Verosol’s story starts with a famous Dutch shipbuilder. When Cornelis Verolme sailed into the New York Harbour in 1963, he was amazed by the skyscrapers. However, not by their grandeur, but by the glare coming off the hundreds of stories of windows. After further realising how difficult it must have been to keep the buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter, Verolme set out to find a solution.
This solution is the foundation for the modern-day Verosol. Verolme and his company are the innovators of metal-backed fabric, which when faced outwards, reflects heat and glare back outside the building. Currently each major city in Australia hosts a Verosol presence, and the company has recently began exporting its products to New Zealand.
“We pride ourselves on being an innovative company. We're the inventor of the metallisation process for fabrics. There's a huge drive for us to continue to innovate,” said Managing Director Nicolas Rayer.
With a strong commitment to quality and fast turnaround times, Verosol has been able to engineer a system that allows their manufacturing process to despatch finished products within five days of an order being placed. All of Verosol’s products contain unique high performance fabrics that represent the benchmark in the industry. The company is committed to providing their customers with the highest quality products in the market, so each finished product is 100 percent tested and inspected. Although this process is labour intensive, it has aided the company in reaching a less than one percent return ratio.
“We used to have a 10 day turnaround, now we've changed it to 5 days,” shared Rayer. “Verosol incorporates a high level of planning into production and purchasing through comprehensive Bill of Materials managed through our ERP system. In addition, safety stock calculations along with commercial forecasting also contribute to the planning process, to ensure that stock is available to meet short term demands.”
Another way Verosol is able to guarantee such a short turnaround time has been by increasing the level of inventory. The company also has a very flexible workforce in the factory that is able to work longer hours or move around shifts to dedicate the time needed to maintain their short turnaround promise.
“We're more reactive from a manufacturing standpoint,” said Rayer. “We have a good level of information processing going through between commercial staff and the factories. We have a seamless process from an order being entered to an order being manufactured and out the door.”
Verosol has recently invested in several parts of the business to work towards a seamless experience for its customers and its employees. A new website and a focus on marketing research have been top priority for the company, with investment in 2015’s marketing increasing by 25 percent.
The focus of this marketing push will be B2C channels and figuring out where they are missing out on end consumers.
“We are currently doing research into B2B and B2C to identify gaps not only with our existing customers but also gaps in terms of geography: where we don't have a representation via dealers and areas from where our next business is going to come,” explained Rayer. "This gives us some direction in regards to how we will then roll out the strategy of development for the next five years.”
Verosol has several continuous improvement strategies in place that allow it to guarantee five-day turnaround and a high-quality product. Staff training and support is a high priority for the company. Working groups, regular meetings, continuous updates and both informal and formal staff reviews are all in place to make sure employees are performing to their capacity and are satisfied with the work environment.
Time studies are conducted on manufacturing processes to ensure that a constant management of staff efficiency and proficiency is in place. This reflects through the entire supply chain via the construction of refined routes for calculation and cost visibility. Verosol has also developed policies and procedures that allow the organisation to systematically review the quality of its products, services and procedures. Some current review topics surround transportation, inventory safety stock, motion (people movements, travelling, etc.) and warranty claims.
Perhaps most important to the company’s continuous improvement strategies is Verosol’s commitment to seeking out stakeholder feedback and market research.
The company that continues to be on the forefront of innovation in its sector has high goals for the next five years.
“I think the business will double its size in terms of revenue, with pretty much the same staff we have on today,” shared Rayer. “We'll still be present in all of our locations. We’re also committed to building a brand new purpose-built location with a larger building for our manufacturing facility and offices, as well as a showroom. It will be 30 to 40 percent larger in size to accommodate this doubling of growth.”