How to design innovation in to your business

In order to become a company focused on innovation you need to have enabling technology. Greg Rowe Ltd let us know how they became an innovator.

When is a tap manufacturer not a tap manufacturer? Well, if it’s GREG ROWE LIMITED, it’s when the innovative qualities of the taps in question have set a new industry standard.

Greg Rowe, managing director, GREG ROWE LIMITED.
Greg Rowe, managing director, GREG ROWE LIMITED.

A family business that spans two generations, GREG ROWE is rightly proud of its status as the first company to have designed and manufactured a mechanical kitchen tap that dispenses not only normal flows of hot and cold water, but also filtered cold and filtered boiling water.

The accolades have come and thick and fast – in 2016, the company was awarded a prestigious Red Dot Design Award and this year it is a finalist in The Manufacturer MX Awards.

The business has a strong history in pushing the envelope to create cutting-edge products in a market that has not seen great deal of innovation since the invention of a mixer tap by Thomas Campbell all the way back in 1880. And one of the reasons that GREG ROWE has been able to innovate is because the company has the right systems in place to allow employees to do the value adding tasks.

Embarking upon a digital transformation journey four years ago, managing director Greg Rowe explains: “We needed a CRM as we were struggling with joining all the systems together. Ultimately, however, it was customer focus, which drove the decision.”

“We identified Microsoft and Columbus for the industry expertise that they offered. As a result, everything talks to each other and has changed how the company operates. Plus, the software gives a full overview of the business in real time – which is invaluable.”

For GREG ROWE, being able to offload a lot of the company’s time-hungry tasks has meant that staff have been freed up to work on projects that deliver real value and growth. For this business, innovation is its lifeblood – and as Greg confirms – innovative internal systems that adapt with your business are just as important as product innovation.

He adds: “We’re now about to implement ERP across the whole manufacturing side and are looking at Wi-Fi enabling our products to get feedback on how they work. This is all possible with Columbus and Microsoft.”

The market that has not seen a great deal of innovation since the invention of a mixer tap by Thomas Campbell all the way back in 1880.
The market that has not seen a great deal of innovation since the invention of a mixer tap by Thomas Campbell all the way back in 1880.

The power of digital transformation is one that isn’t appreciated by all manufacturers; Greg says that when it comes to surviving in a digital age, manufacturers really don’t have an option other than to adopt the technology.

“You need to embrace the technology that is out there and the upsides are there once you take that leap. It can be a huge step for SMEs as it brings new capabilities and skills in to the business – but of course – it’s also extremely exciting.”

Gaining greater insight into your products is something that has the power to totally revolutionise traditional manufacturing businesses. Their evolution, with the right partners, into digital organisations mean they can focus on delivering virtually bespoke goods for their customers.

Greg puts it very simply: “There is no final solution, it’s simply continuous improvement. We look forward to continuing our journey with Columbus.”