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Exclusive interview: Graeme Leonard, Director of Sales for Victaulic


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Graeme Leonard, Director of Sales for Victaulic outlines why their products help customers alleviate labour risks  

What makes Victaulic stand out from its competitors?  

“I think there are many reasons. For example, we have over 100 years’ experience in pipe joining technology, an integrated supply chain and, from an import perspective, we have manufacturing facilities within Europe. I would also say our consistent pursuit of excellence in technology and new innovations help us stand out. We are also all about time. The time taken on rework really gives security to the customer that they can do it right the first time, and this means that they can walk away happy from a job.”  

What market gaps have you seen in the last year?   

“We have seen a couple of trends over the last year, but the biggest trend we have seen is the increased risk attributed to labour due to mobility issues and its availability. We have seen a real shortfall in properly trained and properly qualified labour available on sites throughout Europe and this is something we have looked to mitigate with some of our product developments, in particular with our Style 109 one-bolt rigid coupling, which aims to mitigate the risk in three ways. Firstly, it is six times faster to install than a traditional coupling.

“Secondly, and equally important is that its very difficult to install incorrectly due to the one-bolt design. Thirdly, there are quality checks built into the product that make it easy to verify if the coupling is properly installed. This all adds up to mitigate any labour risk on site. A lot of what we do is focused on those risks and we believe that some of our products are pretty revolutionary.”  

What have Victaulic been involved in this year?  

“Going back to the Style 109, it is a rigid coupling, which is the most common product in pipe joining with regards to the fire protection industry. But we took it to the next level, by making its design more efficient. This is a once in a decade launch and is a very important new product both for the industry and Victaulic. We have also increased our range of grooved end, Installation-Ready Sprinklers, which eliminate the risk of poorly connected threaded sprinklers.

“Finally, with VicFlex, our range of flexible hoses, we are also moving forward with grooved ends. The coupling at the end of the hose is used for the connection to the branch lines and improves the productivity whilst also adding safety to the installation. The product is really defined as a labour saving solution for the market, but we have taken it much further.” 

With over 100 years’ experience, how have Victaulic continued to drive innovation?  

“The innovation has been driven in two ways. We have always directed a lot of resources towards research and development, and that is key to our success and our understanding of the issues that occur on job sites. In addition to our physical products, we have our virtual design and construction department that works with customers in their planning and design phase to start the project in the most efficient way.”  

What plans do Victaulic have for the coming year?  

“The prime goal is to ensure that we conduct the launch of the Style 109 One-Bolt Coupling effectively, but most importantly, we also want to address the challenges that installers are facing in terms of supply across Europe. We want to work with our customers to make sure they get what they need on their job site in a complete and timely fashion, which I believe is a priority for all contracting entities at this point in time.” 

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