Andy Chell Managing Director, Lumilow Lighting

With the advent of energy-efficient LED technology, the UK lighting industry is experiencing one of the most exciting and game-changing periods in its history. However at the same time high demand for LED lighting has resulted in an influx of inferior, untested products from outside the EU.

To redress the balance the directors of Lumilow Lighting founded the company in 2013 as an honest broker with a lighting engineering background, offering non-domestic customers a suite of ‘best in class’ products and solutions backed by a full warranty. Lumilow has won a large number of high profile contracts in the last 12 months, with 300-400% growth projected for the end of its fourth year. Despite being the ‘new kid’ in the industry Lumilow has quickly become the trusted lighting supplier for a number of big name brands and venues, including Leeds Bradford Airport, HSS, Morrisons and Westfield Shopping Centre, Bradford.

Leading Lumilow Lighting as Managing Director in the next stage of its development is respected industry leader Andy Chell, one of the best-known and best-trusted voices in the lighting market. Andy Chell spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.

WLN – First of all, Andy, what does your role as MD involve day to day? Do you personally work with customers to develop solutions for them? Who else is in the management team?

My role is mainly facilitating the sales process and overseeing all other aspects of the business. We are proud of our ethos of outstanding customer service and we can only do that by retaining close client contact. I am still involved day to day with clients and that will never leave me – I think that gaining front line insight into their challenges and needs is a crucial part of remaining a truly customer-focused business.

WLN – How long have you been at Lumilow? What were you doing before this?

I have now been at Lumilow for two years and have enjoyed seeing the business develop. I have been in the lighting industry for over 25 years now and still love every minute of it. My background is in lighting manufacturing and supply, but also lighting controls and maintenance, so a true all round breadth of experience.

WLN – Who were the founders of Lumilow Lighting? What are their roles in the company?

Lumilow was founded by Mr Geoff Mountain, who retains a position as Group Chairman.

WLN – Is Lumilow part of a group of other companies?

Lumilow Lighting is part of a wider group of companies which includes MSL Property Care Services and Pitts Wilson Electrical. Together the group has a heritage spanning over 100 years and services a customer base including some of the UK’s biggest companies.

WLN – Where does the name “Lumilow” come from? I’m guessing luminosity and low energy consumption – is that right?

It is really a play on words to sum up our ethos of offering products which consume the least energy possible without compromising on performance. So yes, ‘Lumi’ for the lumen output and ‘low’ for low energy solutions.

WLN – In a crowded warehouse lighting marketplace, why choose Lumilow as an LED provider?

Our proposed solutions come with a full business case setting out the full and true ROI. We can advise clients on the correct funding channels to achieve the most efficient total cost of ownership (TCO) and also on maximising tax advantages in funding depreciating assets. In a confusing, crowded market we offer a strong, authoritative voice on every aspect of correctly applied lighting. We also look for continual improvement in product quality and specification and always select products which are the most effective, economic and efficient for the best client experience.

WLN – What kind of lighting products do you offer, from which suppliers?

All our products are designed and developed by our team here in the UK and then manufactured for us by trusted and accredited partners. Our products include a full suite for all industrial and commercial applications, from low bays and high bays for warehouses to recessed luminaires for offices.

WLN – Do you carry out your own installations?

We have an electrical contracting business within our Group so we can offer to carry out installations anywhere in the UK. Or if clients have their preferred contractors then we’re happy to work with them and supply products as well as manage the project.

WLN – You’re committed to supporting the local region around Halifax, where you are based. How is this reflected in your choice of providers and engineering partners for client projects?

Where possible we work with local providers to reduce carbon impact and provide growth to the region. We also believe in giving back to the area, supporting local charities.

WLN – Which non-domestic sectors do you offer lighting solutions to?

We cover industrial, commercial, retail, education and agricultural.

WLN – You mentioned your major projects so far including Leeds Bradford Airport, HSS, Morrisons and Westfield Shopping Centre, Bradford. Which of these projects involved warehouses? What proportion of your ongoing business is warehouses? Do you have a dedicated team covering warehouses?

We are dedicated to the warehouse and logistics sectors as we see these as areas where there can be maximum impact in terms of energy savings and reduction in maintenance. Many of our existing projects have been for warehousing and logistics sites. Morrisons is probably our best known warehouse sector client, but we are also now working on a major project for a high street retailer to change all of their existing warehouse lights to LED, incorporating intelligent lighting controls. We see the controls sector as being really exciting and we can now use data received by the lights to track movement within a warehouse. So for example, if we can see that lights in the far end of a warehouse are used most, that tells us that items are picked frequently from this area so we feed this back to the client to suggest they move these items closer to the despatch area for maximum efficiency.

WLN – Warehouses characteristically have high ceilings, large spaces and narrow aisles. What do you see as the most important factors for clients to consider when specifying a warehouse lighting system?

Beware of glare: think about ‘colour temperature’ and its effect on morale and productivity: make sure you have even light distribution in all areas: take control with occupancy sensors and remote dimming controls: recognise that not all LED systems are equal. I’ve written a blog about all this on our website, lumilow.com, titled ‘5 things to consider when choosing LED lighting for warehouses.’

WLN – How long are your warranty periods?

All our projects come with a five year warranty as standard with the first year being a return to site warranty. This means that in the first year, if any product fails, we will return to site to change it at our cost.

WLN – Are you accredited to any recognised industry standards do you work to?

We’re actively working towards ISO90001, which we hope to achieve by quarter 3, 2017. We then plan to work towards ISO14001 environmental management system accreditation and ISO27001 for information security.

WLN – Are you members of any trade associations?

We are members of the Lighting Industry Association, the lighting industry’s premier trade association and adhere to their standards.

WLN – What are your plans for taking the company forward as you grow?

We have a Charter of Standards called ‘The Lumilow Logic,’ which aims to provide customers with the best possible experience and outcomes. This details how we aim to be outstanding at all times and sets our performance standards. We are always looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of our products and looking for new and innovative solutions to maximise the Customer experience.

WLN – As you grow, your employees will play a vital role in achieving your vision and delivering customer experience. Are you putting initiatives in place to make them feel engaged and involved?

We have a thriving apprenticeship scheme and we are now on our second intake. We continue to develop staff and our first apprentice, Sophie is back at college studying for her AAT qualifications. Our staff are our greatest asset and we work hard to ensure they are happy, even giving them an extra day off for their birthday!

WLN – You clearly have a vision for transforming the lighting business. What are you doing to bring the market with you?

We pride ourselves as being ‘market educators,’ empowering customers to make informed choices, pushing industry for better standards, transparency and accountability. We write regular blog posts and guides and speak at local business events and will continue this push.

WLN – Final question: where do you see the business in five years’ time?

We have a structured growth plan where we aim to have doubled the size of the business in 5 years. But we will do this by continuing to work with our existing clients. So far we have never lost a client and we hope that trend will continue.

LUMILOW LIGHTING LTD

Tel: 01422 343566

Email: sales@lumilow.com

www.lumilow.com