LFI - Climbing the ladder of success for 4 generations

Ladder and Fencing Industries (Newent) Ltd is one of those businesses, a fourth-generation company located in Newent, a small market town around 10 miles northwest of Gloucester and on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean.

HISTORY & BACKGROUND

LFI has been in existence since 1947, when Trevor Lane began making ladders for local builders in his garden shed, sourcing the timber from the nearby Forest of Dean, and in 1948 the company as we know it now was established.

Over the next two decades, demand grew substantially and in 1971, the company relocated to their current site on Horsefair Lane in Newent, Gloucestershire.

In the 1980s LFI went on the acquisition trail, firstly purchasing Gough Ladders and then Hyde & Clements, securing a dominant position in manufacturing & supplying timber pole ladders. Further acquisitions followed in the 1990s with the purchase of Chapman Alloy

Products and following heavy investment in new buildings and machinery, LFI began its journey into the manufacturing and supply of aluminium ladders and steps.

In the 2000s LFI developed and launched one of its most successful products TuFF Steel, a precision-engineered steel ladder for heavy-duty use within scaffolding. Along with the traditional timber pole ladder, these two ranges have become the preferred choice for the UK scaffolding industry.

Over the last decade they have continued to invest in new people, new buildings, and new products, always searching to find and develop safe new ways to work at height in line with changing standards and in collaboration with the Ladder Association.

Today the company’s huge range includes scaffolding ladders and accessories, single and extension ladders, roof ladders, multi-purpose & combination ladders, vehicle access, surveyor ladders, and a range of steps & platforms. LFI is actually the only UK company that manufactures Aluminium, GRP, Steel, and Timber access products in Britain.

The successful business is now run by Managing Director Ben Walker, the third generation of the Walker family to be at the helm of the company.
 
CREDENTIALS IN CONSTRUCTION

The company has a strong heritage in the UK construction sector, where the quality of product, training, and safety is critically important. The Work at Height regulations emphasises the importance of the correct selection and safe use of ladders, to minimise the risks associated with working at height. The HSE expects that anyone using ladders on site will be trained in the planning of the job, the selection of the correct equipment, and its safe use and maintenance. LFI offers a range of training courses from their on-site training division OTJ Training, including ‘Ladder User’ and ‘Ladder Inspection’ courses that conform to the latest and best industry training practice, along with IPAF & PASMA courses. For more information click here.

THE UK LADDER MARKET

The UK Ladder & Step market is worth around £61m pa and according to AMA Research has been supported by a relatively buoyant construction market over the last two years. The Government measures to increase housing stock and encourage demand, coupled with the general improvements in the economy and consumer confidence have all helped the market. Non-residential construction output has also performed well over the same period, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, offices, entertainment, and leisure.
 
CURRENT TEAM
LFI has around 40 employees, some of which have over 40 years of loyal service to the business. With growing demand, and their ambitions to establish a stronger presence in the market, LFI continues to invest heavily in its people.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

The company prides itself on a high level of customer service and with their fleet of 5 lorries, they can deliver a full load, nationwide from Truro to Aberdeen within 7 days. In fact, 96% of all their deliveries – from single items to hundreds – are delivered within 5 working days. They can also drop-ship anywhere in the country (with products less than 6m), with most small orders being dispatched the next day.

A SIGNIFICANT YEAR IN LFI HISTORY

With a rich history of over 70 years, 2020 is a significant year for LFI, as they reveal new branding, a completely new website, a new catalogue, and a host of new and innovative products to #KeepYouClimbing

The bold orange branding delivers immediate cut-through and stand-out, whether that is on-shelf, online, or even on the side of the lorries that they use to deliver nationwide.

The updated branding and the move into new markets presented a perfect opportunity for the company to review the customer purchase journey, leading to the introduction of a clear and simplified route to selecting the right product. The range is now clearly segmented by product type.

As the changes to the standard that governs the design, strength, and testing of ladders and steps in the UK and Europe (EN131) take hold, the need to offer clarity on durability and user expectations has enabled LFI to segment and simplify their range to do just that, a real first in the marketplace.

Ben Walker, MD says: “It’s exciting times for LFI who are well known as a long-standing premium supplier of strong, dependable products into the construction industry, our new branding is helping us to target some new markets as we enjoy a healthy start to the year so far.”

Find out more about LFI on their member profile page here

Member-created content 1 year ago | From members

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