by Vita Gorkina, International
Business Development Manager
It’s pretty incredible when you think how quickly times change and how much technology has developed and penetrated our lives. There are more devices, bigger screens, faster connectivity and this is just our day-to-day life. As the world intertwines with technology, the entertainment industry as well as professional audio visual sector is changing to accommodate those expectations resulting in huge demands being placed on infrastructural transformation. Canford is also part of this new reality and we have noticed an ever-increasing number of major installation projects.
What does Canford class as a major installation project?
With our wide market coverage across Broadcast, AV and Theatre this would include the building or refurbishment of sports stadiums, broadcast studios, OB vehicles, schools, universities, theatres, places of worship, shopping centres and effectively any other environment that requires significant audio-visual infrastructure.
What are the challenges faced by our customers when undertaking this type of work?
It would be fair to say that major installation projects are not for the faint of heart and are a significant challenge to even the most experienced systems integrators. Just to progress to the bid stage there is an initial tender document that needs to be dissected in order to create a meaningful bill of quantities for the required hardware before sourcing competitive quotes. There is then the minefield of trying to plan and estimate the potential labour requirement and logistical costs. To compound all of this, these projects are seldom anything close to straightforward and they often present real environmental, structural and technical challenges which the successful bidder must cost in and overcome whilst at the same time trying to manage the end customer’s overoptimistic expectations of what is actually possible.
This all said, any project manager worth their salt would tell you that the hard work really begins after you have actually won the contract and you then need to convert the theory into “on the ground” reality, often within timescales that would seem like madness to any normal sane person.
Where does Canford fit into this equation?
With nearly 45 years of experience Canford is a leading global provider of audio, video and communications equipment. We’ve curated the industry’s most comprehensive range of products, which is continually updated to ensure Canford’s position as the “one stop shop” for many of the infrastructure products required for a major installation project. These range from connectors through to cables, panels, mains power distribution units and practically everything in between. To further support our customers, Canford also offers many of the major industry brands, including our own Tecpro and EMO ranges.
However, before delivering products and solutions it is important to understand what is actually required. Through our extensive experience of dealing with big projects and going through tender documentation on a regular basis, we are now able to interpret end users’ needs and foresee any pitfalls that might have been unaccounted for in the design process.
From consultation through to tender and then installation, here at Canford we are able to support our customers with the products, guidance and expertise that is needed for all major installation projects.
What makes Canford different to other providers?
Canford has, from the very start of its journey, prided itself on being different to other distributors. Historically this has been achieved by not only offering a full cross section of the most popular products, available from stock or on short lead times, but also by the fact that over 40% of our standard products are designed and built by Canford primarily as a result of communicating directly with our customers and understanding what they actually need. This very much still remains the underlying backbone of our business. However, in more recent years we have seen a significant increase in the demand for customised bespoke solutions particularly in relation to the major projects market and in true Canford fashion we have risen to the challenge. Utilising the significant technical knowledge and experience that we have gained over many years and coupling this with the three workshops across our two sites in the UK, we have developed a comprehensive set-up and approach that cannot be rivalled within our industry.
Looking in detail at our workshops, the most recent addition is our specialist fibre termination facility in Washington. We are now not only capable of manufacturing our own wide range of standard ‘off the shelf’ fibre and SMPTE cable assemblies, but we can also produce bespoke custom assemblies, adapters and break-out solutions in relatively short lead times. To facilitate this service we hold significant stock of most major cable types alongside a large inventory of the more popular connectors. With the rapid growth and expansion in this market area we expect to continue to increase both our capacity and product ranges going forward which will include additional connector options in the near future.
From our original Canford workshop, also at our Washington site, we continue to manufacture the flagship branded ranges such as Canford MDUs, Tecpro and EMO alongside a vast array of stocked cable assemblies and other popular Canford products. Again these same skill sets are easily and quickly adapted to developing and designing custom solutions, whether they are simply a variation of a standard product or a completely new concept. All of our custom products are built and tested to the same high quality standards that our Canford brands are renowned for.
Last but certainly not least is our metalwork factory on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. Equipped with sheet metal working plant, vertical machining centres, a powder coating suite, laser engraving and an assembly workshop, this facility has been at the forefront of our now industry standard 19” panels and metalwork for over 20 years. Couple this with an equally long history of working with customers to design and produce bespoke solutions from simple variation on standard products right through to complete major stadium infrastructure packages, and you will begin to understand why Canford is the ‘go to supplier’ of many systems integrators when they need something made from metal that is a little “different”.
Though the responsibility for designing and building the system itself remains with the design consultants and systems integrators, Canford is always on hand to assist in these processes by utilising our comprehensive knowledge and history of both projects and solutions. In many cases we can avoid the need to re-invent the wheel as our standard product ranges or back catalogue of custom designs may already hold the answer. Even if it doesn’t, we are happy to work with the consultant or project engineer to develop the right approach once we have all of the required information. At the point where a design is finalised and an order has been placed we can quickly move to manufacture the product via one or a combination of our three workshops.
Why do customers like dealing with Canford?
Most customers would start by telling you that we are very nice people to deal with, whether it is on the phone, via email or when you meet us in person. This is not only true but very much at the core of what Canford is and strangely we do actually like our customers and hope you like us too. This said we also appreciate that you are talking to us for a reason and our aim is to try and help you in the best and most efficient way possible. This is why, unlike many companies, we don’t restrict your calls to just our sales teams and instead try to utilise our specialist skill sets within the business. If the requirement is for a major project, you would initially be directed to a member of our proactive sales team or business development manager who can assess your requirement before deciding on the appropriate route. In many cases you would be given direct access to the relevant brand product manager or workshop who can then discuss the requirement in more detail before working with you to finalise a solution. Once that’s sorted, costs can be calculated and the sales team can generate a quote. We have historically found that letting your technical bods talk directly to our technical bods is the fastest and most direct route from A to B.
Are you planning a major project?
Get in touch!
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