the company’s sales director, Andy Smith, who celebrates 40 years with the business this month.
It was in January 1978 that 19-year-old Smith made his first appearance with William Turner & Son. During his time with the business, Smith has been the force behind many a new product line, including breaking the business into bags, which are now one of William Turner’s core product ranges. Having learned the business from the ground up, Smith eventually earned the position of company sales director.
“Andy is a formidable force within William Turner,” says John Turner. “He has a constant drive that is personally inspiring. He never stops working on behalf of our customers to meet the ever-changing demands, whether that be a new product or improved service. He always puts the customer first and has been at the heart of our success for the whole of his 40 years.”
William Turner’s managing director, Daniel Turner, adds: “Even after 40 years, Andy is still so full of enthusiasm for sales and passionate about our industry. He gives 110 per cent to everything he does and is a firm believer in building relationships as the way to grow the business. Having Andy alongside John and I has been like having another member of the family at work – we are extremely grateful for his outstanding contribution over so many years.”
Having worked beside the founders of the company, William and Keith Turner, from very early on in the firm’s history, Smith has earned a special place in the business – and among its staff.
“Andy’s main contribution has been to bring his infectious enthusiasm to developing and increasing sales year after year,” comments William Turner’s co-founder, Keith Turner. “This, and his great loyalty, has helped provide continuity and stability to a growing, fast-changing company. He has also been the driving force behind the ever-widening product range at William Turner, being heavily involved at the outset of an idea – often his – to that product eventually being added to the range. Andy’s ethos has always been the same from the very beginning – to be fair, to be honest and to deal with everybody in the same friendly and open way. It is an ethos that he spreads by example throughout the company.”
The aforementioned company ethos, taking the acronym of P.A.C.E – Pride, Accountability, Commitment and Excellence – is something key drivers of William Turner, such as Andy Smith, strive to uphold and pass on to newer members of the business to ensure everyone at William Turner adheres to the philosophy.
While passionate about its ethos and holding onto its family values, William Turner is also constantly looking for new ways to develop and push forward with innovative technologies and processes.
The business’s 50th anniversary next year will provide the perfect opportunity to plot a course for future growth, while also reflecting on founding principles and celebrating what has already been achieved.
“We’re working on a dedicated campaign to mark our 50th anniversary, which will of course tie in with the Schoolwear Show in October 2018,” says Hayley Bonnick, William Turner’s marketing manager. “There are a few things in the pipeline that I don’t want to reveal just yet, but we’re really excited to be marking half a century of William Turner. We’ll also be celebrating the milestone internally, which will be a great opportunity to get everyone in the company together from all three of our sites.”
For the next couple of months, William Turner will be busy working on a smooth transition to its new site, as well as investing into its digital strategies.
Long term, its aim is for a thriving Back to School that benefits all, something the company plans to support through investment into its supply chain, further improvements to its manufacturing efficiency and its ongoing support of UK retailers.