3 Line Electrical has recently expanded to eight branches with locations in Newmarket, Poole, Derby, Norwich, Nottingham, Bracknell and now Swindon and Ipswich which both opened in 2018. These all operate independently but within a strong team/company philosophy. Our strap line is “People delivering value” and our staff are our biggest asset.
With a wealth of electrical knowledge and experience, our employees are highly trained, dedicated to customer service and genuinely want to help. We are a strong, independent wholesaler with an ethos of empowering our managers and staff. Our newest managers are starting a year- long Management Development programme. We have recruited our first EDA apprentice and are looking for more around the company. Lowering the average age of our workforce is important to sustain longevity and employing apprentices who are trained in the important building blocks in electrical wholesaling is key. This also gives younger people an opportunity in electrical wholesaling, a career path that would not necessarily have been on their radar. They can develop their skills and reap the opportunities and rewards of a successful career in electrical wholesaling. This investment in training and apprenticeships gives credence to the use of this strap line.
Having an external sales team has played a key part in our development and this has helped us to grow good working relationships with a wide range of business types. We value all customers both big and small and our Sales Executives enable us to keep regular face to face contact with all of the accounts we trade with. We see this as key in the partnership between our customers and ourselves. We categorise our customer types and these include everything from small electrical contractors (the lifeblood of our business) to larger nationwide contractors. We also trade with local authorities, nationwide procurement organisations, academy school groups, housing associations, engineering companies, hospitals, football clubs etc all the way down to the DIY enthusiast.
It is not a cliché, but customer service is at the forefront of everything we do. We deliver quality product at the right price, have a speedy quote turnaround, are consistent on a day to day basis and deliver up to date knowledge to our customers to keep them up to speed with our industry. That could be new products making their jobs easier or helping them win business, market trends, price updates and changes in legislation/regulations. We feel that this builds strong, long lasting relationships and helps us to also get to know our customers’ businesses. Our vans offer a same day/next day delivery service, both locally and further afield.
Our dedicated teams are always happy to go the extra mile with direct to site or unsociable hour deliveries. We have worked to make our trade counters even more welcoming so that customers have a friendly environment when they collect their materials. We have recently introduced our own 3 Line ground filter coffee into our Poole branch with our own branded recyclable cups and we will soon be rolling this out across all branches. We also work closely with our suppliers and this helps us to build strong relationships with them. Since day one we have forged a good history of paying our supply partners on time. This builds trust in us and enables us to further strengthen and develop our working relationships with them. We will always use approved manufacturers, selected for their brand identity and reputation for quality.
Creating a brand identity is important to 3 Line Electrical and investing in our own marketing team has been instrumental to this drive. 3 Line coffee was just a very small part of this. We have introduced new signage on our buildings, new liveries on our vans, re-designed trade counters, launched a new website and joined the social media world. We have also launched a dual brand range called 3.ssentials. This currently contains over 100 products and this will soon more than double in size. We see this as a way of consolidating our purchases with approved suppliers and also a good tool to help maintain ever important margin. We aim to have our first catalogue within the first half of 2019 and expect this to continue to grow in importance within 3 Line.
Our brand has also been enhanced by the introduction of our own lighting catalogue in conjunction with KSR and a 3 Line presentation folder. We are a member of AWEBB and enjoy all the benefits that this brings. Our MD is a Board member and our business has been enhanced by the relationship building and opportunities to network with other wholesalers, the EDA and senior people within the supply chain.
Having eight branches around the country has enabled us to contribute and interact with more local communities and charities. We feel that this is important and in the last year we have contributed to a childrens’ cancer and ex-servicemen’s charities. We continue to sponsor a number of local youth sports teams and organisations. Our exposure on social media has become widely recognised. Our posts on various subjects including new products, promotions, price changes, regulations, breakfast mornings and calibration days have helped us get our message across. Our branches have access to a library of all our posts, promotions and marketing materials via Dropbox and can use these locally whenever needed.
We have complied with the new GDPR regulations and have a database of customers who have agreed to receive regular direct mail. We have run successful seasonal promotions in 2018 and these have become a regular part of our customer offering. We have more plans for 2019 which include the introduction of a secure customer portal to our website, the 3.ssentials catalogue launch, investment in training and apprenticeships, as well as expanding our branch network. The climate is obviously very challenging but our focus and efforts are to enhance what 3 Line can offer and continue the exciting journey of our business.