“I’m glad we moved our ladder certification, and we will continue to build our relationship over the next few years, as more of our products and Certification move to the Test and Research Centre.” – Darren Smart, Operations Director, LFI
15th Sept 2022
Ladder and Fencing Industries (LFI) are a 4th generation family business based in Newent, Gloucestershire. For 75 years, they have been a UK centric manufacturer with over 95% of product by volume manufactured in the UK. With a stable workforce of nearly 50 employees, they are focused on providing good quality products through investing in their people and their facility.
Over the last four years they have rebranded with a more modern and contemporary feel, which has helped them grow and attract more business.
LFI have a strong focus on improvement – with both their products and their staff. They have recently expanded their engineering team to help them bring new and refreshed products to market.
Their wide range of ladder products are backed up with independent third-party certification. But their existing provider was not giving them the service they needed.
LFI are constantly looking at new products and product improvements. Over the last few years, the EN 131 family of ladder standards have also been revised. To keep up with the customer demands and changing standards, LFI needed a Certification Body and Test laboratory that could help them.
They needed independent testing to help their product development and prove their products met the standards. but their current provider was not helping, as Darren Smart, LFI Operations Director explains:
“In recent years, our previous provider had a lot of personnel changes. Over the same time, the EN 131 ladder standards were revised, so we were looking for help to update our ranges. The implementation of the revised standards took a long time – years in some cases. With a lot of products, it was holding us back to meeting customers demands of products which met the latest standards.”
LFI also had issues with how long it took to get things done, as Graham Ridley, LFI’s R&D Manager adds:
“Quite frankly the customer service was awful. They seemed to be consolidating departments with a complete lack of knowledge about us and what we needed. We had a report completed recently on a product which was sent in for testing 9 months ago – we can’t operate with that. It was holding up our whole R&D programme.
On top of this, our old testing provider would not discuss performing testing against a single clause or a handful of clauses. This put a complete stop on some development projects, where changes did not require a full set of type testing.
It was very slow and frustrating.
If that wasn’t bad enough, if we had a report back and had questions, we couldn’t get answers. It was almost impossible to ask the right person a technical question. To me it felt like we should feel honoured to have our product tested with them at all.”
LFI turned to the Test and Research Centre for help. With a growing product portfolio and a lot of product development plans, LFI needed a test laboratory that could help with testing and product Certification.
As Ben Walker, LFI Managing Director explains:
“We found in the UK based Test & Research Centre a specialist that understands our industry. They have been responsive to our needs, approachable, and know what they are doing.”
“With today’s standards, testing in-house is not really affordable or economical. Being able to call on the Test & Research Centre’s knowledge and experience is a real benefit to us.”
The Test & Research Centre were able to provide LFI with a range of services, which included:
– Development testing of ladders to a limited scope of EN 131, such as specific clauses or test requirements.
– Complete on-site testing of a sample to all the applicable requirements of EN 131.
– Ladder Certification with our T&RGETMARK, for leaning, standing and combination ladders.
Over the last 18 months, LFI have been able to accelerate their product development programme, thanks to testing from the Test & Research Centre. Reports have been provided for leaning ladders, standing ladders and combination ladders to EN 131 parts 1, 2 and 3.
With limited scope testing, LFI have been able to validate changes or improvements before putting them into full scale production, or making changes to Certified products.
In addition, LFI now holds T&RGETMARK Certification on several products.
Certification which has been happily received in the market.
With a strong and growing relationship, there will be further products added to the T&RGETMARK soon.
By working with the Test & Research Centre, LFI have unblocked their product development pipeline. Utilising the experience and competence of our test laboratory, means they can focus on bringing products to market – not waiting months for an answer.
Darren Smart summarises:
“The service from the Test & Research Centre has been ‘night and day’ different to our previous provider. They have been responsive, open to dialogue and approachable.
There’s no need to chase anything, as they are always in regular contact. That’s critical to any business or supplier.
We work with our partners to build relationships – ones that work both ways.
I’m glad we moved, and we will continue to build our relationship over the next few years, as more of our products and Certification move to the Test and Research Centre.”
The Test & Research Centre was founded to help make access products and their users safer.
If you’re a manufacturer, supplier or importer of non-powered access products and you’re looking to have a product tested or Certified, contact us for a friendly chat about how Test & Research Centre can help.