Sticking to its principles
By remaining true to the principles that first inspired its founder to create the company, Gtech has enjoyed continued growth, epitomised by 2017 being the most successful year in its history
When one speaks to Nick Grey, founder and CEO of Gtech, he immediately strikes you as being an innately positive and optimistic personality, qualities that no doubt contributed greatly to the creation of this exciting, independent British designer and manufacturer of cordless home and garden appliances. As it quickly becomes clear when Manufacturing Today Europe caught up with him recently, he has all the more reason to be cheerful.
“Since we last spoke in the Spring of 2017, we have seen a surge in awareness and interest in the Gtech brand, and this has helped to deliver our most successful year to date and one in which we saw the company grow an awful lot,” Nick begins. “For a number of years now, we have followed three key principles on our path to achieving growth, these being in-home performance, customer service and careful advertising. Keeping these principles at the forefront of what we do has helped us to achieve all that we have to date.”
The evidence of the above statement can be seen in the fact that, to date, Gtech has sold over 22 million products in 19 countries, and has employees in the UK and in China. “We are proud of the fact that we led the field when it comes to cordless innovation, being the first company to really say with confidence that you can remove the vacuum cleaner cable all together and still achieve cleaning performance that you can be proud of,” Nick continues. “We foresaw that the levels of maintenance associated with bag-less vacuum cleaners was increasing, so we made a conscious decision to make products easier to live with. The result was one of the first full performance, cordless products, and we retain our drive to make them evermore easy to use, keep and maintain.”
From a customer service perspective, if one turns to the independent review website Trustpilot.com, you will see that Gtech has been the recipient of almost 53,500 reviews, with 84 per cent of responders giving the company an ‘Excellent’ five-star rating. As we put it to Nick, clearly, he and his team are doing all the right things. “I must admit to spending a bit of time reading the reviews that we are left, and over and over I see comments from customers who say they weren’t sure what to expect when they purchased a Gtech product, but who went on to have all of their expectations met or exceeded. For a designer, that is the biggest sense of achievement you can get for sure.”
In February 2018, it was widely reported that Gtech would be making a significant change to its manufacturing structure by shifting some of its operations back to the UK from China, creating more than 100 new jobs in the process. The move also comes at a time when the company presses ahead with its global expansion into eight new territories across Asia, the Middle East and Europe over the next 12 months.
“I believe there is still a lot of pride here in Britain when it comes to manufacturing, and one piece of feedback we regularly receive revolves around the question of why we don’t manufacture our products here,” Nick explains. “What we have done in response to this is design a specific product, which we plan to launch later in 2018, to be manufactured here in the UK. In order to achieve this, we have looked extensively at how we can best utilise a lean, cellular manufacturing process, and the end result will be a product that is specifically built on the day of dispatch and then collected from the end of the line by the courier, before being transported to the customer themselves. What will remain the case, however, is that these products will be simple to assemble and robust, which is very much the Gtech way of thinking.”
The latter half of 2018 should indeed prove to be fascinating time for the company, particularly as it embarks on moves into additional product categories, which it looks forward to revealing details of in the near future. “All of our moves into new categories tend to begin with a seed of an idea that is based upon improving something that we use on a regular basis,” Nick reveals.
This approach also extends to self-improvement, specifically the upgrading and modernisation of the products Gtech built its reputation upon. In February 2018, the company launched the Gtech Pro, a new cordless vacuum cleaner that combines the convenience of cordless cleaning with hygienic dust bags for easy disposal. The Pro possesses a cyclone-free design and a 1.5-litre dust bag, allowing it to clean longer than its rivals before it needs emptying Specifically created for floor to ceiling cleaning, the Pro also features a full set of attachments and has the flexibility to glide from carpet to hard floor without needing to change settings.
With Gtech having grown fairly consistently year-on-year for much of its existence, Nick is constantly aware of the eventual need to also consolidate the business. If anything, this is to ensure that as it has grown into a company of more than 200 employees that it retains its commitment to the three key principles that have brought about such success to date. “We think it is more likely than not that we will have to consolidate to some degree this year,” he says. “This is not an issue for us however, as we don’t have to borrow money, rather we make sure that we have plenty in the bank and that we never over invest in something we can’t afford or that doesn’t make good business sense.
“The success that we have already achieved means that we do not have the pressure of having to chase huge growth, and it gives us more time and energy to focus on the launch of new products, on improving efficiencies and maintaining our high levels of customer service,” Nick concludes.
Products: Cordless appliances