Leading with Innovation: how Stairways is driving improvements in safety, efficiency, and compliance

Stairways blog

At Stairways, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. We are constantly striving to enhance safety, efficiency, and compliance for our clients and for ourselves. Whether it’s innovating new safety kit, developing training, or making compliance easier to achieve, we are always finding ways to solve problems, smooth friction points and improve how we work and meet our clients’ needs.

We are so fortunate to have some very talented leaders on our team, who exemplify this commitment to innovation and improvement.

Expertise and Leadership

With over 25 years of experience in the sector, Richard Kowalski, our Technical Manager for Doors, brings a wealth of knowledge and a relentless attitude of problem-solving to every project. Richard’s dedication recently earned him the prestigious BWF Rising Star Award, a testament to his commitment to excellence.

Richard’s contributions extend far beyond his technical expertise. He’s a driving force behind our continuous professional development, personally authoring and delivering hundreds of hours of training to support his colleagues.

And, extending his reach beyond our own team, his innovative “Toolbox Talks” and informative articles empower carpenters and installers with the knowledge they need to install our products efficiently, whilst meeting the highest standards of safety and compliance.

Richard has multiple accreditations under his belt; his active involvement in industry roles in the Fire Door Alliance and the British Woodworking Federation committee, as well as giving talks for external parties such as the Guild of Architectural Ironmongery. He is a passionate supporter of BWF Fire Door Safety Week, which last year saw him launch a mini-series of videos offering top tips and advice.

Last year, Richard along with our joint MD and owner Karen Wood, achieved certification as Go Construct STEM Ambassadors, embracing this opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge to inspire and galvanise young people considering a career in our sector.

We’re also very fortunate in our Director of Sales, Julian Cooke, whose experience and industry knowledge is pivotal to our product offering and the development of alternative product ideas. He is an expert in managing our clients and meeting their needs and expectations.

Pioneering Efficiency on the Factory Floor and Beyond

Andy Clarke’s journey at Stairways has been one of continuous growth and innovation. Starting on the factory floor, his hands-on experience provided him with invaluable insights into the intricacies of staircase production. Over the years, he’s risen through the ranks to Production Manager at our Walsall factory, leveraging his expertise to drive tangible improvements across the board.

Andy has worked to improve our factory processes, including contributing to the re-writing of risk assessments and all the method statements for the machinery. His commitment to efficiency extends to every aspect of our operations and he’s continuously seeking ways to streamline processes and enhance safety.
Also instrumental to our approach is Neil Stevens, the mind behind the production operations, who is constantly bringing new materials, machines and suppliers to the business.

Neil drove forward ESTA – our in house software that helps manage our client administration and communications, from our estimates through to delivery notes and much more. We also have a team that develops and works with the operations team to write, test and improve modules – testament to our continual mission to improve our processes.

Pushing for Progress in the Construction Sector

At Stairways, innovation isn’t just about staying ahead of the competition; it’s about leading the charge towards a safer, more efficient way of working.
Andy played a pivotal role in the development of groundbreaking solutions like the “eze-ways” demountable balustrading fixing solution – revolutionising the installation of handrails, ensuring compliance with British Standards in a matter of minutes.

He was also behind the Railsafe handrail system, which works in tandem with “eze-ways” to make it simple to install safety railings on site. This is our Safety Handrail System, which provides temporary edge protection for staircases and landings and overside of staircase fall protection during construction.

Meanwhile, one of Richard’s standout innovations was the introduction of luggage-style door labels, which are now attached to all our fire door sets. These labels not only indicate the correct undercut gap for installers but also feature a QR code linking to installation instructions, streamlining the process and enhancing compliance – and most importantly helping to ensure fire doors are installed safely and correctly.

Leading from the front

From state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques to groundbreaking installation solutions, we’re committed to delivering excellence in every aspect of our operations. Whether it’s providing comprehensive training resources or developing cutting-edge products, we want to empower our clients and their contractors, and elevate standards across the construction sector.

With a passionate team, state-of-the-art machinery, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, Stairways is not just a manufacturer; we’re a driving force for positive change in the industry. Join us as we continue to lead with innovation and shape the future of construction. That’s the Stairways way.

Stairways

Author: Stairways

Stairways, founded in 1989, has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft production capacity. Stairways goal is to raise their profile and brand awareness to become known throughout the industry as the UK’s leading staircase and door solution provider.

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Commitment

As a highly reputable firm within the industry, Stairways are dedicated to meeting their client’s product and application requirements. All materials used are manufactured to the highest quality and meet the relevant standards achieving ISO9001, FSC®, and various product certifications, whilst their staircases and door solutions are manufactured with compliance to UK building regulations & legislative standards in mind. Using the knowledge, passion, and experience acquired across all team members over the past thirty years, Stairways aim to continue to be the best in what they do.

THE FUTURE

Stairways are continuously looking for opportunities to improve and expand their service offering; this includes the investment in new machinery to further enhance and innovate the manufacturing process, with the aim to shorten lead times and increase overall in-house capacity. The changes Stairways employ are always focused upon improving the customer experience, to ensure their process remains as efficient as possible from start to finish.

THE HISTORY

Privately owned and managed since it was founded in 1989, Stairways has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Starting as a small staircase manufacturer, Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft of bespoke and mass production capacity.