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The HPP Team Visit Kronospan

Kronospan Chirk timber yard

Our marketing team recently ventured out of the office to take a trip to Kronospan's production facility in Chirk, Wrexham.

The main aim of the trip was to learn more about some of their latest developments, new products and ideas, and to get a good feel for just what goes into making some of the most interesting and innovative boards on the market.

The site was a hub of activity, as the company are in the process of re-structuring most of their manufacturing facility to make it more efficient, and more capable to cope with growing demand for their vast range of boards for the KBB and construction markets.

We were first taken to a picturesque old farmhouse which sits in the middle of their huge 150+ acre site, which now houses their meeting rooms and product display suite.

The showroom featured some of the latest product ranges to come out of Kronospan's growing worldwide portfolio, and one that is due for imminent launch being the Trends 16/17 collection, which we'll be making available to all HPP customers in the coming weeks.

We were also taken on a tour of their site to see just what goes into making some of the leading board in the marketplace.

The first thing that caught our interest is how technology has leapt forward in recent years when it comes to recycled material for board.

For many years, recycled material in MFC products was seen as a bad thing due to blade dulling, split-out and so on, but thanks to new technology and intensive cleaning methods (both dry and wet), the Kronospan team were able to show us just how much work goes into ensuring that recycled product going into board is as pure, clean and contamination-free as possible.

It surprised us just what they were able to extract before a product is even started, with things like glass, metal, sand and large wood chippings being taken out at a very early stage, which is reassuring, as it guarantees that each board delivered from HPP will be fit for its application, giving our customers the confidence they need in using any of our products.

Another huge plus is that this more intensive and environmentally aware method of cleaning is helping to reduce our environmental impact thanks for more recycled product being able to be added, which in turn is helping to reduce the amount that goes into landfill, increasing recycling, and ensuring the KBB industry keeps a close eye on reducing the impact we have on our landscape wherever possible.

We also got to take a look at the sizeable manufacturing processes that go into making the likes of MDF and MFC board possible, and when we say the scale was huge, we really mean it... The walk along one production line was enough to work up a sweat!

Seeing the massive £150k plates that create textured woodgrain, the multi-million pound production lines and the hundreds of people that go into making each board as uniform and perfect as the other made us realise just what goes into producing some of the most innovative boards in the industry.

The experience was a great one for our team and gave us the chance to gain a better appreciation of the hard work and effort that goes into each and every Kronospan product.

Photographs: reproduced by kind permission of Jan Ford (http://janfordsworld.blogspot.co.uk)

Moving Your Business Digital - Keeping Up With Technology

Social media networks.

With so many choices and routes to marketing your company online, we often find many retailers, installers and designers asking what route really is the best.

The KBB industry has a bad reputation for being somewhat behind the times when it comes to online marketing and digital presence, so we thought we'd pull together a few helpful hints and tips to get your online marketing and sales strategy up and running quickly and easily.

Set up your social media accounts

First and foremost, you should have some form of presence via social media channels. Most consumers have their own Facebook or twitter accounts, and often use these for information search, recommendations and general conversation.

According to figures released in America, 90% of marketing professionals use social platforms for lead generation and often turn that lead into a conversion or sale, so imagine the possibilities if you have a solid online presence in your local market.

Content through these platforms should be useful, interesting and engaging, so make sure to keep things short, sweet, and most importantly, relevant. Try to build a brand personality online, and stick with it!

Online competitions can be a great way of generating interaction and sharing of your content too, so try offering something of value to the consumer, that they're then likely to share with their friends.

By doing all of the above, users are more likely to share your content with others, helping to generate much better and wider awareness of your company and product / service offering.

Ensure your online presence is right too

Whilst you might now have your social media accounts sorted, you also need to give your own website some serious attention too. You have to think of this as your shop window or brochure, a possible first point of contact with your prospective customer, and something that needs to win them over quickly and easily whilst enticing them to find out more.

The key to a good website is to ensure it is visually appealing, easy to navigate and offers the prospect answers to the questions they might have. Being able to find what they're looking for quickly and easily increases positive feelings about the site, and the company, meaning a higher chance of an online enquiry and sale.

By doing all these things, as well as offering an easy point of contact (add contact forms, easily visible phone numbers and email addresses), your likely chance of converting that user into an actual customer increases significantly.

Ensure you can be found

Once you're site looks the part and works well, you need to make sure it can be seen too.

To make sure this happens, add quality content to your website, such as blog items, social media posts, videos, latest news and general product information. By adding good quality content, you are more likely to be better listed by Google and other major search engines, meaning your customers are more likely to find you more easily than they would your competitors.

If you're struggling to hit the listings you really want, you can always consider paid for advertising, which would be banner ads on large industry websites or trade publications, or via online advertising through search engines (known as pay per click or PPC for short).

Keep in touch

Don't be a stranger when it comes to keeping in touch with your customers.

Sending out regular email campaigns, text messages or even just social messages via social channels, you are reminding your customer base that you still exist and are there if they need you. Frequency is key, but don't overdo this either, keep communications to a manageable level to ensure customers don't feel they are being bombarded with messages too often.

Review and revise

Once you've got your online presence in line and working well for you, don't just leave it at that. There are many tools available that allow you to review your sources of traffic to your website, monitor your social media impact and reach, as well as monitoring your paid for advertising.

By analysing your content and making subtle adjustments, you can refine your online presence to ensure maximum reach is achieved, and maximum returns are gained!

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