For many businesses, Covid and Brexit have been a double whammy. But for Corry’s, challenges have always been springboards for growth and innovation, thanks to an adaptable approach that embraces change. The Hardware Journal speaks to Managing Director, Eugene Dunne about the future of the company and how Corry’s are determined to make the best of Brexit.
Instead of regarding it as an obstacle, the Dublin-based supplier is using Brexit as an opportunity to seek new business and make new connections.
From the start, Corry’s have been on the move; continually improving location, product range, services and processes. Being agile and proactive are key to resilience.
Eugene explains that forward thinking ensures their business stays relevant and future-proof. “We are always looking for opportunities and continue to develop extensions to our current range as well as introducing new ranges.”
“For example, we see opportunities with the advent of Brexit and the difficulties with suppliers shipping goods from the UK, as the goods in our category have a relatively low unit value.”
Eugene observes an increasing trend of buyers looking to partner with suppliers closer to home, yet within the EU. Using Irish suppliers can circumvent long lead times, supply shortages and rising shipping costs.
“A growing number of retailers are looking more to Irish suppliers like us who can provide a good service and deliver goods in a timely manner.”
Eugene expects to see wholesalers specialise in particular areas of expertise as the marketplace becomes more demanding and regulation more complex.
Corry’s provides the ideal mix – specialists in its area, while providing a comprehensive one stop shop when it comes to range and services to the trade and retailers.
Starting out as Thomas Corry & Sons in 1945, Corry’s, supplier of prepacked hardware, electrical and general hardware products to the sector, have gone from strength to strength since the establishment in 2007 of the new identity.
Over the years, the business has been based in different Dublin sites, constantly expanding to meet customer requirements. In 1997, the company moved from Smithfield to a purpose-built warehouse in Finglas. Ten years on, Corry’s was purchased by the DATAJAN Group and relocated to a new facility in Kingswood Business Park, Dublin 22.
Eugene describes their present home as “A modern warehouse in a prime location”, right beside the M7 and ideal for accessibility and dispatching goods.
But the major leap forward came when Corry’s consolidated its distribution and was able to supply pre-packed hardware and electrical goods into the Hardware and DIY marketplace.
Because the move was successful Corry’s are revamping their warehouse to increase stockholding. Corry’s can now easily facilitate today’s lead times of six months or more.
“Offering pre-packed products was the first step in becoming a trusted ‘one stop shop’ for builders’ merchants, DIY stores and Co-ops,” says Eugene.
“These innovations and our quest for growth have led us to become one of the top suppliers of pre-packed hardware and pre-packed electrical in the market.”
All our products can be viewed on our new website www.corrys.ie
The total package
Corry’s large warehouse holds a wide selection of pre-packed hardware, field & shed, electrical, fixings & fasteners, cabinet furniture and general hardware supplies.
The showroom is a contemporary fresh space to showcase core ranges to the trade, including Phoenix, its main brand. “The Phoenix brand is a trusted and well recognised brand in prepacked hardware and electrical, and our customers have confidence in stocking it as has been proven over time.”
New products are also displayed here. This autumn Corry’s are launching a new brand of cable reels and extensions.
Corry’s products are paired with a committed and knowledgeable all-round service. “Service is very important to our company. We have sales representatives calling to all our customers on a regular call cycle followed up by a full merchandising service. Our customers are very busy, so we take the hassle factor out of it across our large core range. We strive to be a company that is easy to do business with.”
For retailers, the One Stop Shop concept is invaluable. “From advice on what to order, planograms, display stands, in-store merchandising and POS materials, to order taking, stock profiling and merchandising, we try to relieve the buyer of as much stress as possible.”
Corry’s went even further by working with a marketing company to improve the packaging; introducing colour coordination to make it easier for the end user to locate products on the stand at the retailer. “From the retail point of view, it was more aesthetically pleasing and easier to scan through.”
Eugene has been impressed by the difference packaging innovation makes to sales: “The products themselves may not change, but packaging and presentation is constantly evolving as the consumer becomes more sophisticated and has more choice. Getting the presentation and packaging right can have a hugely positive impact on sales volumes.”
Eugene notes that many of the developments in products and services are the outcome of close relationships with customers, a diverse market of builders’ merchants, DIY stores and Co-ops.
Maintaining good partnerships is crucial to success. “The industry is evolving, and retail stores are streamlining. It is important to have a relationship with your customers and see what their needs are.”
“We put customer feedback into action to introduce our pre-packed product ranges. This development came on the back of talking to key customers who had been using several suppliers for this single category.”
“Streamlining their business down to just one supplier has worked very well for both our customers and Corry’s. We are doing more business and it has been more convenient for our customers.”
Loyal and local
Eugene cannot praise his employees highly enough. “We are lucky to have long-serving dedicated staff. This has been an important factor in our success.”
Corry’s team is made up of 16 employees across Sales, Purchasing, Accounts and Warehousing, including five field staff who provide merchandising services.
Corry’s innovation extends to their on-site operations, with all field sales staff using tablets and online ordering while out and about. “This allows them to have visibility of stocks, individual customer accounts, pricing and place orders in real time.”
“We have recently hired a new Sales Manager, Ryan McCombe, who will work closely with our customers to ensure their needs are being met.”
As many of Corry’s staff live locally – close enough to walk or cycle to work – community is at the heart of company culture.
“Corry’s gives back to that community through an annual charity donation. Every Christmas each of the main departments choose a charity and the company donates a cheque to each of them. Most of the charities chosen are locally based.”
Seeing the future
Based on projections for the number of new houses needed to be built in Ireland over the next 10 years to satisfy demand, Eugene and the Corry’s team feel this industry is well placed to benefit.
However, he cautions that supply will remain an issue. “Major challenges include our reliance on the Far East as a source of so many products, raw material price increases, shipping and logistical difficulties and the shortage of labour.”
Yet Eugene remains confident that the only way is up for Corry’s. “We are constantly looking to expand and grow but in a planned and methodical way. We are acutely aware that excellent service is the cornerstone of Corry’s success and we want to ensure that this is never diluted.”
Corry’s future plans include increasing their warehouse to boost their order fulfilment rates.
The thriving business also continues to invest in strategic staff hires and training to ensure continued unparalleled customer service.
When asked about Corry’s USP, Eugene was quick to confirm that “It’s our service and ‘one stop shop’ approach that keeps us ahead”.
As for his top tip for suppliers, his advice was clear and succinct: “Listen to your customer and act with integrity in everything you do.”