LUX review Tamlite ambitions and achievements

John Allden, general manager, Tamlite Lighting
John Allden, general manager, Tamlite Lighting

Tamlite Lighting can grow by 50 per cent in the next five years, its general manager has said.

The assertion, by John Allden, will be seen as a vote of confidence in the health of the UK lighting market despite technological disruption and wider economic uncertainty.

The company, which sells over £60 million worth of luminaires annually, celebrated 50 years in the industry with a showpiece stand at LuxLive in London last month and the unveiling of three major product ranges.

‘The UK market can stand it,’ Allden told Lux. ‘No-one’s perfect, but our customers tell us we’re getting more right than we are getting wrong. By focusing on that and continuing to ensure we deliver to the customers’ expectations, that growth target is doable.’

Tamlite, whose sister company is leading UK wholesaler City Electrical Factors, employs 350 staff at its 1/4 million square feet of manufacturing plant in the West Midlands.

In the last four years, the privately-held firm has invested £5 million across the business, in premises, visitor centres and a surface-mount electronic production line, the first of two.
‘The great thing is, I can pick up the telephone to the company owner and say “boss, I need to spend a million pounds on this project, are you ok with that?”’, says Allden. ‘He’ll say “no problem, John”…no board meetings, no meetings with the banks. Being privately owned has a lot of benefits.’

Allden says that major challenges in the market include the pace of technological change.

‘All the questions that come up today [from customers] are about smart lighting, connectivity but also about energy saving, reduced maintenance, carbon footprint and their effect on the planet.

These were questions we weren’t getting 10 or 20 years ago.

‘Sixty per cent [of our products] are smart or controllable, but we have to manage customer expectations in a world of smart and connected products. ‘They sometimes think that a product can do everything, and it can’t’.

Another long-standing issue is substandard products. ‘They need to be kept under control. There is are a lot of people giving incomplete answers to questions about products.’

He cites the Lighting Industry Association’s market surveillance programme as a major initiative in tackling the problem, but education is also key.

‘We have to educate our customers to ask some key questions. Maybe not more than five or six questions, but questions that will separate the hype from the reality.’

Tamlite’s launches at LuxLive included a high performance floodlight, I Line continuous LED lighting system and the Revo compact high bay for retail applications. The company also set up a dedicated specification team to advise customers on projects, especially in the healthcare and financial services sectors.

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