When we talk at Mila about quality and service being ‘in our DNA’, what we mean is that those are the core values of this business and that they are shared by all of the individuals who work here.
Our entire team are focused on delivering the quality products and efficient service which add value to our customers’ businesses and, as the MD, I can state that there is a fundamental honesty and integrity underpinning everything that we do.
Our latest advertising campaign even features some of the key individuals who champion our core values internally and who, more importantly, translate those into tangible service initiatives and real benefits for customers.
Vicki Sanders, our head of sales, for instance, is responsible for building partnerships with our customers and delivering the bespoke product and service solutions which help them to perform even better.
We don’t just pick and ship products for customers – although our 99% OTIF is testament to the fact that we do that very well – Vicki’s team will help customers if they want their own specific version of one of our products or even if they want their product packaged or delivered in a different way.
Our head of finance, James Kiernan, makes sure not only that customers can rely on us to be well funded and well resourced, but that on an individual level, our finance team remains customer focused with things like market leading invoicing accuracy.
And, our head of marketing and customer experience, Sarah Gyde, drives the Mila ‘celebrity service’ offering which makes sure that customers receive the kind of tailored service which allows them to feel truly valued by us.
The reason why we’ve put the faces of these people into our ads is that we believe that the market increasingly values our honest and open approach. It’s not just about our brand, it’s about our reputation and in turn the reputation of our customers and, as we all know, that counts for a huge amount in this industry, even more so in these days of social media.
The hardware sector remains hugely competitive of course but all of our recent market research has indicated that price is no longer the number one driver for fabricators in choosing their hardware supplier. Much more important is product quality, in stock availability and customer service, and what we’re determined to show is that customers can trust the claims that we make across all of those areas and, even more importantly, the people who make them.
I know that Mila is a business built on partnerships – partnerships with our customers, partnerships with our suppliers and of course partnerships with those third party manufacturers whose products we distribute.
What matters most in these partnerships, I think, is that they are built on mutual trust and openness. We have supply agreements in place with some of the largest fabricators in the UK with full open book pricing, for example, and we regularly take customers to see for themselves our manufacturing and quality control set up in the Far East. Our performance both during the recession and now throughout the recovery would indicate that are approach is the right one. We have outperformed the market and have won plaudits for our innovation and for our determination not to compromise or cut corners.
I have just celebrated by 35th anniversary at Mila and after so many years, it’s probably understandable that the company’s reputation means so much to me but what’s more significant I think is that it also means a great deal to the rest of the team here.