At the end of 2005, KDM took the key to the door of their new £1.35 million HQ, on Ransomes Europark, off the A14 on the outskirts of Ipswich, Suffolk.
The new office was built by Colchester-based Huttons Construction and whilst a new build, incorporates a large number of timber features, including a striking white ash entrance and staircase, complementing KDM’s trademark trading desks.
Andrew Walshe is the Chairman and CEO and co-directors are Ivan Walshe, Neville Greenwood and Stephen Henry.
Central to the strategy of the management team was the further development of long term supply partners, and to this end, KDM now has offices in both Latvia and Russia. KDM continues to enjoy excellent trading partnerships with established sawmills and trading companies in Latvia, offering a range of heat treated, cut-to-length pallet boards, and carcassing, as well a broad range of both sawn and round fencing specifications.
All these supply sources have more than delivered on expectations with KDM maintaining its position as one of the UK’s leading importers of material from the Baltic States and neighbouring countries.
The proliferation of south Swedish sawmills has historically provided KDM with its longest term supply relationships. "We have been loyally purchasing from our Swedish sawmills for over 25 years and these mills remain as important to us today as they always have." said Stephen Henry, "Our customers find that Swedish sawmills offer the reliabilty and flexibility that their businesses require. Add these factors to a proven and consistent quality, short lead times, mixed call off specifications and affordable trailer or break bulk shipments, you can see why our Scandinavian partners will always remain important to us".
Securing a long term reliable supply source from Russia was crucial to KDM’s strategy, and to this end they have secured an exclusive supply agreement with one of the largest privately owned sawmills in the Karelian region of Northern Russia, the agreement covers the UK and Ireland. This relationship, now in its seventh year, has yielded ever increasing volumes of sawn and planed goods.
KDM’s offices in St Petersburg and Petrozavodsk have helped oversee both quality control and the logistics of the movement of large volumes of sawn and planed material from Karelia and other regions of Russia. By utilising a combination of both break bulk and RO-RO liner service, KDM has been able to provide a consistent supply source from its Russian mills. “The quality and service has surpassed all our expectations, and we can only see further growth in sales from our Russian suppliers” said Andrew Walshe.
Another feature of the new direction, is the development of products to complement the core business, namely European fencing panel products and garden accessories, as well as cabins, imported under an exclusive supply agreement from Sweden, and sold under the Svenskabin®
These new products come at a time where skilled labour is at a premium and as such have been welcomed by KDM’s manufacturers nationwide, adding sales of £2.75 million to KDM’s 2005 turnover.
New for 2006, we are delighted to introduce the Svenskhomes
range. This supply of timber homes are built to the highest specification and resistant to the extremes of the Scandinavian climate. Sweden has a long tradition in the building of timber homes and the Svenskhome range is produced at our state of the art manufacturing plant sourcing timber from the slow grown pine and spruce forests in the far north of Sweden.
The very strong capital base of KDM which arose from successful public prospectus issues in the late eighties and mid nineties has been a key feature in the Company's ability to develop and exploit these new markets, as well as attracting new suppliers who need certainty and consistency of payments.
For over three decades, consistent financial performance, product diversification and a committed, enthusiastic team set KDM apart from its competition when supply sources are looking to partner on the UK market.
The current UK timber trading team numbers eight, and fits perfectly around the purpose built octagonal trading desk situated on the first floor of the new HQ. The team draws on a wide range of experience and backgrounds, and as such is ideally placed to sell to KDM’s established markets as well as uncovering and developing new ones. The trading team has embraced KDM’s strategic decision to focus on its core business of timber trading, and remains a strong force in many of the traditional manufacturing sectors, pallet, shed, fencing as well as the merchant sector.
It takes a lot more than efficient systems and good Timber Traders, to continue to stay at the forefront of UK timber importing. Experience in logistics, as well as precise documentation flow, is required to ensure that KDM’s customers are kept fully updated from the moment their order is placed.
The responsibility for transportation falls to Giles, who by his own volition admits that this element of KDM’s business is becoming more and more challenging. “We are finding that customers are demanding timed deliveries, and reduced stock holdings, against a backdrop of a declining haulage industry from which to draw on”.