In the age of Brexit, the supplier with warehouses in mainland Europe is king. Or, at the very least, they don’t have to drive as far.
“We’re not anticipating any major problems,” Richard Jarvill, managing director of JMT, assures EN. “We’re one of 10 companies across 15 locations in Europe, which gives us the ability to take an order in the UK and deliver in Berlin, for example, from one of our partner co mpanies.
“The UK market is huge, but we’ve also got clients exhibiting in Europe, and that’s a fairly unique proposition. We want to act as a gateway for our UK clients in Europe.”
JMT won The 10th Anniversary ESSA Award at the 2017 EN Awards, held at the end of March, to the delight of Jarvill and his team.
“We were really pleased about winning,” he grins. “It shows that we’re very proactive and that we’re maintaining our high standards.”
The furniture supplier started life more than 25 years ago – then called Indisplay – initially covering the exhibition industry before branching out into events and live communications more generally.
A few years ago it was bought by Dutch group JMT, which transformed the company into JMT Indisplay, and also into a supplier with extensive reach around mainland Europe.
Following a recent rebrand, the company is now known solely as JMT, emphasising the desire for seamless cohesion between the brand’s companies across Europe.
“It’s really to reflect our European nature,” explains Jarvill. “What it means is that when we have large events we can bring the stock to where it’s needed. Last year we brought together stock from around four countries in order to facilitate a large exhibition; it was no big deal for us and it highlights our ability to meet the demands of our clients.”
With the UK’s exit from the European Union looming on the horizon, JMT is hoping to minimise the impact of factors like cross-border transactions and admin by making the most of its reach across the continent.
“It’s win-win really,” Jarvill tells EN. “The moment you have to transport something long distance you’ve got the carbon footprint, and you’ve got all the unknowns of whether the stock will be in a good condition when it gets to the other end. If you’re driving halfway across Europe then inevitably things can move in transit and items can get damaged.
“Our model is great. We reduce our carbon footprint, we have less transportation costs, and the client also has more flexibility. If we arrive onsite and they want additional furniture, they can just give us a call and we’ll sort it quickly and without fuss.”
Looking to the future
The group’s long-term plan is to invest heavily to achieve a much greater commonality of stock across the group and, located in the optimum warehouse across Europe, so that a client viewing furniture in the UK could get an exact replica delivered to an event anywhere on the continent.
“We’re moving stock around Europe to make sure that it’s located in the right region or country for when it’s needed,” says Jarvill. “The UK still prefers soft furnishing, whereas Germany likes hard edges, and that’s great. We’re able to analyse where that stock should be located, so that we can have the availability for our clients.”
Jarvill sees the EN ESSA Award win as an acknowledgement of the company’s customer-centric focus, along with its contributions to the industry as a whole, and is full of praise for the association itself.
“ESSA provides that moral compass,” he explains. “It provides a sense of community and direction. It’s good to have a forum to discuss industry-wide topics, and safety is one area that I think ESSA has made really big progress on.
“As an individual company, it’s difficult to challenge the big boys. I can’t express my concerns about safety issues within the industry by myself, but ESSA provides that voice. I like the way that they are proactive about it.
“It’s very important that organisations like ESSA exist and very important that we play our role within it. I’m pleased that they recognised the fact that we do punch above our weight in that respect.”
Whatever the future holds for the UK post-Brexit, Jarvill’s sights are firmly set on growing JMT within the country, all while exploring opportunities for the company’s clients on the continent.
“Nothing is too much trouble,” he concludes. “We’re big enough to absorb any event, big or small. We’re focused on delivering a quality service both in the UK and in Europe, and the future’s looking good.”