The term ‘Made in Britain’ - when not used in a jingoistic way - has always been shorthand for ‘high quality’. To that end, with that definition, Clarke Rendall is proud to be a UK manufacturer. Here, our Production Director, Garry Lay explains how our UK status benefits our clients.
Everything we manufacture is created here in our factory in Milton Keynes. Of course, there are some elements - from drawer-runners to veneers to even the core material panels - that are imported to the UK and distributed to manufacturers like us — but we design the product, we cut those panels, we apply the laminate, and we turn the ideas and materials into reception desks or boardroom tables. This all takes place in our buildings which makes the lead-time considerably shorter – no dealing with another company across the world; waiting for them to potentially quote you and then give you a lead-time and then having to pay for shipping or freight costs on top of that. – It means the body, heart and soul of everything we create are here in Britain.
Our teams are neighbours and close at hand
We’re in two neighbouring buildings, like a large family business, and there’s none of that ‘It’s not my problem; it’s someone else’s.’ We work together and because we work so closely together, we can flag up and resolve any issues. There and then.
Because we’re in the UK, we’re often able to go on site, too — so our furniture fitters do the site survey and can see if there’s any potential installation issues. And if there are any problems with the product, or you need something modified, you’ve got someone in the UK who can help. We’re here and you can talk to us immediately.
Home(made) is where the heart is
We’re an incredibly tight team and that closeness gives us a passion and a pride in what we do, and that’s delivering furniture with outstanding design and craftsmanship for our clients.
When you’re buying from another country, the product can be very standard and off-the-shelf, and you can tell when something isn’t bespoke.
Every single job that gets quoted by Clarke Rendall has its own time allocated to that quote. The exact times will go on a production schedule against an individual maker expected to produce that product, and that piece is allotted to that cabinet maker.
When the quote is produced, it’s produced based on who’s going to make it in the factory, how long it’s going to take to get the job approved by the client, specialist materials involved etc… every single quote is on an individual basis. For all our products. We take that much care.
Then, in the factory itself, our factory foreman, Chris Goyen, will examine the pieces before they’re approved. ‘Would you accept this in your own house? Is it good enough?’ He’ll cast a keen eye over each product, but that’s a good thing, ensuring we consistently deliver top quality products to our clients.
Recent ‘Made in Britain’ challenges
In the last few years, ‘Made in Britain’ has had specific challenges. Because of COVID and the impact of Brexit, several items went up in price considerably - 50% in some cases - so we did a lot of shopping around to get the best prices. And, also, to find out who actually had the items available.
How did we adapt? By being conscious of potential issues. All the time we’re looking ahead at the schedule, we’re thinking “For the cabinet maker to make this on time, can we get the materials in time? Is it likely this material will be out of stock when we need it?”
But that seems to have quietened down a bit now. More items are available again. I think there are exciting times ahead for Clarke Rendall — especially now some of our larger projects have been taken off ice and we can start producing them again.
I think, for our clients, us being a UK manufacturer has huge benefits: from shorter lead-times to our teams working in close proximity. When the initial enquiries come in and we work with our clients personally to achieve what they expect, want or need.
From coming to us with an idea, to me doing the quote, to our design, to production, right through to installation… every aspect is easier because we’re here in the UK where our clients are, too.
For any advice and help on how our team can assist you, please contact us at email@example.com or 01908 391600