For over one hundred years, IKO has produced solutions for flat roofs, pitched roofs and the waterproofing industry. Now, IKO offer UK manufactured insulation solutions to compliment this range of systems. Across each of the four UK sites: Appley Bridge, Grangemill, Clay Cross and now Alconbury, we work hard every day to exceed our customers’ expectations. We are also a responsible manufacturer: three of our UK sites have been certified to ISO 14001 for implementing an environmental management system and Alconbury, opened only a few months ago, will follow suit later this year.
The vast majority of IKO products are manufactured in the UK and have been certified to the BES 6001 standard for responsibly sourced products. We strive to source our raw materials from sustainable sources as much as possible. For example, a lot of the products manufactured in the UK use bitumen as the main material, which in itself is a bi-product, from petroleum distillation. In addition, our IKOslate roofing solution is made from 99% recycled car parts and feedback from customers suggests that knowing this product is sustainable helps give them peace of mind.
Sustainability is about much more than just what products are made from: the transportation of materials is another important factor to consider, regardless of whether you are a merchant, contractor or end-user. It is far more sustainable to choose suppliers which manufacture their products in the UK rather than import from abroad. Not least the savings in the time elapsed from the product leaving the factory and arriving at the merchant, but also the savings from reduced carbon emissions.
For argument’s sake, let’s transport 1000m2 of three-layer roofing felt to Edinburgh Castle. Transporting the felt from Italy would create 1,234kg of CO2 emissions as the product makes its mammoth 2,146km journey across four countries, several motorways and a ferry. Ordering the same felt from Wigan would create a much lower 115kg in CO2 emissions over the 200km trip which would also take significantly less time. Choosing to order products from a UK-based manufacturer would see a decrease in CO2 emissions of over 90% as well as making it possible for the product to arrive on the shelf the day after it left the factory.
As the entire supply chain becomes more concerned with the environmental credentials of the products used, both manufacturers and merchants have a responsibility to work together in order to promote more sustainable solutions as far as possible. We all have a responsibility to look after the environment which is why IKO constantly strives to minimise the carbon footprint as far as possible.
However, it takes a whole team to accomplish these goals and at IKO it is our people which matter more than anything else, from our apprentices right through to our board directors. At Appley Bridge, we currently have seven apprentices who are enjoying their time working with us. This was summarised perfectly by our engineering apprentices Adam and Alex who said: “Something stood out about IKO – they were friendlier, more open and welcoming. Everyone at IKO is really open and they are always very willing to help us progress as engineers. The older generation at IKO really are passing the baton down to us.”
Kate Wilcox, IKO’s Head of Finance has especially benefited from our laser focus on learning and development. She has risen through the ranks from trainee accountant to management level. Kate said: “IKO has paid for all of my training and other members of staff as well; they invest in their people and are rewarded for it. At IKO I feel valued, part of the team and because of that we all see the bigger picture. It makes you feel part of the company.” We have also recently introduced an Employee of the Month scheme which aims to recognise, reward and inspire our staff to go above and beyond.
Kevin Green, UK Manufacturing Manager for Bituminous Membranes, reflected on the overall company culture: “IKO is run as a family business; they aren’t planning for two years but the next 10-15. The IKO family are manufacturers at heart; they know exactly what we need and are proactive in planning for the future.”
This forward-thinking is what enables us to be responsive to our merchant customers and adapt our offering based on what they tell us they need. As a product manufacturer, IKO understands that sometimes it can be difficult for merchants to remember all the features and benefits of each product which is why we offer ‘Demo Days’ for merchants. These allow you, the merchant, to sit back and relax while we do all the hard work in demonstrating our products and as a company which is concerned about the environment, our focus will be on promoting the most sustainable solutions on offer.
We know that our industry relies on a nationwide network of builders’ merchants being able to supply customers with the products they need, when they need them. IKO is proud to support our merchant customers, which is why we are sponsoring the Builders’ Merchants Awards ‘Independent Merchants Achiever of the Year’ award. The award recognises those who have gone the extra mile to help the customers – something that is vitally important to IKO too. We wish all those shortlisted the best of luck in the awards!