A new chapter for William Turner

The new factory in Nelson

At the end of this month William Turner will begin production of its range of ties and college scarves in a new factory in Nelson, Lancashire. This marks a new chapter for this family led business.

P&P editor Melanie Attlesey reports.

This move has been in the planning for the last 12 months. News of the planned relocation into the new 10,000sq ft production facility was announced in March last year.

Production director, John Turner, explains the motivation behind the move: “Our previous factory lease in Colne was due to expire and a site became available to buy a few miles away. We employ a lot of incredibly skilled people locally, so this was a great way to move into a better spec premises and maintain full control of all aspects of our production without causing disruption to our dedicated staff. It’s an exciting time for the company.”

Ongoing commitment

The business celebrates 50 years in the industry in 2019, with the £900,000 Nelson factory investment marking its ongoing commitment to UK manufacturing and providing more control and stability in the market. William Turner’s recent customer survey revealed that over 50% of customers ranked lead times in their top three most important supplier factors.

Mr Turner continues: “This is what is key about being a UK manufacturer. We’re able to offer lower minimums and focus on quality control and our supply chain.”

A new factory isn’t the only development for the business, 2018 sees the addition of new products across its ranges. Customers who attended the 20th anniversary Schoolwear Show in October gained the opportunity to preview the new Schoolwear and Club & Corporatewear brochures as well as the new lines which includes; a pre-school backpack, hats, caps, hair accessories and newly designed hi viz bags.

Alongside producing around 40,000 ties a week in its UK factory, William Turner also manufactures British-made wool scarves. Sourced from the finest Saxony merino wool and with the option to add crest embroidery (among other finishing touches), the scarves are a suitable addition to any organisation or club looking to promote a sophisticated identity.

Exclusive partnership

Outside of its UK-based production facility, William Turner works in an exclusive partnership with a single factory in China. The factory covers 17,000sq ft and has dedicated all production over its five storeys solely to William Turner.

A large percentage of the William Turner business is for schools that require a high level of bespoke designs as well as hard-wearing quality fabric

Sales director Andy Smith explains: “The custom requirements of school orders we often pass via our Club & Corporate side of the company to fully utilise the bespoke services that allow customers to have bags that match their own colours while only needing to order 25 pieces.”

The close relationship with the Chinese factory allows the company to have a high level of involvement as in its own factories, with a dedicated team based off-shore and regular visits to ensure production is at a premium standard. To closely monitor and influence ethical and environmental issues, all of the factories are Sedex audited and the new bag factory is powered by eco-thermal technology to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

A machinist at work

Another development this year follows a combination of customer feedback and successful online offers. The supplier has reduced its carriage fees for customers who order through the Schoolwear website from free carriage for orders above £150 to £50.

Marketing manager Hayley Bonnick says: “The response following our free carriage offer last year was extremely positive, so we listened and chose to keep it as a permanent offering for website orders. Ordering stock items online has all round benefits for both sides (customers and supplier), predominantly that it’s a shop’ that’s open 24 hours, it’s accurate and fast…and now will save customers money on carriage.”

The new premises, along with the exclusivity agreement with the factory in China, ensures that the future for the school ties and accessories manufacturer is secure and bright.

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