Brick Fabrication becomes national supplier with Alan R Jones

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The construction sector may have suffered in the downturn, but the economic fortunes of Brick Fabrication Ltd are healthier than ever. In the space of a few years, the company has transitioned from a respected regional enterprise to a renowned national supplier, driven by a combination of excellent service, solid values and a robust distribution solution.

The South Wales manufacturing company has been doubling its business year on year – testament to the quality of its prefabricated brickwork products, alongside promising signs from the wider industry.

“There is a perception that housing is in ‘the doldrums’, yet national house builders are engaged in more projects than ever,” says John White, Director of Brick Fabrication. “The demand for housing is not going away any time soon, and with the government assisting first time buyers there is a renewed sense of confidence in the market.”

Brick Fabrication currently employs 75 staff and will see sales of £3 million in 2013.

John explained the robust business model behind his company: “House building is becoming more modular in the UK. This means that a lot of elements of a construction are made offsite. We supply prefabricated products which are difficult to make in situ, such as chimneys and arches, but are easy to fit by semi-skilled personnel when supplied whole. This saves time and money for house builders, enabling them to keep pace with the increasing speed of house building.”

Brick Fabrication’s proven commerciality is supported by a clear commitment to quality. In January 2013 the company achieved a third quality award for its products, the CGMA Quality Accreditation. In July 2013, the British Board of Agrément will certify Brick Fabrication’s complete pre-fabricated chimney range. This follows the award of Investors in Excellence in 2011 and Investors in People in 2012.

Brick Fabrication’s products have been made at the company’s Pontypool headquarters since 1997. 2010 saw the acquisition of another business in Essex, with another competitor in Stoke on Trent, Premier Cutting Services being added to the fold in 2013.

Throughout this exciting time, Brick Fabrication has worked closely with its primary distribution partner, Alan R Jones & Sons, a precision logistics firm based in Newport. The family owned business is renowned for its attention to detail and is one of the mostly highly decorated members of the Palletline palletised distribution network, a co-operative of the UK’s finest hauliers.

Palletline member Alan R Jones is instrumental in both the production and delivery phases of Brick Fabrication’s operation. When the manufacturer secures a new job, the haulier collects the required brick material from customers’ sites – coming in packs weighing as much as a tonne – and delivers them to Brick Fabrication’s site for manufacture.

When manufactured products are completed, Alan R Jones distributes the finished products via the multi-award winning Palletline network. The fast service offers next day delivery to most major conurbations.

John added: “We used to rely solely on our own transport, but as our business increased we started selling further afield. Eventually it became uneconomical or just impossible to service such a wide customer base – fortunately Alan R Jones’ geographical reach, combined with the Palletline network, covers the entire UK and extends into Europe. The service functions overnight, which significantly increases the amount of orders we can take and the speed with which they are delivered.”

As well as the logistical efficiency of the partnership, Alan R Jones also reduces the hassle of administration. Brick Fabrication staff can input jobs directly into Alan R Jones’ system, streamlining the whole process of booking an order and allowing the manufacturer to focus more time on its core business. The supply of real-time PODs speeds up invoicing and allows Brick Fabrication to get paid earlier and identify and rectify any issues speedily.

“We can’t fault the service levels they give us,” confirms John. “We fully understand that nothing is ever simple all the time, whatever industry you work in. What differentiates Alan R Jones is a refreshing honesty and clear commitment to the job. Should an issue arise, the high tech and innovative system used by Palletline and all its members proactively highlights and resolves it. This just reinforces our trust and gives us complete peace of mind.”

John said “It looks as though the business the two companies do together will continue to grow in the years ahead. From Brick Fabrication’s point of view this can only be a good thing!”

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