Charlotte Blackburn visits Vado Hydrologics Studio
Earlier this year, British brassware manufacturer Vado opened the Vado Hydrologics Studio in Cheddar, Somerset. The Studio covers 220sqm and has been designed to offer a training facility for retailers and installers alike. The space focuses on several zones covering Manufacturing and Quality, Plumbing Systems, Digital Showering, Water Saving and New Product Developments. Jim Williams, managing director of Vado explains why they created the centre: “It gives our customers confidence in what we’re doing, which in turn gives them more confidence to sell the product to the customer. I think it is up to us as manufacturers to build the confidence of our retailer.”
The Studio was the result of a concept the company had thought about for a long time. But Jim Williams states that Vado’s purchase by Norcros in March 2013 helped to move the Studio project forward: “It tied in quite nicely with our acquisition from Norcros. They wanted to invest more in the business and invest money to back our growth and this was one of the first projects we did under Norcros’ ownership.”
Retailers are invited by the sales team and sessions can be tailored according to the visitor’s training requirements: “We can do different courses depending if someone’s new to the industry, we can bring them in and start at a very basic level and not scare them off by offering too much technical detail. We tailor the course for a higher level for people who have more experience in the industry”, says Williams. Customers are trained by Vado employees and all visitors come away with a Vado Hydrologics certificate and trophy.
Williams believes that all manufacturers should take up the duty of educating retailers about not only products, but how to get the best out of them: “It is our responsibility as the manufacturer to tell people how the product works, tell them how it works at its optimum level, and teach them how to teach their end user what will work and what won’t.”
He is also somewhat concerned about the lack of installation qualifications and sometimes even a lack of concern for proper installation: “So often we find we have dispatched an engineer to a site because there is a claimed quality problem, when it is purely down to installation.”
And retailers have given a positive reaction to the Studio. Vado has received commendations from many of its guests. Visitor numbers have been strong with over 120 people having visited so far. Tracy Donnelly, group showroom manager of Macnaughton Blair commented: “The training centre is very impressive and the investment Vado have made makes it clear how committed they are to offering excellent service to their customers and promoting the brand. It was professional yet welcoming.”