British brackets manufacturer B-Tech AV Mounts are celebrating their 45th year in business – and things have never looked brighter for the UK based company.
Managing director Matthew Bennett, who completed an MBO of the business from his father in 2008, has significantly grown the business in recent years, making the company a global player within the AV industry, with a sales network that now sees B-Tech products installed around the world. Today, The B-Tech International Group consists of eight companies, located in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Thanks to B-Tech’s industry recognised professional range, B-Tech sold its solutions to 49 different countries directly and a further 15 through distribution in the past 12 months.
B-Tech’s story is one of humble beginnings and hard work. As Matthew Bennett explains, “Armed with £500 and a van, my father set up the company in 1972, as a supplier of generic audio video accessories to the retail trade in London. Our first ever bracket was the BT1 Tilt and Swivel Loudspeaker Mount which was launched in 1979. Over the next decade a number of additional loudspeaker mounts were introduced into the range, later followed by CRT television mounts, all designed and manufactured in the UK.”
However, it was the rise of large domestic TVs in the late 90s that opened a natural boom in business for B-Tech. Matthew continues, “By the end of the decade, Plasma screens were entering the market and with B-Tech’s experience designing mounting solutions, we were in prime position to benefit from this revolution in viewing technology. Throughout the 2000s, our in-house designed mounting range continued to expand – covering the professional AV market as well as the retail consumer market, which B-Tech was very strong in.”
In order to keep up with demand and cost pressures, in 2002, B-Tech set up operations in Hong Kong to oversee and manage the transfer of production from the UK to the Far East. One major benefit of this was that it allowed B-Tech to sell direct from the factory to the four corners of the globe.
For Matthew, the expansion of B-Tech’s portfolio has been hugely fulfilling, albeit not without its challenges. He explains, “The financial crisis from 2008 to 2010 was a particularly challenging time for many UK businesses and B-Tech definitely felt the effects during that period. Thankfully, we were able to emerge from that period as a much stronger business and have seen tremendous growth ever since.”
He adds, “We have developed a highly successful product with our System X range and our professional mounting products now make up the largest and most significant part of our business. The key to their popularity is the user-friendly features designed to save installers both time and money. Modularity is another important aspect- most B-Tech products can be fitted to other B-Tech products; like a giant Meccano or Lego set – everything works with everything else. This means there is no installation challenge which can’t be met with a B-Tech solution.”
Digital Signage Boom
Digital signage applications are getting bigger and more complicated, with no sign of the trend slowing down. This is clearly good news for Matthew and B-Tech, but also brings intense competition from heavyweight, well established competition.
“The digital signage ‘boom’ that we are experiencing right now is really not limited to any vertical market,” explains Matthew. “Screen technologies are so prominent in all areas of business now that we strive to make sure we cater to all markets. However, recently, we are finding the retail sector to be particularly strong as well as hospitality and transportation hubs, which is a reasonably good indicator of the current economic state.
As for the competition conundrum, Matthew knows the importance of having a ‘people first’ business. He says, “It may be clichéd, but we consider our success to be down to ‘the sum of all parts’ of the business. We pride ourselves on the level of customer service that we offer, which begins right at the product design stage, where we often consult key customers as part of the design process and give advanced previews for feedback.
“The high levels we set are reflected in the products themselves, which are of a high quality and have earned a solid reputation based on their reliability and ease of use. We have a great team of staff, working at B-Tech offices right across the world, who are dedicated to offering the best service possible and always pay attention to our customers’ needs. We have an extensive portfolio of off the shelf solutions and a dedicated in-house design team who can produce a bespoke solution if needed.”
With digital signage applications becoming more and more ambitious in their design, extreme solutions are now becoming the new ‘hot ticket’. At this year’s ISE, B-Tech demonstrated how their renowned System X solutions can be used for mounting creative video wall displays at heights of over 4m. With a team of British engineers, the B-Tech team pride themselves in being able to meet any mounting requirement.
New developments on the immediate horizon include lighter, stronger, more slimline mounting solutions, along with a hassle-free answer to mounting any RGB LED display. Matthew says: “We design our products to be as universal as possible and, as mentioned previously, our different solutions all work in conjunction with one another. This makes it very easy to create entirely customised solutions from parts that already exist on the shelf. We do, of course, also offer a bespoke service with short turnaround times for those occasions where something completely unique is required. We also offer this service on an OEM and ODM basis.”
So, what of the future and the next 45 years? It’s clear that, in Matthew Bennett, B-Tech is in safe hands, with clear direction on developments and company ethos.
“B-Tech’s main immediate task is simply to continue to improve on what we are doing – there is always room for improvement”, says Matthew. “One of B-Tech’s USPs is being a front runner amongst our peers in providing outstanding service to all our partners, and it is imperative that this continues. There are multiple divisions within B-Tech from the designing of the products, to the manufacturing of them, to the global distribution, to the marketing and the sales channels.
“We will continue to do what we believe we do best, provide top quality products with the very highest levels of service. In essence, and to use a cliché again, treat others how you would like to be treated yourself – simple as that!”