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Operational excellence strengthens Palace Chemicals in specification

Having cemented its activity in retail and distribution over 45 years, Palace Chemicals says it’s now continuing to expand its existing profile in the architectural and specification market. There is a strong opportunity in that sector, which the company now believes it can contribute to more fully.

To continue its growth in this area, the company is taking on several key initiatives. The most recent is the appointment of Nick Bratt to the position of national technical sales manager. Bratt has been in the tiling industry for 30 years, 17 of which were at Norcros Adhesives in a similar role. Before that he worked at BAL for six years and Marlborough Tiles and Stone & Ceramic.

Bratt says: “It is great to be joining at this stage of our continued growth in this sector, to have the chance to assist with the growth of the specification department – I am excited by the challenge.”

Alongside Bratt’s appointment, the company, which is a member of NBS, is also taking other initiatives such as now working with Glenigan, as well as delivering a number of RIBA CPDs.

“The opportunity for us is huge and we know it will be determined by how much work we put into getting the specifications,” says Steve Ball, commercial director. “The real difference will be our continued interaction with architects as well as continuing to work through NBS and Glenigan”.

Palace says it’s key for this market to have the right products, and also to have the right technical support, including site visits, online material and CPDs. It also believes tile fixers will benefit from the strengthened emphasis on the specification market.

The company says: “If a tile fixer or contractor wins a project that comes with a Palace specification, the spec will tell the tile fixer exactly what products they should be using, how to use them and the correct method from initial preparation right through to final fixing. Given that most failures are down to installation issues, this is key. If everything is correctly detailed in an M40 specification, it will make the job a lot easier for the fixer. There will be more instruction available to them, a link where they can pick up technical advice and the option to speak direct to Palace technical support.”

Palace believes the additional focus and support contribute to the operational excellence of the business by broadening its base.

Bratt says: “We are very active in retail with tilers and distributors and our consolidation in the specification sector represents another string to our bow – a way of branching out and capturing more business as well as providing improved support to the sector.”

It has already been going well. Before Bratt joined the business, Palace gained the national specification for all Barratt Homes. As the biggest housebuilder in the UK, this gives a massive opportunity.

Housing has proven to be a key area, but the company is always looking at commercial projects with architects and specifiers. “We can really see the benefit this will bring to the business,” says Bratt. “When you get a spec like Barratt Homes, that brings the distributors on board as well. This makes the investment worthwhile. We have all the products we need to write the specifications, which we are doing as we speak. We have the NX range as well, giving us two established brands, for which we can write specifications.”

The Palace brand itself is 45 years in the making and comprises a very comprehensive range within the tiling marketplace. The company is also looking to strengthen the NX brand, which will be available for those customers who want it, especially those who might have familiarity with it from the past.

“The specification market is growing, it is buoyant, and we are in the race to improve our share of it,” says Bratt.

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