When three friends with many years of experience in the building trade decided to set up their own business, it made sense to stick with something they knew. The result was ARC Building Products, founded in 2006 by Martin Nolan, David Orr and Fergal Simpson to supply building chemicals, such as tile adhesives, silicon sealants, floor levelling compounds and other glues and pastes.
A fourth partner, Chris Vickers, joined ARC last year and the company now also provides adhesives for the DIY market.
ARC established a 15,000 square foot site at Gorey, County Wexford – 5,000 sq feet for manufacturing and the rest devoted to warehousing. “We need more space for storage and distribution than for manufacturing,” Martin adds, “although we now make most of our own products. In the beginning we imported a lot; although we still import goods from the UK and mainland Europe, 70% of our lines are made here in Gorey.”
From the beginning, ARC used Tuckmill Transport, Depot 103 covering Wexford and South Wicklow, as its logistics partner. “Tuckmill was recommended to us by the manager of a neighbouring factory,” Martin explains. As the saying goes, they’ve never looked back.
“Delivery is really important,” emphasises Martin. “People want to order their goods today but have them delivered tomorrow. I don’t think we could offer a next-day service throughout the 32 Irish counties without using a pallet network of some sort. We build our own pallets, which are collected at around 16.00 hours every day and dropped off at our customers’ premises the next day.”
When ARC started, it shipped 8-12 pallets per day; now it averages 20, even during these difficult times. “Our business is stable, which is good, considering the recession,” Martin points out. “Since we now make so much of the products we sell, we can be much more competitive than some of our rivals.”
“Tuckmill provides a really good service, but TPN membership is definitely an important part of that. Without TPN, I don’t think we could achieve the same service levels, and TPN’s arrangement with TPN UK enables Tuckmill to bring in our UK imports, too.”
This year, ARC plans to expand its Northern Ireland business, with the help of a new sales rep for the region and, of course, TPN’s next-day service to the north. “Lots of hauliers and 3PLs have come to us to try to win our business,” Martin admits, “but we have no reason to change. Tuckmill and TPN have done such a good job for us.”