Saint-Gobain Pipelines

Saint-Gobain Pipelines continually finds new ways of servicing its markets, improving its products and updating its manufacturing processes to meet clients’ expectations
Change in the pipeline

Saint-Gobain Pipelines continually finds new ways of servicing its markets, improving its products and updating its manufacturing processes to meet clients’ expectations

Saint-Gobain Pipelines is a leading supplier of ductile iron pipes, fittings, valves, manhole covers, gullies and grates, as well as the leading producer of cast iron above and below ground drainage systems. The company delivers products and services for a number of market sectors including utilities, building services and industrial, and civil and infrastructure.

SG Pipelines operates out of five locations including Ilkeston, Staveley, Melton Mowbray and Telford in England, and Dublin in Ireland. Employing over 550 people across its sites, the company is part of a global pipelines division – Saint-Gobain Canalisation, which is headquartered in Nancy, France. In addition to the UK and France, there are operations in Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, South Africa and China. The whole division draws strength from being part of the global Saint-Gobain group, which employs 207,000 people in 54 countries and has an annual turnover of 43 billion euros.

Understanding that market needs and requirements change on a regular basis, SG Pipelines focuses on remaining as flexible as possible, therefore the company continually improves its products and services to meet and exceed its clients’ expectations. With this in mind, SG Pipelines has recently re-configured its structure, supply chain model and business processes to meet the evolving needs of the market.

Paul Minchin, managing director for the company explains: “When fully complete the restructuring will further enhance our industry position, delivery, reliability and flexibility that all our customers have every right to expect. It will also better align us to support our customers in meeting their own business aims.”

He continues: “Climate change, technological developments and legislation mean our customers are looking to their supply partners to be flexible and open to change to successfully stay one step ahead. To meet this challenge, we have adopted a ‘blended supply chain’ strategy, where in addition to manufacturing products in the UK, we have sourced competitive solutions from our other worldwide plants.”

The foundations of SG Pipelines are built on one overriding aim – to be first choice. In addition to improving its supply chain, the organisation is striving to achieve this aim through the continual development of its product range, manufacturing processes, services and people.

Paul comments: “With SG Pipelines’ product portfolio we have for many years followed a process of harmonising our range to take advantage of our worldwide capabilities, at the same time enhancing our ability to meet local needs. Perfecting our business processes and internal systems is the next step – to guarantee the business is best equipped to exceed customer expectations.”

He continues: “We need to ensure that our core commercial proposition to all our clients is enhanced by bringing together our division’s pipeline and infrastructure capability and innovative engineering solutions. Ultimately our customers sit firmly at the heart of our business and our primary aim has always been, and will continue to be, to ensure we are the market’s leading supplier and our clients’ number one choice.”

SG Pipelines encourages open communication with its people, customers, suppliers and related organisations, to positively impact on the future of the business and its markets. As part of a worldwide group the company has first-hand experience of the widest range of environments and working practices. This unique insight allows SG Pipelines to lead the way in research and design, and therefore continually meet its customers’ needs.

Paul comments: “Following what will be a period of consolidation over the coming months the management team will reinforce the company’s philosophy of partnerships with our customers. Together we will undertake a process of identifying exact customer needs, eliminating any acknowledged problems that have resulted from the change process and re-building trust.

“This is reinforced by the PAM brand as an integral part of our worldwide divisional brand strategy, demonstrating product solution excellence, quality, innovation and technical expertise. Under the banner of the PAM brand, SG Pipelines is in the enviable position whereby we can bring enhanced value to our customers’ business, by reducing their costs of operation and ownership, through the local application of the division’s innovative engineering solutions,” Paul adds.

Although some may view iron products as ‘traditional’, business development director Dr. David Smoker is keen to point out that the company’s products offer a marriage of proven material and innovative technology to provide solutions to meet the construction industry’s current requirements. “Through R&D the company is able to offer new products on a continual basis. For instance, PAM Natural is a pipe for clean water that uses an innovative coating to increase service life whilst speeding up and improving installation time. Other recent pipeline innovations are targeted to improving installability and longevity, including push fit anchored systems and ductile iron pipes used in trenchless applications. SG Pipelines also provides qualified advice and support on installation techniques in all sectors, such as InductPlus, an accreditation scheme for pipe laying contractors. Furthermore, the business has recently launched access cover products focused on asset security and operator health and safety, such as the new OptEmax and UltEmax manhole covers for ease of opening and downhole access, and new Eezi-Fit push-fit joints for quicker installation of above and below ground Ensign drainage system.”

Looking to the future, Paul concludes: “We are now embedding our new business structure and embracing the benefits that this will bring. With our financially strengthened position, new and improved business processes and our open gateway to a world of choice with regards to world-class pipelines and infrastructure solutions and technical services, we are ideally positioned to bring these attributes to our UK and Irish customer base, now and in the future.”