Ten years of Beninca UK… all too often in life you look back and think, “wow, hasn’t time flown by’ and the last ten years really have. This year we have employed a new apprentice, who was born in 2001. Even though I consider myself to be reasonably young, it’s a realisation that a lot of time has passed and of course, so many things have changed.
In 2010 when the company was founded, it started in a marketplace that was recovering from the economic crash of 2008. It was a great opportunity for Beninca to grow with a product that was well suited to the UK market. Our product was not new to the UK, with some established installers and independent distributors already selling the product, very successfully too! The natural progression to allow us to better serve the market was a central branch and for us to become a subsidiary.
The year the company started there were two tragic gate safety incidents, coincidentally only a week apart. Both of these incidents impacted the industry and became the catalyst for change, a change that would divide opinion but ultimately a change for the better, driving gate safety and a more regulated industry.
Based in Hungerford, Berkshire, Beninca UK had a huge amount of experience behind the brand. Even as a new company we knew we were always well placed to offer the best level of service, to our ever-growing list of installing customers. When you start a business like this, you always have a mission and Beninca’s was building a solid foundation, progressing step by step, and creating good relationships all over the UK.
We saw those initial foundations build quickly and in 2012, after just two years of trading, the decision was made at HQ in Northern Italy that Beninca UK would officially become a subsidiary branch to Automatismi Beninca Spa and The Beninca group of companies. This significant investment has built a sound and solid future for Beninca UK.
As a subsidiary, we were able to offer the strength of the full company profile, stocking all brands within The Beninca Group of companies. This opened us up to a wider marketplace, making us a real contender in the UK market, allowing us to compete head on with well-established brands that were already in the UK at the time.
That strength was the fact we could now serve our customers as a one-stop-shop with Hi Motions Gate Hardware products, RISE bollards and CAB Hydraulic operators complimenting the already extensive range of Beninca products. We also became partners with other brands to offer gate safety products, such as the ASO Safety Solutions edges and intercoms products from Telguard, Videx and AES.
As our stock portfolio grew, so did our need for space and in the August of that year, we saw our first move into bigger premises only a stone’s throw away from our humble beginnings. The 5000 sq ft premises were perfect for our fast-growing business and allowed us to build deeper foundations.
Between 2012 – 2014 our small team worked incredibly hard, as we experienced good organic growth. We prized ourselves on being able to supply an installer with everything they needed and everything they wanted from a huge range of reliable products, backed by fantastic customer service. The timescales all aligned nicely, not only did we see growth in the UK but the global brand of Beninca was recovering well from that 2008 economic crash seeing growth in all corners of the globe.
Personally, I have always tried to maintain a level of sustainable growth of the business based on the core values of the brand since becoming General Manager in 2015. Beninca is an Italian brand, so there is always a lot of passion, however, fundamentally it is a family run business where the product bears the family surname, so its values are that of quality and reliability.
Injuries put a stop to any playing career I had, but rugby was my sport and any good captain or coach would always base a team talk around ‘doing the basic’s right’ and solid teamwork to get results. Doing the basics right within a business is all about the product and the customer, make a good product, and keep the customer happy.
You can take a lot from the world of sport and any top athlete, even at the highest of their game, will always talk about making progression and continuingly learning to make improvements. Referring to more rugby, Eddie Jones the current England Rugby Head Coach has often put-on record about ‘building’ the team and even after a streak of 18 consecutive test match wins, the after-match interview was centred around improvements.
As we build and record growth year on year, we continue to look at ways we can improve and the progression that can be made here at Beninca UK. As recently as last year, we took the next step, the next springboard for us in doubling once again the size of our warehouse and facilities to our new home in Newbury, Berkshire.
Moving in September 2019 into 11’000 sq ft premises in the heart of Newbury, perfectly located along the M4 corridor, halfway between London and Bristol, we have further increased stock, added huge training facilities, and continued to increase the team to serve our growing band of brothers that become Beninca installers.
Even in the year that has just passed, a global pandemic that has been catastrophic for some, we have pulled together as a team and alongside our loyal customers, we have had a phenomenal six months to finish the year.
We broke records for the bad in terms of lowest weekly turnover figures during the start of lockdown ‘part one’ but with the recovery and application of all our staff and the dedication of our installing customers to roll up their sleeves and work in new ways, this enabled us to break records for all the right reasons in the latter months of the year. With the flourish that we have seen in September, October, and November we keep that record of continued year on year growth, a greater achievement this year than any other year before.
Looking forward to the next ten years, the future is very bright for Beninca, the foundations have been laid, step by step and with purpose and strategy we have a clear path ahead. We have built a great team of staff who have combined skillsets to support our customers in the best possible way. As we continue to focus on customer service and not losing that personal touch, no matter how big the company grows, we know this is the key to customer retention. Our relationship with the HQ in Northern Italy could not be stronger, or closer, which gives us a great platform and voice within research and development to new products or product updates.
2021 will see the introduction of a new brushless barrier, a crash rated M30 rising bollard, and new technologies as we increase connectivity within control panels and look to app-based programming and reporting.
Above all 2021 with Beninca gives you the same assurances as before, you know what you get with Beninca and that is good old-fashioned customer service and reliable products.
It’s been a tough year for us all, the highs and the lows, the challenges and the rewards but it’s Christmas, put your feet, have a drink, stay safe and we will be here in the new year and raring to go once again!
Author – Jamie Berry