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22nd September 2017
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Uform celebrates 20 years in business
At a recent celebration, held for its entire workforce at company headquarters in Toomebridge, Uform celebrated 20 amazing years in business. Over this time, Uform has achieved many landmarks and successes and faced equally as many challenges in what have been exceptionally trying times for the KBB sector. Throughout it all, there has been one mainstay in this first generation family businesses formation and success, and that is the determination and tenacity of its founder, Eddie Donnelly.
Eddie Donnelly started his career in the furniture industry almost 40 years ago, from his home shed. He went on to form Oakwood Door Designs in 1993 with his three sons, Eamon, Paul & Seamus, and as the sole salesman of the company in its early years, without the luxury of technology at his fingertips, Eddie's dedication and charismatic nature saw him grow the family business from only a handful of customers in Northern Ireland to 100 (in the first two years) throughout the whole of Ireland.
By 1997 Eddie, Eamon, Paul & Seamus found their customer base rapidly expanding and so decided to open their first purpose-built factory to meet with demand. Business accolades soon followed with Oakwood Door Designs winning 'Fastest Growing SME' in Northern Ireland in both 1997 and 1999.
By 2003, the Donnellys decided the time was right to rebrand the company and establish a more intense marketing strategy and so Uform was born, followed by the opening of its 75,000 sq ft factory in Toomebridge in 2005. Now, with almost 2,000 customers throughout Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the UK, the company continues to flourish, offering incredibly innovative, high quality and cost effective products to its customer base.
Eddie's friendly personality and willingness to go that extra mile for his customers have always won him not only business, but lifelong friends in the industry. His company vision remains an inspiration to all and since his retirement in 2010 that vision continues to be carried out by his sons, Eamon and Paul Donnelly.
With a drastically changed market in the last five years the Uform business model had to change accordingly. The awareness of customer needs and the need to satisfy those needs is now ingrained across the organisation.
Eamon Donnelly, managing director, outlines this in no uncertain terms: "It has never been about just supplying kitchen components for us. It's about the quality, the service and our relationship with our customers through our philosophy of being easy to do business with. Products and prices are important but become meaningless without service. Service is not just about operational stats, it's about knowing your customers and having the right people with the right attitude and skill set to deal with their needs and delivering on the company mission statement that represents our values and brand."
The Uform mission statement is reinforced daily to ensure that high standards continue to be achieved:
"We aim to put our customers at the forefront of all decisions and through constant research and development, supply new and innovative quality products complete on time, every time," adds Eamon.
"These values have contributed to our success and are reflected in Uform's recent win of the 'Supplier of the Year' award at the Kitchen Retail Ireland Awards.
"Uform is a family business and our people are part of that family and ethos, they are what make the real difference. We are very proud of them and their continued dedication through what have been very challenging times and we are equally proud of the fact that a large proportion of them have been with us for the last 15 years. We have people who care and that is what makes the real difference. The old adage 'United we stand, divided we fall' comes to mind and we are proud to say we have remained united through thick and thin.
"Our task, as a company going forward, is not to fix the blame for the past, but to fix the course for the future and we have and will continue to look to the future. We would like to thank all our staff (past and present), our suppliers and our customers for their support over the last 20 years and look forward to creating employment and super satisfying the needs of our customers for the next 20 years and beyond."
27th September 2013