A well kept secret
You may not know the name but you’ve certainly seen – and probably used – its products, which range from literature holders to display stands, merchandising strips to menu holders, plus a whole stack of filing trays too. Val Hirst reveals the well-kept secret that is Deflecto Europe.
Deflecto’s European headquarters is located on an unassuming industrial estate in Newport, Gwent, where it currently churns out a dizzying array of products that are categorised as ‘office desktop’, which for the uninitiated, include the ubiquitous plastic filing trays, desk organisers and card index boxes that are the mainstay of many an office.
‘So what?’ you might ask, but actually there’s much more to Deflecto Europe than that. The company, part of the Deflecto Group, which boasts a global Head Office in Indianapolis and wholly ownedmanufacturing facilities in the US, Canada and China, as well as the UK, also comes under the auspices of Jordan Group Industries, an American manufacturing-based company that boasts revenues of $1.2 billion.
What’s more, Deflecto’s full product portfolio, which isdetailed in a new 102-page catalogue, encompasses a comprehensive range of sign holders, literature displays and point of sale products, all of which are manufacturedfrom the materials extruded in its Chinese factory.
Andy Page, the company’s European Sales & Marketing Director explains that, as a trade only supplier, Deflecto manufactures the products sold by industry friendly suppliers in each sector, who frequently rebrand them under their own names. In fact, he also reveals that, since its acrylic sheet is soon to besold through some of the sign and display sector’s best-known suppliers,signmakerswill be able to experience for themselves the high level of quality, that he claims, is synonymous with Deflecto, albeitunknowingly. And the same goes for the literally hundreds of different banner hangers, hooks, clips, connectors and fasteners and cable ties it provides too.
Andy, along with European Marketing Manager Natalie Robbins, is fairly new to the company andtheir arrival hasdirectly lead to a major reassessment of its capabilities, with Andy observing: “Up until recently, the main emphasis here was on the manufacture of the office desktop range,but although that has been and continues to be a very successfularea for us, other channels of the business were not fully utilised”. He enumerates these as being an obsession with quality manufacturing, an expertise in fabrication, whichthat was not previouslyutilised in the UK, a high level of flexibility, in terms of both manufacture and delivery and surprisingly short lead times.
Andy continues: “Although we’ve never really marketed it, we’ve always provided a bespoke fabrication service for clients who required something outside our standard product collection and, very often, such bespoke products are automatically added to our portfolio if we feel that there would be sufficient demand to warrant it. However, now we are offeringa dedicated fabrication service for customers who require something a little bit different, whether its sign, display or POS related. What’s more, despite fabrication taking place in China, we can offer a 24 hour design and quotation service and produce a prototype, ready for client’s inspection in seven days.”
Natalie Robbins adds though that, if this service is received as enthusiastically as the initial response indicates it will be, then Deflecto Europe has the option to initiate its ownhome-grown fabrication facility in Wales, using the two currently vacant units that make up part of its Newport facilities.
I am shown some of the frighteningly complex client samples that have recently been createdin China andam invited to compare the quality between the originalsampleand the Deflecto prototype.In each case, I have to admit that in terms of both material and construction, the Deflectoversion is visibly superior.
Andy Page ascribes this to the fact that with the Deflecto products, quality is assured every step of the way. He says: “The fact that we control all aspects of the process, from the extrusion of the material to the final item, means that we can guarantee that the finished product is as good as it possibly can be. What’s more, we can offer a full range of finishing processes too, including heat bending, etching, laser engraving, silk screen printing and display construction – pretty much everything a customer could ever need!”
For its signs and displays, Deflecto uses three ranges of materials – its standard commodity range that is crafted from PS, its acrylic premium range and, for the more environmentally aware customer, a special 100 percent recycled acrylic, which also offers a very classy satin finish. Showing me an example of a sign holder made from this material, Andy remarks that it recently attracted the attention of one major retailer who appreciated its anti-glare properties to the extent that it immediately placed a large order with its usual Deflecto supplier!
Which according to Andy is exactly as it should be. He confirms that the company take their trade supplier status very seriously indeed,although he agrees that if Deflecto’s services are more widely publicised they might receive direct approaches for end-users. He reflects: “It’s something that may well happen in the future, but really we feel that our strengths lie in manufacture rather than direct sales. We are very happy to be the back room boys who provide really good products for customer facing organisations to sell and if they want to rebrand them under their own banner, then that’s absolutely their prerogative.”
Natalie adds the company has built up a lot of close relationships with their supply chain over the years and would thus be very loathto jeopardise them. She says: “I can see that in the first instance we might produce samples for an end user, but in every case, they would be referred to one of our supplier partners if and when it came down to placing an order. For us that’s definitely the best modus operandi.”
Before I leave Deflecto I have whistle stop tour of its factory, and for the first time in ages, I see a real manufacturing set up with lots of heavy duty kit spitting out office accessories in an host of trendy colours, which is complemented by a bustling despatch department that is sending products out all over the country.
There’s no doubt that this is a company that knows precisely what it’s doing and has the wherewithal to do it and now, with the addition of a new and highly energetic and motivated new team at the top, who knows what Deflecto Europe will do next?
For further information and for a full list of Deflecto suppliers, visit:deflecto-europe.com