SONAS Bathrooms’ new facility in Ballycoolin, Dublin 15 is seriously impressive. Office space for staff is bright and spacious while a showroom on the top floor displays a large range of products from the extensive SONAS portfolio. The showroom, which is open to industry and consumers, enables SONAS to create demand for its products which are sold back via its retail customer network.
When Ireland’s Plumbing & Heating Magazine met Managing Director, Richard Sloan, plans were in place for the official opening of the new facility on Friday, March 8. With a showroom to complete and a new testing zone in the warehouse to finish, it’s all systems go.
“We’re on track to have the showroom complete by the opening date so we’re delighted with that. Product development and compliance is very important to us so we’re putting a full testing area into the warehouse.
“If we get a report from a customer that a product isn’t working properly, we’ll be able to spot check and quarantine it if necessary. It’ll also be a great area for product demonstration to our retail customers and installers,” said Richard. At 4,000sqft, the showroom has been designed to show customers exactly what’s possible with SONAS products.
“Alongside our more contemporary offerings, we also have a dedicated room for traditional products. Our intention is to give our customers all the options and ultimately help them to make a decision.”
At 134,000sqft, the new warehouse at the Ballycoolin facility is well able to meet the growing demands of SONAS customers.
“The new facility really was necessary; we were in a purpose-built facility only a kilometre away but were also utilising a second feeder warehouse. Trying to run your business from two different sites just wasn’t viable so we took on the lease here for 20 years. The market is gearing up for growth so we want to position ourselves to take advantage of that growth while providing our customers with the quality service they’ve come to expect from the SONAS brand.”
The new warehouse operates with 11,000-pallet spaces in a high bay modern warehouse facility. There are several advantages to having a bigger space, says Richard.
“It’s a far more efficient and safer space to work in as every product has a pick face on the floor, meaning we don’t have to pick from up high and put items back up. Our warehouse management system ensures an efficient and speedy process. If a Dublin-based customer places an order up to five in the afternoon, they’ll have their order picked overnight and delivered the next morning.”
All customers outside of the Dublin area order before 1pm for next working day delivery. SONAS Bathrooms enjoys a significant amount of repeat business.
“We consistently offer good value and we’re happy to stand over the quality of our products. We would be considered a market leader in our space as we’re ticking a lot of boxes. While price competitiveness is very important to SONAS, we go much further with order fulfilment, delivery, demand creation and after sales support which makes for an impressive value proposition. SONAS has built up its own equity and values, quite simply, people trust us.”
One of the reasons for the success of SONAS Bathrooms is down to the company’s ethos.
“We act with a manufacturer’s mentality. Two years ago, we created a product development department, headed up by Ger Fahy, which is essential in pushing the company forward. We develop the concept and determine the spec of the product and collaborate with our factories worldwide to produce it.”
The SONAS brochure is produced in- house while a dedicated art department creates all the photography, range names and technical data sheets used by the company for marketing.
“We take full ownership of the product and we also provide our own aftersales service.”
With the new facility at Ballycoolin and a determination to expand the company’s already impressive product portfolio, SONAS Bathrooms is poised for further growth.
“The key with this business is having great people who take ownership of their role. The management team is there to strategically look at where we’re going and what we can offer but my motto is, get the right people on the bus and then get out of their way. We have a great team here and we’re all excited about what the future holds for the company.”