JCP Fixings, the specialist fixings division of Owlett-Jaton, is now one of the UK’s largest fixings brands. Impressively, it has achieved this position in a demanding market in just 20 years and up against brands that have had (at least) a good few decades’ head start. So, how did it make its way into the top ranks of the fixings game? Torque Magazine digs deeper…
Back in 2001, Owlett-Jaton was already recognised as one of the UK’s largest fixings suppliers, but it did not offer its own brand. JCP – Jaton Construction Products – was launched to address that, giving Owlett-Jaton its own fixings brand. Since then, JCP has grown in stature, including an ever-increasing range of high-quality products and packaging options, all built on reputation.
Keeping up with the ever-changing demands of the construction industry is something which JCP prides itself on. “It is a broad spectrum from which changes are generated; from legislation, through to consumer expectations,” says JCP Fixings General Manager Nick Beardon, who joined the company in 2003. “Regulations and standards in the construction industry are by no means set in stone – they (rightly) adapt over time. For example, we have seen a rise in demand for certified products from distributors, architects, engineers, and specifiers alike, who recognise the overall advantages of specifying certified products. Consumer buying needs continually change too, for example, improved packaging for the consumer.
“Any form of change – irrespective of origin, inevitably has an impact on the supply chain; identifying, responding, and adapting appropriately to change is a fundamental element of our survival, and indeed, success.”
It hardly needs saying that in the construction industry it is imperative that the right product is used first time, every time; inexpensive and inferior alternatives can be potentially dangerous, and almost inevitably result in avoidable complications (and ultimately cost) at some stage, or another. Since its inception, JCP has only offered a range of high-quality products, often certified and regulated, including CE approved, ETA Certified, WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) and Fire Resistance products.
Over the 20 years the product range has grown year-on-year and this is a trend that is set to continue; on that note, the new 2021 JCP Fixings catalogue will be landing on desks from mid-February and will include even more items than ever before.
JCP now offer ‘trade’ and ‘retail’ bags, branded with the JCP Fixings logo and livery. Split into four categories (medium-duty, heavy-duty, nylon and cavity, and self-drilling screws) each product is clearly colour coded. The label also shows base material icons for which the product is recommended, clear instructions for installation, along with extended technical details ensuring the application is correct; the packaging also includes a QR code that takes you through to the relevant Technical data sheet on the JCP Fixings website.
“This is a great example of where we responded to a change in the market,” explains Beardon. “Today’s society has higher expectations regarding the retail environment, and coinciding with this, the quality of packaging. The result? An improved retail experience, where the branded packaging is striking, regimental
in appearance, and much more inviting. It is even easier for customers to find what they want, and the clear instructions help consumers choose the right product; all of this often leads to an increase in sales for our customers, and ultimately, us too”.
TECHNICAL FOUNDATIONS >SUPPORT, PRODUCT TESTING AND TRAINING
As noted earlier, the high stakes of the construction industry mean it is vital that the right product is used first time, so knowledge and technical support has been a cornerstone of JCP, which offers numerous forms of service, including an in-depth technical website, onsite product testing, training session opportunities and ECAP Membership.
The JCP website was originally launched seven years after the brand was set up and offered technical datasheets. Since then, it has gained increased importance. In 2013, it was redesigned and interactive software was introduced for the first time. The website has continued to be updated and deliver the most up-to-date information, keeping in line with changes in the product offering, legislation, and market demands. Product information, load and range data, performance data sheets, installation instructions, base material guidance, are just some of the options available.
The JCP website has been developed with the distributor, architect, engineer and specifier in mind, and includes the Anchor Calculation Program (ACP), which is designed to implify specifying connections to floors, ceilings, and walls, and factors in loadings, spacing, and edge distances. The programs are updated regularly to ensure they are compliant with any changes in legislation or industry standards and is available free of charge for anyone to download.
Where required, JCP offers onsite product testing by their highly experienced Area Sales Managers, right across the UK. Beardon explains: “There has been a shift in the construction industry, whereby we have seen an increase in such requests. Whether it is in line with a building regulation requirement, or for peace of mind, our Area Sales Managers provide advice on behalf of our customers. We are visiting sites on an almost daily basis performing testing to demonstrate the suitability of our products”. The JCP Fixings technical support team also provides troubleshooting technical back up when required.
The technical department offers training sessions for distributors, project managers, and designers, at JCP’s dedicated training centre. With three levels of training to choose from, they can all be tailored to meet the needs of the audience. The training provides an opportunity for people to get a hands-on-experience with products from the JCP Fixings range.
JCP is also in the forefront of the vital area of legislation and standards, thanks to its membership of ECAP (European Consortium of Anchor Producers). ECAP is a group of European producers, where the members influence the standardisation of their products. This helps to ensure that their own technical needs are considered and secured in European Standardisation and Technical Assessments, as well as enhance the technical development of their products.
FIXED ON THE FUTURE
2020 has proven that predictions don’t always come true, and while JCP cannot say for sure where it will be in another 20 years, it is certain to remain fully committed to its customers. As technologies and innovation continue to improve, JCP will be at the forefront of ensuring that the ‘right’ products are
sourced and supplied, it says.
The website will be continually monitored to offer visitors the most up-to-date technical information, as well as being developed to offer even more support. JCP Fixings staff will still be providing the best level of support possible; indeed, they have a new Technical Manager – Reza Jafari, who replaces Brian Deluce, who recently retired after having joined JCP in September of the same year it was launched. Jafari has a degree in Structural Engineering from the Milan Polytechnic and qualified as a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. Jafari’s technical knowledge, coupled with having previously worked with design engineers, brings a new level of expertise to the Technical department. And if he continues in the footsteps of Brian Deluce, he will be there to enjoy celebrating JCP Fixings reaching the big ‘4’ ‘0’.
This article originally appeared in the February issue of Torque Magazine. Read the full mag online here. Are you a part of the fastener, tool, fixing or related industries? You can subscribe to Torque Magazine or sign up to our weekly newsletter.