2018 has been another successful year for LEW Electrical Distributors. In September we celebrated our 25th year as an electrical wholesaler, marking a quarter of a century since Managing Director, Andrew Johnson, opened the first LEW branch in Gainsborough in 1993.
In October we relocated our Lincoln branch to new premises on an industrial estate in South-West Lincoln. The new branch is more than double the size of the previous and offers an ever-bigger stock holding with additional space to hold bulk stock and large project orders for customers. Josh Johnson, Lincoln Branch Manager, comments that ‘to keep up with advances in technology we are constantly adding new stock lines and increasing our stock holding to keep up with customer demands. This meant we outgrew our previous branch.’ The decision to move to bigger premises was made following the sustained growth of our Lincoln operation over the last three years. Managing Director, Andrew Johnson, says that ‘the move will support the branch in continuing to develop our presence in Lincoln with additional stock profiles and improved customer service. It is a young team operating our Lincoln branch and this investment is a testament to all their hard work.’
2018 has been a successful year for our click & collect LEW ordering app, which offers our customers 24/7 access to ordering with click & collect services at each of our eleven branches. Following the growth of the app over the last 12 months, our targets for the next year will be to have 10% of our annual turnover through the app. We believe that future proofing our business for the digital age is important in the coming years, as consumer trends in other sectors, like retail, are demonstrating. The LEW Click & Collect ordering app gives account customers a bespoke ordering platform with key features like ‘shopping lists’ and ‘favourite products’ that allow for quick repeat ordering and easy project ordering.
Customer and staff training continue to play a key role in our business.
The 18th edition wiring regulations was released in July and has, as expected, been a key focus of manufacturers, wholesalers and installers over the last 12 months. In August we ran free CPD certified training sessions in partnership with Hager that provided training on the key regulatory changes made in the 18th edition. Led by Hager’s Senior Technical Support Team, the sessions covered the major talking points of BS 7671:2018 and provided valuable insights from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers. In September we worked with Heat Mat Underfloor Heating to put on a training morning for contractors at Gainsborough Golf Club. We also hosted ESP’s mobile showroom at three of our branches earlier in the month for easy-access product training, as well as Aico’s Expert Installer training scheme for fifty customers and twenty members of staff.
Not only do we aim to develop the skills and opportunities of our customers, but we work closely with the Electrical Distributors Association and local organisations to support apprenticeship schemes and foster the next generation of young professionals. We currently employ five apprentices across our eleven branches and continue to employ an apprentice accountant in our head office accounts team. Jack Hague recently completed his EDA apprenticeship scheme at our Lincoln branch and accepted a permanent role with the company once receiving his qualification. ‘I can see a clear career path with LEW’, Jack Says,’ I learnt a lot on my apprenticeship and want to follow through with this and achieve my potential.’ Our inhouse marketing, digital integration and app development team shows that we are committed to developing career opportunities beyond general wholesaling roles. As we look to continue our digital development into 2019, we will be taking on new members of staff within these roles to better support our online and marketing services.
We are proud to have continued our support for the Electrical Industries Charity in 2018, they have been doing life changing work for our industry for over one hundred years! This year we pledged to raise £4000 for the EIC, a figure that was raised in July after smashing our original target of £1000 by May. Our first fundraiser of the year was done by our Barnsley branch who teamed up with their customers to complete the Yorkshire Three Peak challenge. They raised over £1500 for the charity and completed the challenge in under ten hours! In July staff from our Lincoln branch took on the infamous Tough Mudder challenge, a brutal five-mile obstacle course over grass, mud and water. They raised £679 for the Electrical Industries Charity which pushed the total value raised to just over £3000 with contributions from other company-led events. We also donated £1000 at the EIC Powerball to help fund their mental health awareness campaigns for those working within the electrical and energy sectors.
In 2018 we continued our sponsorship of British Superbike rider Peter Hickman, Motorsport team PBM Racing, and Sidecar team Birchall Racing. It has been an excellent season for these LEW sponsored riders, drivers and teams! Birchall Racing defended their Sidecar World Championship title and became the first sidecar team in history to defend the world title and the TT title in the same year; Peter Hickman became the fastest road racer in the world with his record-breaking Senior TT Win and finished the British Superbike season in overall fifth position; and PBM Racing rider Glenn Irwin recorded a podium third-place finish for the 2018 British Superbike Season.
Our mission as LEW Electrical Distributors is to ‘offer our customers the best possible service, product choices, quality and value; delivered with individual pride and company spirit.’ This year we were identified by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain in 2018’, an accolade awarded to the most dynamic and fastest-growing small and medium sized business. We are also pleased to have won 2018 AWEBB Member of the Year for a record eighth successive year.