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Supplier site visit to Leitz Tooling UK Ltd, Bellshill

🌟 Gaining firsthand insights into our supplier operations 🔧

Last week, Rhys Todd, our CNC operator, and Jamie Campbell, Operations Manager, undertook a site visit to the Leitz Tooling UK Ltd service centre in Bellshill. The purpose of this visit was to gain a deeper understanding of our blade supplier’s operations and compare their performance with our other suppliers.

Leitz is a German-based saw blade manufacturer that supplies us with blades and tooling for machines in our manufacturing facility in Govan, Glasgow.

The trip helped us get more of an understanding of how the blades are serviced and sharpened. At the same time, the service centre tour allowed us to see the machines and technology involved, which is always helpful. While there, Rhys and Jamie found it very noticeable that they take great pride in what they do. The place was immaculate. It was also interesting to learn that they use the 5S management system for the housekeeping and organisational side of their process. We also use this system in the Rearo manufacturing plant.

Overall, the visit was highly beneficial. It reinforced our confidence in Leitz as a supplier and provided valuable insights into their meticulous processes and commitment to quality, which align with our own standards at .

The guys didn’t get any photos on the day, but here’s Jamie with one of our Leitz blades, back at Rearo HQ.

Jamie Campbell holding a Leitz blade in a cardboard box.
Jamie Campbell holding a Leitz blade in a cardboard box.

Why The Smallest Room In The House Is Now Big Business – Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Rearo’s Selkie range

By Robert Bennett

Head of Sales and Marketing, Robert Bennett in front of Rearo Sign Author of "Why The Smallest Room In The House Is Now Big Business"

The only time most of us give any deep or meaningful thought to our bathrooms, is when we are refitting them. Rarely will we consider how much the very nature of the bathroom has changed in our lifetimes, and those of our parents. Anyone brought up in the 1960s, or before, will remember the bathroom as a purely functional area. Some people from those eras may not even have had an indoor toilet and, for many of them, washing was done at a communal sink or ‘jaw box’.

As with many other aspects of life, the 1970s introduced Britain to the idea of interior design and, while bathrooms retained their functionality, this was within a much wider concept of individual taste and style.

The past 20 years, in particular, has seen a paradigm-shift in our understanding and appreciation of the bathroom, which has become a place of relaxation, in which people spend quality time and assert their own needs.

"Why The Smallest Room In The House Is Now Big Business" 1970's chic bathroom
Image Source : Charlotte Duckworth – Our Tiny 70s Bathroom Makeover

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Rearo’s Selkie range

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rearo’s Selkie range of bathroom wall panels, and the landmark has given us cause to pause and consider how the collection has changed in that time, in particular to how we research and select new patterns and designs to match public expectations, compared with 2004.

As well as being more intensive and detail-orientated, the process of developing a new range now requires us to consider social, environmental, and technological factors.

The modern bathroom must encompass fashions and trends in interior design, while also retaining some of the ‘greener’ principles developed over the past couple of decades.

A wider selection of materials is now available in different styles, adding architectural interest to the bathroom, taking it beyond functional necessity and into something visually striking.

Back in the early 2000s influences to bathroom design included technological marvels like iPods, Blu-ray, and Windows XP, alongside design trends that ranged from questionable to enduring. While lime green everything may have fallen out of favour, the shabby chic decor of distressed paint and vintage style found new life.

The era also embraced jacuzzi and spa baths, but concerns over maintenance and hygiene have shifted focus towards simpler, free-standing baths for a more hassle-free bathing experience.

Even global events like South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup influenced bathroom design trends, fostering a demand for local elements, such as woven baskets and indigenous wood, reflecting a surge in national pride.

Factoring in all of these elements and trends into the evolution of the Selkie range has required a meticulous process that combines market research, design exploration, and practical testing.

Woven basket in modern bathroom
Image Source : Meadows & Byrne Wicker Laundry Basket

Selkie History

Named after the mythical Selkie, a mermaid-like creature, the range embarked on a path of innovation that has continued to define modern bathroom aesthetics.

In the early years, glossy, bold colours and sparkles dominated, reflecting the tastes of the time. However, as design preferences shifted over the years, so did Selkie.

Today, we see a preference for more industrial stone and slate styles, with matte finishes, highlighting the adaptability and responsiveness of Rearo to evolving trends.

Cairn Stone & Ivory Sky shower wall panel bathtub in farmhouse style bathroom
Selkie Wall Panels – Cairn Stone (Left) & Ivory Sky (Right)

Selkie Range Design Process

Market research forms the bedrock of our design process more than ever, drawing insights from various sources to ensure we stay abreast of evolving trends and consumer preferences.

Apart from supplier inputs and internal feedback, our team leverages external resources to enrich our understanding of design trends.

Attending trade shows like Interzum in Cologne provides firsthand exposure to the latest innovations and styles in furniture production and interior design. Additionally, commissioned reports from design consultants, such as Eva Hoernisch, offer valuable perspectives gleaned from prestigious events like Milan Design Week.

Over several months, our team embarks on a journey. It begins with sourcing materials and understanding market trends, and culminates in the creation of innovative and appealing products.

Intersum in Cologne, Interior Design Exhibition
Image Source : Interzum Cologne

Research is key

Engaging with laminate suppliers over three or four months, the team explores the latest offerings and gathers insights from customer feedback and industry trends.

Suppliers present new developments, such as enhancements to textures and finishes, providing samples and swatch packs for evaluation. These samples serve as the building blocks for the creation of the new range.

Research is not limited to supplier interactions; it extends to understanding customer preferences and market demands. Branch managers play a crucial role in this phase, offering valuable insights gleaned from direct interactions with customers.

By analysing sales figures and customer feedback, the team identifies popular items to retain, evaluates intermediate sellers for potential inclusion, and eliminates less popular ranges. This process ensures that the new range is both market-driven and customer-centric.

Samples Department

Testing and Quality Control

Visually sorting through sample swatches, the team categorises designs into groups, maintaining a balance between established favourites, innovative styles, and trend-focused decors. This meticulous curation aims to offer a diverse, yet cohesive, collection that appeals to a wide audience. Moreover, the team ensures pricing alignment with supplier offerings before proceeding further.

When we are satisfied with the samples and pricing, the team orders full-size laminate samples of selected styles for in-depth evaluation. Practical testing is essential to assess the quality and feasibility of production.

Laminate is bonded onto panels to simulate real-world conditions, allowing the team to identify any potential issues, such as uneven textures or thickness variations. Only after passing these rigorous tests are the selected designs deemed suitable for production, and orders are placed with the respective suppliers.

Factory Worker lifting wall panel

While we don’t have a dedicated consumer panel, feedback channels are embedded within the organisation.

Showroom staff and Rearo branch managers serve as conduits for customer feedback, providing valuable insights that inform product decisions. This decentralised approach ensures that the voice of the customer is integrated into the design process, facilitating the creation of products that resonate with end-users.

"Why The Smallest Room In The House Is Now Big Business" Glasgow Branch Manager, Peter McCrone

The bathroom maybe the smallest room in the house, but its importance has grown significantly over the past two decades. More sophisticated and varied consumer tastes have required us to develop an advanced research and design strategy, to ensure we continue to meet and exceed our customers’ demands.

Here’s to the next 20 years!

The Selkie range is available online and through Rearo branches and selected Rearo partners. For more info, contact sales@rearo.co.uk.

REARO is proud to plant trees with Treeapp, a leading global tree planting organisation operating sites across the world.

With a dedication to reforest our planet, their work spans across 4 continents, having reforestation projects across 15+ countries with a specific focus on countries where they’re most needed.

Treeapp is committed to supporting projects which show a tangible impact for people and the planet, with each project supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We’re truly committed to making a positive impact on our planet in everything we do. We’re super excited to be part of Treeapp’s tree planting initiative and join forces in planting trees together!

Other Rearo News Stories

Congratulations to Cameron Fletcher for passing his driving test! 🚗

Cameron works within the Warehouse in Rearo Glasgow, Cameron has completed his Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship and opted into the driving lesson scheme.

Rearo’s driving lesson scheme is 15 x 90-minute lessons arranged and paid for by Rearo that are held within working hours to ensure apprentices can attend without sacrificing personal time, Rearo also funds the Theory Test and Driving Test.

Rearo firmly believes that learning to drive builds confidence and a sense of independence.

Well done Cameron and enjoy the roads!

The Rearo team in Glasgow, gathered to wish a happy retirement to James Sneddon (Wee Jimmy as he’s known here).

Jamie Campbell, Operations Manager, thanked Jimmy for his service at Rearo and the skills and experience he has passed on to the next generation in the factory. Jamie also stated on a personal note, “he has always been there for me, throughout my time at Rearo, offering advice and help whenever needed”.

Graham Mercer, MD, thanked Jimmy for his service at Rearo over the years and discussed the importance of learning and sharing skills. “We have three guys retiring this month. Today, we have two retirements, Gerry in Rosyth, who has been with the company 3 years, and wee Jimmy who’s been with us for an incredible 15 years.

Later this month Allistair will also be retiring from our Commercial department after 8 years with Rearo. With these retirements, we are losing an awful lot of experience. Jimmy always had the time and generosity to share not just what to do, but why we do it. He will be missed.”

Allistair has worked in our commercial department for the past 8 years, working as an Estimator and supporting many of our younger members of staff.

Graham Mercer thanked Allistair for his service, skills and experience he has passed on to the next generation within the commercial department.

Allistair spoke about the friendliness of the team in Glasgow and how he was made to feel welcome from his first day.

When Sam Speirs started work as a machine operator, he worried that being deaf would make it difficult for him to communicate with his colleagues.

So, he was delighted when the rest of the team at Glasgow-based Rearo joined together and agreed to learn British Sign Language (BSL).

Since then, dozens of workers at the Govan plant, which manufactures kitchen and bathroom surfaces, have attended weekly lessons that have equipped them with the skills and knowledge to be able to sign and communicate with Sam.

The project is part of the company’s commitment to inclusion, supporting employees with a range of different abilities. Paula Phoenix, a sign language interpreter, who facilitates the learning, said: “Nowhere, no company or organisation anywhere that I am aware of, does what Rearo does. Honestly, what they are doing is amazing

“Every single person in the company, from factory workers to office and showroom staff, has the opportunity to learn basic BSL. How amazing is that?

“A lot of businesses and organisations pay lip service to diversity, with the odd project or gesture. This commitment to ensuring every individual can learn BSL makes Rearo stand out as a unique example in fostering a culture of inclusivity.”

Sam, 28, began working at Rearo in 2017, after attending an interview with managing director Graham Mercer and Mark Gordon, then then production manager.

Since then, he has worked in several areas of the company, including the postforming area and operating various machines. He is currently learning the admin side, using the company’s React system to process orders as well as being involved in the recent solid surfacing training programme.

Being able to communicate with his colleagues has also enabled Sam to take part in the company’s social activities, including playing football and attending birthday parties.

He said he was delighted at the willingness of his colleagues to learn BSL, adding: “The way they rallied round was great. The plant is a big space, with lots of machines and vehicles all operating at the same time, and speed of communication is important.

“Being able to communicate quickly and to take directions at the right time is very important, and it is reassuring to know that everybody has my back. They were as keen as me to ensure that that I was able to work effectively.”

In addition to introducing the team to basic BSL Paula, who has 20 years of experience as an Interpreter, also shares deaf awareness information, helping Rearo staff to understand the cultural norms and nuances of the deaf community.

This approach aims to bridge the communication gap and create a more empathetic work environment.

She said: “While many companies might offer short-term sign language courses, Rearo’s commitment is exceptional. The staff’s willingness to invest time and effort in learning BSL demonstrates a top-down and bottom-up approach.

“If the guys hadn’t been willing to engage, then it wouldn’t have worked, but that was never the case. Everyone showed an eagerness to participate from the outset, which was really encouraging.”

She added: “I share the signs and jargon that are specific to the factory environment, so the content is relatable to the staff. It includes football and jokes and, of course, everyone wanted to know what the swear words were.”

Harry Hogan has got his confidence back after securing employment with Rearo, a Glasgow-based manufacturer specialising in bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

The 28-year-old, from Barrhead, had been struggling with his self-esteem after losing his job at a coffee shop during the Covid pandemic.

This caused him to become very anxious, which left him losing weight and fearing leaving the house even for a short walk.

Now Harry is finally feeling positive about his future after being selected as part of Rearo’s innovative inclusive apprenticeship programme.

He works in the Govan warehouse, where he has responsibilities for handling orders and quality control.

Harry said: “In the warehouse I have learned to deal with the customers and what they want. I learned how to check on the order forms and find the names of the panels.

“In the office, I have learned to put the labels on samples and also to read out the names of the labels and to say what colour it is.

“I enjoy doing both jobs equally – in the warehouse and the office. The rest of the team are great fun and we all get on really well. I enjoy the banter more than anything and I’m always winding people up.

“For me, it’s more than a job. It’s also about socialising, which I love, and it has given me back my self-confidence.”

Rearo has teamed up with Bridgeton-based employment charity First Steps Future Training to create work opportunities for underprivileged young people.

The partnership aims to equip youngsters, aged 12 to 25, with the skills, experience and confidence needed for future employment.

First Steps Future Training provides people with construction training and qualifications. Its training programme covers a range of trades, including bricklaying, joinery, painting, decorating, and scaffolding. The charity has helped hundreds of youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds to find work since being formed in 2013.

Jamie Campbell, Rearo’s operations excellence manager, said, “The programme that First Steps has set up is remarkable. It provides a valuable training ground for these young individuals who might not have had the best start in life.”

As part of the collaboration, Rearo has contributed to the charity’s facilities, providing toilet cubicles and wall panels to enhance the infrastructure at First Steps’ HQ at Broad Street in Bridgeton.

Jamie Campbell added, “When First Steps reached out to us, we saw an opportunity not just to offer employment but also to contribute to the community. We decided to provide toilet cubicles and wall panels to support the charity in creating a conducive learning environment.”

As well as potential job placements, Rearo is also offering a six-week trial period for graduates of First Steps’ training programme, described as essentially providing a pre-apprenticeship experience. This allows both the company and the individual to assess compatibility before committing to a formal apprenticeship.

Potential apprentices will help to install the Rearo toilet cubicles and Selkie wet wall panels at the charity’s premises.

“It’s like a win-win situation,” Campbell explained. “The trial period helps us identify if the individual is a good fit for our company, and it gives the young person a chance to experience the workplace before committing to a long-term apprenticeship.”

Rearo is actively involved in promoting the programme to local schools. The company is reaching out to high schools to encourage pupils to consider apprenticeships. The firm also intends to diversify its workforce by potentially hiring older individuals.

George Bruce, operations manager of First Steps Future Training, commented, “To say that we’re grateful is an understatement. Rearo has not only provided potential employment opportunities for our graduates but has also enhanced our facilities with their generous donation. This collaboration goes beyond a transaction; it’s about investing in the future of these young individuals.”

The success stories emerging from First Steps are a testament to the positive impact of such collaborations. The charity maintains a ‘Wall of Success’ featuring individuals who have successfully transitioned into employment or apprenticeships after completing the programme.

Rearo is Hiring a Commercial Estimator in the Glasgow Branch

About Rearo

You will be joining a leading UK specialist in supply and manufacture of Commercial Washrooms and kitchen/bathroom surfaces, Rearo is a family-run business operating in the market for 31 years. Hand-crafted at the Govan manufacturing premises by our team of expert operators, every product is produced to high standards. Our ranges are specified on major development projects across the UK and the company has branches in Glasgow, Northampton, Rosyth, Skelmersdale and Washington.

In order to deliver our vision, it is imperative that we continually improve our operations to ensure we continually deliver a first class customer experience and drive efficiencies

We currently have an excellent opportunity for an Estimator/Order processor with a proven track record, preferably gained within the manufacturing sector, to work in a busy office in Govan Glasgow

Reporting to our Commercial Manager, you will work closely with our Commercial team to help deliver a first-class service.

Why might you apply? Because you…

  • Preferably have experience in the commercial washrooms and construction sector  
  • Are educated to HND Level or above.
  • Have a good knowledge of building materials as well to be able to read drawings to do take offs, Understand Bill of Quantities, and Specification Documents.
  • Are adaptable with a real customer focus and have excellent communication skills.
  • Are assertive and passionate about the role and demonstrate a desire to go that ‘extra mile’.
  • Enjoy building relationships with a wide variety of people, see a complex high-volume workload as a real challenge and above all, have what it takes to deliver accurate quotations and order processing to tight deadlines.
  • Will engage in development training to support and enhance your competency and capability.
  • Have experience working at pace in a fast growth, dynamic business environment, ideally within a manufacturing industry.
  • Have UK Drivers licence and us of car as site visits to take site measurements and carry out surveys would be required occasionally.
  • Be adaptable and willing to take on other roles if required.

Personal Attributes;

  • Good organisational skills
  • Be computer literate.
  • Apply high quality standards to all tasks in hand, no matter how small
  • Good attention to detail is vital.
  • Great communication skills
  • A high level of motivation
  • Enjoy working under pressure and dealing with multiple tasks at once, prioritising customers always.
  • Have current UK Driving Licence and own Car.

Working Hours

Monday to Thursday (8.00am-4.30pm) Friday (8.00am-3.30pm)

Job Type

Permanent Full-time

Salary

£28k per year

Benefits

  • Company pension
  • 30 Days  Holidays per annum

Experience

Estimating experience within the building industry

Glasgow, September 15, 2023

Rearo issues warning to businesses following cyber attack

Rearo has warned businesses to be aware of a new online scam, after it was targeted in a significant cyber-attack. Criminals, posing as online customers, attempted to make thousands of fictional orders in an attempt to validate stolen credit and debit card numbers.

Cyber Attack - Hacking Image

The successful combinations would then have been used by fraudsters to purchase goods and services elsewhere.

Rearo has alerted police to the scam and is now urging companies to tighten their online systems to avoid being targeted in the same way.

While the attack didn’t inflict any cost or damage on Rearo directly – it was identified before any of the orders were shipped – its systems were used as a ‘Trojan horse to verify the legitimacy of credit card numbers for future illicit use.

Cyber Attack - Stuart Hutchison in front of Rearo Sign

Stuart Hutcheson, Rearo’s IT implementation manager, said the company only learned about the scam after noticing a pattern of thousands of unsuccessful online purchases over the course of a weekend.

He said: “We had processed around 180 orders through our website and ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, but the cyber attackers had attempted a staggering 4,800 transactions, which shows you the scale of their operation.

“They were clearly attempting to validate credit card number combinations, for use elsewhere. Although their success rate was a mere 8-9%, it underscores the gravity of the situation.”

The nature of the attack highlights a growing trend in cybercrime, where criminals target legitimate, online platforms to validate stolen financial information, facilitating subsequent fraudulent transactions, according to Rearo.

Hutcheson said: “They buy data from illegitimate sources and then feed these credit card numbers into an algorithm, attempting to match the correct combinations.

“While the attack did not cause significant financial losses to us, it led to considerable disruption and a time-consuming manual recovery process for the affected transactions.

Fenix Bianco Kos Kitchen Worktop

“This phenomenon is gaining traction. We know of two other businesses which manage online sales, which have been affected recently. It’s becoming a more mainstream threat.”

The Govan-based company – which also has outlets in Tyneside and Northampton – believes its experience should serve as a wake-up call to all businesses to shore-up their cyber defences.

It has gained Cyber Essentials accreditation—a standard endorsed by the UK Government – that will require audits of its network security, access controls, policies, and hardware configurations to ensure the safeguarding of critical data.

Cyber Essentials banner

Hutcheson also underscores the need for businesses to educate their staff on cyber security, not only in the workplace, but extending to their own, personal online activities, such as home banking.

Rearo has implemented a range of new measures, including multi-factor authentication and heightened password policies, as the company pivots toward the kind of comprehensive, cybersecurity practices it believes are essential for survival in the digital age.

Hutcheson said: “After the pandemic, remote work became a norm and, with it, the landscape of IT security evolved. A renewed emphasis on data security is crucial.

Cyber Attack - Working from Home

“The skills required in this field are constantly evolving and organisations, especially SMEs, must invest in staying ahead of cyber threats.”

He added: “It’s also important for businesses to raise awareness about cyber security issues among their employees and customers.

“We are planning to provide cyber security training to staff, educating them about data protection, safe online practices, and the importance of securing their own digital lives.”