Two years into his tenure at Weldtite and managing director Paul Davis is well underway reshaping Weldtite to be a leaner and environmentally cleaner label. We catch the firm at Eurobike for the latest developments…
It’s a bold claim to say that you’re the “world leader in puncture repair for bicycles”, but that’s the surprising scale of the Weldtite of today. Sold in 52 countries across the globe, the brand freely admits that in the past marketing hasn’t been its forte; efforts have instead focused on manufacturing the wealth of product found within the Barton business’s stable.
There is, however, plenty to talk about, particularly when it comes to efforts over the past two years to shape the business up for the future. It was then that managing director Paul Davis joined from the family firm, a move that coincided with new offices being tacked on to the large-scale warehouse.
Davis knows distribution, but as a British Aerospace engineer by trade its attention to detail on which he has cut his teeth.
“With Weldtite we’re now working on the philosophy that we don’t bring something to market unless it’s a world beater; we’ve got teams of chemists, engineers and designers within the business now that ensure this,” starts Davis.
Where possible, Weldtite products are made exclusively to the firm’s own formulas in Barton and, where it is deemed that better products may exist, licences are sought to build in these ingredients to the formula. Teflon, one of the better known ingredients in the lubrication business, has an exclusive European licence with Weldtite. As many in the bike industry can testify, having the best product doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have the best-selling product and striking that balance is harder than ever. Increasingly, customer feedback isn’t as wholly centred on price and increasingly Weldtite is finding that environmental friendliness is weighing on consumer’s mind when it comes to cleaning and lubrication.
“We’ve researched heavily what consumers want from a product like ours and alongside quality we’ve got demands to ensure our products are causing as little side effect to the environment as possible. It’s feedback like this that has seen our bike cleaner formula go bio and increasingly we are taking the plastic out of our portfolio wherever possible. The Pure packaging, among others in the portfolio, is completely biodegradable and the fully recyclable, right down to the label used,” explains Weldtite’s marketing manager Dan Leather, himself a relatively recent recruit from ZyroFisher.
A steady stream of hires has bolstered the team, as well as the product catalogue. At the present time a new operations manager is sought to run the front of house ins and outs, but in the back of house a new FD has been appointed to better balance the books. It seems to be working, says Davis: “Last year we saw a steady 10% growth like-for-like. It’s not my intention to suddenly go meteoric and end up poorly managed, in fact the most likely path ahead is more of the same and growth through acquisition. We’ve some land to expand into at Weldtite HQ when the time is right, but our current trajectory suits me.”
Weldtite’s support extends to new hires to manage the firm’s larger accounts, as well as the recruitment of Ed Smith who supports James Buckle to ensures Weldtite’s global network of distributors are happy. They are doing a fine job too, says the Department for International Trade which in March of this year named Weldtite Yorkshire and Humberside’s Export Champion.
Being singled out for praise by the International Trade Secretary at a time when Britain’s exporting prowess is under the microscope came in part thanks to the continued investment in the business. With overseas market share growing, Weldtite has sunk another £100,000 into new equipment to improve the capping, labelling and quality control at its factory. You might think as an exporter Brexit might not be at the forefront of Davis’ mind, but he takes aim describing it as a “nightmare”. “It might not affect us quite as much as many, but we’ve got a plan for every scenario,” says Davis.
Having a plan for every scenario has further led Weldtite into non-traditional spaces and as a result you’ll now find products like tubeless sealant and associated repair and installation kits in the range. “Like everything else we took a close look at the market leaders and sought to surpass the benchmark. Our tubeless range is environmentally sound, works in super low temperatures and is easy to use when installing,” says Leather, encouraging shops to try Weldtite’s solution alongside others.
For those considering a position in their store for the Weldtite label there is a growing library of educational material on the brand’s YouTube channel that gives a steady step by step guide to installation, product credentials and plenty more. Bike shops can take stock of Weldtite via a number of UK distributors including Raleigh, Bob Elliot, Moore Large and ZyroFisher.