KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
18th March 2016
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The kitchen is often the heart of the home... a busy hub of people gathering to eat, drink and socialise.
Today’s the day that the National Living Wage is introduced, increasing the pay of millions of the UK’s lowest paid workers (reportedly one in three people will benefit) in by far the biggest compulsory rise that’s been seen since the National Minimum Wage was brought in, back in April 1999.
While it has long been felt by many that taxes collected from better-off workers should not have been used to subsidise the wages of the low paid through tax credits, enabling some of the more successful companies to increase profits through not paying their workforces a living wage, there are other companies that would have struggled – and still will – to pay what’s being demanded of them.
So what’s the answer?
Many have said that they will have to lay people off or reduce the opportunities for overtime work that may be paid at a higher than normal rate, to balance out the wage bill to manageable levels. Others are saying that they will have to reduce benefits in some way, perhaps by cutting the length of breaks or even holidays, or by reducing bonuses or altering commission structures to make it harder for staff to reach targets.
Many recent studies have shown that company perks do more to promote loyalty and improve employee satisfaction than pay rises, so cutting perks is unlikely to be beneficial. It may encourage the most valuable members of the workforce to seek employment elsewhere and thus increase costs through the need for recruitment and the subsequent training of new members of the team. Staff turnover can also damage the business more subtly, with the lack of continuity and valued business relationships that are broken as a result, perhaps making clients consider switching to a different supplier.
We, in the UK, are often slated for our lack of productivity and it is through addressing this issue that many see as being the best way of coping with higher wage bills and improving the company in other ways as a result.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development has, I believe, a good take on the best way forward. You can read its statements below – and if you have any comments on the suggestions made, or ideas that you’d like to share with KBzine’s readers, we’d love to learn about them
This Week's News
When we finally managed to get onto the stand on the final day, we met with Marcel Crezee, CEO of Der Kreis, of which the Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group is a part.
The kbbreview Awards 2016 were announced at the much anticipated ceremony, held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on the Monday of the show, which meant that there were some bleary eyes to be seen around the halls on the Tuesday morning.
We heard that a number of those who'd been out celebrating - whether as winners or not - hadn't actually made it to bed and had simply returned to their rooms for breakfast, a shower and a change of clothes!
Blanco UK's passion for perfection was reflected in a comprehensive portfolio of hobs, sinks, taps and extractor hoods - focusing on 'perfection above the countertop'.
TKC used its third appearance at KBB to showcase a new kitchen range, premium wirework and a revamped lighting collection.
Sanipex Group UK, distributor of quality bathroom brands including Bagnodesign, Galassia and Bossini, showcased the latest designs was home to new ranges in Bagnodesign's sanitaryware and brassware collections.
Among the highlights was the expanded range of M Line brassware (pictured), now available in a choice of finishes including chrome, brushed nickel, matt black, matt white and polished copper.
Smooth to the touch and just as easy on the eye, the newly introduced silk finish was attracting lots of attention, as were the four new kitchen collections that wear it well.
Trend Interiors created a stir with its largest stand ever, as it launched three major collections of worktops, media furniture and sliding wardrobes as well as additions to the kitchens, bathrooms and fitted bedroom ranges.
Indeed the stand featured four kitchen, four bedroom, five full bathroom, five basin units and one media display. All the kitchen displays included the new European styled square edged worktop, UrbanTop, which creates a fully coordinated designer look by matching with doors, cabinets and panelling across a wide range of finishes.
Showerwall celebrated its 21st birthday at KBB with a distinctive new range update, demonstrating the design strides made for this practical surfacing material with the launch of the premium Showerwall Infinity range with 14 distinctively edgy decors, together with seven new designs in the standard range.
"We feel the market is ready for a fresh injection of ideas that will appeal to a broader demographic of customers from young to old," explained Claire Lambert, product director for Showerwall. "Between our standard Showerwall range and the bolder Infinity range, we are offering up a wealth of choice that can cater for a wide range of tastes and projects."
Burbidge most certainly made an impression at this year's KBB Birmingham, having returned to the exhibition for the first time in 16 years to showcase its sophisticated new brand - The Bathroom Furniture Co.
Burbidge boasted a stunning stand adorned with its beautiful new bathroom collection, supported with a full team on hand throughout to meet and greet guests, give advice and answer questions.
Showcasing its commitment to 'smart surfaces and clever ideas' Bushboard's stand had four dedicated kitchen zones showing the depth and breadth of its portfolio of premium Prima and Omega laminate and pioneering installer-ready Encore solid surface and M-Stone quartz worksurfaces, offering retailers a choice of products to meet all design needs and price points.
Adding to that, Bushboard is majoring on its strong support for independent showroom retailers with free installer training, comprehensive POS showroom display support for all brands and 360 degree customer service offering technical and product advice and free sampling.
In a strategic move to strengthen it base in the mid-to-value end of the market and expand its retail following, Carron Phoenix used the show to launch a reinvigorated offer for its Carron Centre partnerships as well as display some new ranges.
Fiona Bowyer, marketing director at Franke, explained that retail partners are invited to display Carron Phoenix as the dominant sink and tap brand in their showroom and commit to achieving a set turnover target and in return enjoy an attractive rebate scheme, receive free display products, have a priority web listing and receive dedicated branding promoting their exclusive partnership with Carron Phoenix.
Luxury kitchens demand luxury touches and Pronorm demonstrated its ability to offer just that with the launch of its impeccable new Pro-Tech drawer box system available in a choice of titan aluminium and oak finishes.
Pro-Tech is the top of the range spec in the company's drawer box offering and is precision manufactured from high quality aluminium to give exceptional visual sleekness and functionality.
Hafele UK showcased the latest in stylish kitchen design and modern functionality, via its interactive stand, themed 'More Life per sq.m, which presented some innovative design solutions developed to meet the growing demand for space, comfort, convenience and function - all of which are required for modern day living.
In a world where work and living spaces are continuously shrinking, Hafele demonstrated the stylish solutions that are actively making household spaces work harder. Helping deliver these solutions are the many market leading brands the company brings together under one roof. Two key partners, Grass and Vauth-Sagel, exhibited alongside Hafele, showcasing their latest innovations too. Visitors were also able to learn more about the most recent brand partnerships with Smeg and Vi
With Pelipal, retailers can offer cutting edge design, innovative and precision German engineering for every budget. "When you exceed expectations, you create a winning business strategy," says the company. The roomsets on the stand were certainly stunning...
With its clean lines and simple, elegant design, the Solitaire 6010 has joined Pelipal's premiere collections. Numerous widths in the vanity units and LED lit mirrors plus a host of wall-hung cabinets are just the start of a stylish and flexible range that enables every bathroom to be tailored to individual customer needs.
Caple pulled out all the stops with two stands totalling 200sq.m at this year's KBB event, showcasing more than 85 products. Four dynamic kitchen ranges featured new, high-performance appliances joining Caple's signature Classic, Sense and Sense Premium collections.
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