FASTENER & FIXING FOCUS: Speaking to Clayton Lynn and Norman Shimwell (pictured above, l to r) at their headquarters in Colchester, it is difficult not to be inspired by their obvious enthusiasm and commitment to the Optimaxx range of high performance woodscrews. With a wealth of experience in both developing and selling wood screws, Norman and Clayton collaborated to introduce a high performance screw to the UK market that had advanced features which gave genuine application benefits. With their very first stock arriving as recently as April 2014, Optimaxx has already established a comprehensive network of distributors throughout the United Kingdom and has ambitious but not unrealistic plans for further UK and overseas expansion with genuine interest already shown from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
With their focus firmly on performance wood screws, Optimaxx has already doubled its range of sizes from what was originally offered in 2014.
Unique features in the UK market include the 24 grooves found on the underside of the head, which allow the screws to self-countersink without any surface damage. Shimwell and Lynn were passionate about the features and benefits (as shown below) of these performance screws, and explained how in the development stage they were committed to ensuring each unique feature created a genuine application benefit so that high performance was consistent across every application.
Manufacturing out of a single factory allows Optimaxx to keep a tight control over quality and consistency; recognising that the UK market is largely geared up for Pozi as opposed to Torx heads, Pozi punches are underused in the manufacturing stage to strict specifications in order to ensure accuracy and consistency giving a tight fitting upon application. Thorough testing takes place and is reported at each stage of manufacture, with a final quality control examination implemented upon arrival at the headquarters in Colchester. Stock is received on a monthly rotation and next day delivery is available to stockists for any pre 3pm orders.
Stock is available for distribution in various forms of packaging including the highly popular “MaxxTubs”; ideal for sale to users requiring a higher volume of a specific size presented in a useful and practical container. Each MaxxTub comes complete with a Wera Bi-Torsion Pozi 2 driver bit, (also wholesaled by Optimaxx); a clever nod to the high quality of the screws, Clayton explains: “We want to encourage using ‘only the best for the best’ and not to sacrifice application or results by using tools that don’t meet the same high standards.”
While looking to expand their range, by adding alternative drives, materials and finishes later in 2016, they also plan to further establish their growing range of German manufactured Recipro and Jigsaw blades. Their “Shark” Recipro blade is perfectly adjusted for the cutting of steel, non-ferrous metals and metal residues in wood, with a unique tooth formation which enables even cutting for metals with a greater thickness than 2.5mm. This combined with cooling slots positioned centrally in the blade increases resistance therefore increasing the lifespan of the blade. The most popular types of Jigsaw blades are available in the attractive Optimaxx packaging as well as an innovative “vari-use” jigsaw blade for cutting a multitude of timbers and board materials giving a splinter free finish.
Distributed widely across the UK, Optimaxx is marketed as a high quality range, allowing great margin opportunities for the distributor. Alongside this they are keen to ensure a competitive advantage for their suppliers by creating a certain level of geographical exclusivity, Norman says: “When we look for independent distributors we make sure to discuss with them who and where their competitors are so as to ensure that they are the only supplier of Optimaxx within a particular area. We obviously look at this on a case by case basis depending on the local markets to try and create the most optimal scenario for our distributors.”
Focusing solely on the distribution market allows Optimaxx to provide an impressive level of support to their distributors, a factor which undoubtedly contributes to their high conversion rates. Clayton explains how they take a proactive and focused approach to these partnerships: “We engage with all our distributors on a regular basis and tailor our contact with them depending on where they most need our assistance.” As well as providing sales
support through full product training and accompanied sales meetings, Optimaxx also provides regular and bespoke promotions depending on their distributor’s requirements, along with the relevant promotional literature.
As the brand continues to spread across the country, Norman confirmed that the Optimaxx team will be looking to expand their team throughout the course of the year allowing them to maintain the level of familiarity they enjoy with their current partners.
Branding and packaging
Currently claiming to be the only screw supplier who delivers their stock in branded outer packaging, at only two years old Optimaxx has an impressively well-developed brand and marketing strategy. Norman explained that distributors who purchase stock by outer packaging (rather than in smaller quantities) are awarded with extra discount he goes on to explain: “This creates a benefit to the distributor that goes further than the discount they receive from us, the branded outer packaging means that where possible they can also sell on the products at much higher quantities – another opportunity to create higher margins.” The internal packaging, also branded, which varies in size dependant on quantity has undergone an equally rigorous thought process – each of the size boxes are divisible by one another, meaning the outer packaging can inhabit a huge number of combinations – a benefit in the warehouse and more flexibility for the distributor.
For distributors who are looking for their initial stock, they are recommended a branded display (provided and seen here) which includes eight sizes of tubs and 28 sizes of screws, although most will order extra stock. The branded point of sale display comes complete with a built in DVD player to play product demonstrations to customers.
This focus on marketing and promotion continues throughout the relationship with the distributor with full sales training, frequent meetings and bespoke offers and promotions available to every stockist. Clayton comments: “We really want our distributors to sell well and benefit from stocking the Optimaxx brand, to us it’s a partnership and we will provide whatever help we can in terms of selling through to the end-user.”
With a successful and high-tempo first two years under their belts, Optimaxx is now looking to the future with immediate plans to increase their UK coverage by creating new partnerships with fixings companies, independent tools shops and builders merchants.
This article was first published in Torque Magazine.