ESAB has appointed Weldsafe Limited as its first Platinum Distributor in the UK. Based in Glasgow, Weldsafe has been an ESAB distributor for 33 years and the company easily met the stringent criteria necessary for achieving the status of an ESAB Platinum Distributor. To mark the appointment, Gary Kisby, ESAB’s Sales and Marketing Director for France, Benelux, UK and Ireland, visited Weldsafe and presented the company’s Managing Director, John Bunyan, with a memento.
Both companies are committed to supporting each other, not only for their mutual benefit but, most importantly, to help Weldsafe’s customers. For example, Weldsafe is able to arrange visits from the ESAB Demobus, it can provide unrivalled technical support, and Weldsafe has preferential access to stocks of new products – indeed, Weldsafe was the first UK distributor to offer ESAB’s new Rebel multi-process welding machine from stock.
Having recently moved to 6000 sq.ft premises, Weldsafe has a showroom, trade counter and demonstration facilities, as well as an in-house service department and well-equipped vans for its mobile service technicians. In addition to these traditional facilities for local and regional customers, the company has invested heavily in its website and e-commerce platform so customers from anywhere in the UK and Europe can access information about ESAB products, see prices and place orders quickly and easily. Further investments are planned for the website and Weldsafe’s accounting system that will enable customers to purchase a wider range of ESAB products online and view ‘real time’ stock levels. To complement this, Weldsafe is also enhancing its online presence using social media.
These developments illustrate how Weldsafe is continually evolving, always with a view to providing a level of customer service above and beyond what is normally expected from a distributor of welding and cutting products. For example, if a customer purchases a welding machine and subsequently changes their mind, Weldsafe will take it back. Another example is the ability to hold stocks of welding consumables for large projects; even if a customer places an order at the ‘last minute’, Weldsafe can deliver from stock either the next day or, depending where the customer is based, the same day, or the customer can collect the same day.
As well as the items stocked on behalf of customers, Weldsafe also holds extensive stocks of ESAB welding and cutting equipment and consumables, which means customers can enjoy faster deliveries than would be the case if the stocks were held in a central European warehouse, as is so often the case with welding products today. Holding large stocks represents a significant investment, but Weldsafe absorbs the cost because stockholding is an important part of the company’s approach to business – always putting customers first; there are not many distributors in the UK who can deliver a varied range of machines from stock.
In-depth product knowledge
One of the benefits of being a longstanding distributor of ESAB products is that Weldsafe’s staff have built up an enviable, in-depth knowledge of the product range and welding technology in general. Weldsafe’s engineers are considered to be industry experts, which means customers benefit from an exceptional level of technical support. In most cases Weldsafe can answer technical questions directly but, where ESAB’s expertise is required – such as on the finer points of metallurgy when selecting exotic welding consumables – Weldsafe can quickly source advice from ESAB’s experts.
John Bunyan comments: “After working with ESAB so closely for 33 years, it really does feel as if we are part of the wider ESAB group. A lot has changed in that time, from the welding technology to the way we do business and the markets we serve, but ESAB and Weldsafe have continually evolved and embraced change, helped by the strong links and bonds between the two companies. When Gary Kisby presented me with the ESAB Platinum Distributor plaque, it meant a great deal to receive recognition for all the efforts made over the past 33 years.
“Honesty and transparency are also very important. As an ESAB Platinum Distributor we will have regular meetings with ESAB to discuss targets and business development, and I believe this will work well for us both. Our customers also appreciate our openness, and they trust us. For instance, we recently installed a £100,000 automated cutting system for a customer; we predicted it would reduce the time taken for certain jobs from two hours to 40 minutes but, whatever trials and simulations you do prior to the sale, the customer still needs to trust you before investing that amount of money.”
Gary Kisby adds: “We have a comprehensive list of criteria that our distributors have to meet in order to become a Platinum distributor. Weldsafe achieved this without having to do anything beyond what they are already doing, so it was great to see that their view of an ‘ideal distributor’ was so closely aligned with ESAB’s. Weldsafe has worked very hard over three decades, continually growing and adapting, and I was delighted to present John Bunyan with the plaque marking Weldsafe’s appointment as ESAB’s first Platinum Distributor in the UK.”