Making the switch to stainless steel hardware

How the lockdown has accelerated the decision for many - Julie Holmes, National Sales Manager, Mila

Julie Holmes, National Sales Manager at Mila Hardware

If the enforced lockdown did anything positive, it did at least give fabricators time to take a close look at their businesses and identify any areas for potential improvement. For many, it was probably the first time in their careers that they had been able to really take a step back like that.

I was in touch with Mila customers throughout and they were all using the time as productively as possible to reorganise their factories, look at skills matrixes for their staff, investigate new software solutions and remote selling tools, and review their product ranges.

In terms of products, the main objective seems to have been to identify products which will bring in new sales with strong margins but which, crucially, are easy to manufacture and fit.

From Mila’s perspective, the biggest winner from that has been our stainless steel door products. We’ve seen a surge in demand from companies who have decided to finally make the switch to stainless steel hardware as standard in order to upgrade their product offering. They may have been planning to do that at some point anyway, but the decision seems to have been accelerated by the enforced stop to their production lines.

The big benefit of stainless steel of course is the enhanced durability, and there is a growing sense that stainless steel is the right choice now, not just for the premium end of the market where demand seems to be strongest post lockdown, but also for the commercial and social housing markets where it can guarantee fewer costly remedials.

We’re seeing orders coming in from existing Mila customers who are upgrading to our stainless steel range from our standard zinc diecast products, as well as from new customers who are using a switch to our stainless steel as an opportunity to switch to a new door furniture supplier. That includes big name fabricators such as Nationwide Windows, Safestyle, Consort and Dunraven.

All of the products in Mila’s stainless steel range are branded Supa™ and the range includes standard and security door handles, pull bars and escutcheons, door knobs and pony tail knockers, letterplates and letterplate cowls. Fully suited, they combine stylish design with long-lasting finishes, which have been independently salt spray tested, and come with the reassurance of a 25-year surface finish guarantee.

The whole range has been designed to work in both standard and Secured by Design settings, with standard and security Supa™ handles and standard and security grade escutcheons available.

It also works across both contemporary and traditional door designs, with a wide range of pull bars alongside the conventional handles. We offer, for example, inline, offset, D shape, V shape, bow shape and even square pull bars, all with a choice of lengths and finishes, for through fix, concealed fix or back-to-back fitting.

We like to think we’ve thought of everything with this range – we even have a fire-rated letterplate which is FD30 compliant alongside our standard version.

What’s perhaps most important though is that, with Supa™, customers get the quality, ease of installation and service that they associate with Mila, but at an affordable price which allows them to preserve their margins. At a time when efficiency and profitability are paramount, that’s a winning combination.

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