Sara LBS supplies, installs and maintains loading bay equipment for manufacturing, warehouse loading and distribution networks, as well as high-speed doors and roller shutter doors for industrial, production line, cleanroom and food processing applications. Its high-speed range of ‘Sprint’ fast action doors offer quick opening speeds and improved safety for internal and external applications.
sara LBS is a total package provider and can design and install loading bay solutions, from single products such as dock levellers, scissor lifts and loading doors, through to complete loading docks, as well as dedicated after sales support thanks to its nationwide repair and maintenance network.
Louise Nurse, Sales and Marketing Manager of sara LBS, speaks to Warehouse and Logistics News.
What are your best-known products and services?
To our customers we are best known for our engineering capabilities and industry expertise that allows us to design, install and service loading bay and industrial door solutions that deliver security, energy efficiency, safety and thermal insulation.
Unlike a lot of product re-sellers, we are able to project manage the installation of our systems and work directly with architects, contractors and site owners to make sure a project is completed to deadline and to budget.
In terms of product, our dock levellers, scissor lifts and loading bay pods are very popular. However, the real flagship product range has to be our ‘Sprint’ high-speed doors. We’re able to deliver the fastest opening and closing speeds on the market with a range of options that suit even the harshest of operating conditions.
Which market sectors and countries are your customers in? Which ones are growing fastest?
sara LBS operates across the whole of the UK. We have a national network of engineers that service regular maintenance contracts as well as 24/7 emergency repair.
We supply into a vast range of markets, providing solutions for aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, IT and other high-end sectors. We also work with a lot of distribution centres for the retail and food industries as well as factories and manufacturing centres.
How do your products benefit your customers’ businesses?
We see our services providing two key roles for our customers.
Firstly, we help to keep their logistics network flowing by ensuring reliable, efficient loading and unloading. We design integrated solutions that incorporate automated docking solutions, high-speed loading doors and safety focussed accessories.
Secondly, we reduce costs. For example our Sprint high-speed doors use less energy per cycle than slower doors, which reduces energy costs overall. They also improve the thermal insulation of a warehouse or distribution centre.
Why should customers choose you as their main supplier in your area?
sara LBS has 35 years of experience as a business. Many of our designers and engineers have a similar level of personal experience.
The reality is that there is a lot of high quality products available on the market nowadays, so performance gains will often be marginal compared to other premium brands.
Where sara LBS can make a real difference is in the quality and consistency of customer service. We will conduct site visits and manage our projects through design, supply, delivery and installation – making sure our part of the project runs smoothly.
We also have a dedicated service network of CSCS trained engineers who are able to look after the complete loading bay – even parts that weren’t originally supplied by us. In today’s world there is nothing more important than service. That’s where sara LBS excels.
What’s business been like in the past year?
How have conditions changed over this period and how have you reacted? Like most businesses, we entered 2018 with caution. With everything that’s going on in the world there is a lot of uncertainty, which we all know is the precursor to recession.
Having said that, the year has been very positive for us as a business and we have performed well. We’ve managed to secure quite a few large projects in the North and Scotland, while we’ve also secured long term supply contracts in the automotive sector.
The most obvious change that we’ve seen is the continued increase in demand from customers for full service solutions. As more and more businesses enter the market who are re-selling product from overseas there seems to be a backlash from customers who want more – they want to find a supplier who can be a partner to them.
What were the business highlights for you in the last 12 months?
A personal highlight has been working to supply loading bays for the Co-op’s new distribution centre in the Highlands. This was a flagship project for the brand in anticipation of opening 18 new stores across Scotland with more to follow.
sara LBS was involved from the start, tasked to design and supply loading bay solutions that would integrate with the rest of the warehouse to ensure seamless loading and unloading.
What new products have you brought out?
We are constantly evolving our product catalogue to make sure that we offer our customers the very best in terms of reliability, efficiency, safety and price. Our new range of freezer doors have proven extremely popular with the food production and distribution markets. These sliding doors are lined with 120mm of insulation and are engineered to protect the hygiene of stored food. They are supplied with CE marking and certified in accordance with the UNE EN 13241-1 standard.
What factors do you see affecting your business in the coming year? How will you turn these into opportunities?
It’s impossible to ignore the spectre of Brexit which is sure to be the biggest influencing factor on business in 2019 and beyond. Without getting into the political debate, UK businesses need to prepare for real possibility that imported products will increase in price and availability may be an issue.
If this is the case then the chances are that the number of new projects getting signed off will drop significantly. We saw a similar situation in 2008 after the financial crisis, where people simply stopped spending money.
Ironically, the years after the financial crisis were some of the best in terms of our maintenance and repair services. It stands to reason that if new loading bays aren’t getting built then older equipment will need to be maintained to keep it in service.
Having established ourselves as engineering partners to our customers I believe that our opportunity over the next 12-18 months lies in offering solutions that adds value to our customers’ existing installations.
What big news from sara LBS can our readers look forward to seeing in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2019? To paraphrase and old joke, ‘when’s a door not a door?’
Talking about the next big development in door technology isn’t likely to get you in the next edition of New Scientist. However, the advances being made in automation technology means that door systems are becoming smarter every year.
We’re already able to programme doors to recognise the type of vehicle that’s approaching and adjust its opening height accordingly. We can also use automation technology to protect against injury by communicating with dock levellers to stop the door being opened before a vehicle is docked.
Throughout 2019 we will continue to update our product catalogue with the newest technology and will be banging the drum for improved safety and reducing energy costs for warehouse operation.
The answer by the way… ‘when it’s ajar’.
And finally, if you had to sum up your company in a tweet what would it be? sara LBS designs and delivers on the UK’s most efficient and reliable doors and loading bays.