Well established tool supplier Lee Garth Tools, has developed a strong reputation for quality and service within the local area, but now it has its sights set on the wider market
Founded over 35 years ago, Doncaster based tool and equipment supplier Lee Garth Tools has established itself as the go to place for the local area’s specialist equipment needs. Originally set up to serve the large engineering industry in the area, the company has had to evolve over the years to keep up with the changing market. “The demise of the engineering industry coincided with the rise of the construction and civil engineering industry,” explains MD, David Bowker. “This means we have had to shift our focus.” Specialising in power tools and associated products to a variety of trade industries, quality is paramount for the company with the vast majority of its stock being of good, reliable quality. Much of Lee Garth’s small team have been with the company for over 25 years, building up an extensive knowledge base. As a result Lee Garth Tools is known for its strong service and problem solving ability.
It is in this staff base that David sees the strength of the business. “I think our strengths are product knowledge, the quality of the product and the service that we provide. Between the eight of us here, somebody will know what the customer needs, and its rare if they don’t,” he notes. The core of the company’s business is in the engineering, building, civil engineering and shop fitting sectors, but it also has a particular ability to serve the rail industry, which has a strong presence in Doncaster. “This is a more specialist industry,” outlines David. “Fortunately for us with the knowledge and experience the staff have, we know where to obtain these more specialist products. We know which wholesalers or manufacturers to go to in order to get the products we need. We also understand the different health and safety rules within the rail industry that can affect what we are supplying. We’re known in the area as a solution provider – a problem solver – our customers know that if we haven’t got it, we can get it,” says David.
Serving such a broad and varied market obviously throws up problems for Lee Garth Tools. “Managing the diverse customer base, and wide ranging supply demands is one of the challenges for the business,” notes David. “We’ve got about 4000 product, stocking everything from toilet roll to heavy duty sledge hammers. The internet has made managing this a lot easier, as we can now promote special offers and specialist items.”
However, in operating within such a market, it is critical that Lee Garth Tools can manage its supply chain effectively, building strong relationships with suppliers and customers alike. David emphasises: “We work very closely with our suppliers. With service as such a major part of our business it is about meeting the customers expectation every time. Strong supplier relationships are important because we need a quality service from them too, we need to know that we can trust our suppliers to provide us with the right quality products at the right time.”
Yet as Lee Garth Tools experiences strong levels of growth in the current market, managing this supply chain is becoming a significant challenge. In the first three months of this year the company has experienced turnover up 15-16 per cent on last year. With a strengthening of the economy, and the subsequent upsurge within the construction market David notes how contractors within the house building, engineering and shop fitting markets all seem to be very busy at the moment. “One of the problems with the increasing trade is that some of the suppliers run out of stock,” he says. “With a lot of their products being imported, it means if they haven’t got it today, they may not have it for a month which is no good for us and our customers. In most areas we make sure we have duplicate suppliers, so we have some back up. With a lot of large customers in the area needing stock at short notice we have to manage our supply chain to ensure that we have what we know is needed, so that when it is needed we can provide it straight away.”
Illustrating the current positivity within the company, David highlights: “The business is extremely strong at the moment.” It is a positivity that is evident in the company’s plans for the future. “We’ve just launched our website, and we are continuing to develop that online presence,” he continues. “We currently have a few customers nationwide, and we are very pleased with the efficient delivery services available to deliver products across the country in good time. With the website we are trying to expand outside of the Doncaster area. As I look into the future I am sticking to quality products and focusing on expanding outside of the immediate area, there is only so much business in Doncaster.”
Over the last 35 years, Lee Garth Tools has remained committed to the service it delivers, and this is what has made it such a strong player in the Doncaster market. The move online represents a new age for the company as it looks beyond the borders of Doncaster to establish itself within the UK industry. Offering quality product, and quality service supported by strong supply chains will define the company as it moves into a highly competitive UK market, but as long as it remains committed to these values the future looks bright for Lee Garth Tools.
Lee Garth Tools
Services: Tool and equipment supplier