Beam Hits the Target in Exports to Irish Republic

Jun 22, 2006

Magherafelt-based Beam Vacuum Systems has more than doubled its business in the Republic of Ireland over the past six months with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company, which designs, installs and services central vacuum systems for domestic properties, offices and factories, has used Invest NI’s Innovation Service to identify and exploit new business opportunities, particularly in the Republic, for its products and expertise. It recently moved into a new purpose built 10,000sq.ft HQ in Opus Business Park, Aughrim Road, Magherafelt, a £500,000 investment by the company.

Beam currently employs 30 people in the town and now has a large network of distributors / installers for its domestic vacuum systems throughout Ireland. The company’s services to commercial and industrial clients are provided from Magherafelt.  It plans to recruit a further five people to its sales and technical teams over the next few weeks.

Among high profile contacts won in the Republic are systems recently installed in the new Intel plant at Leixlip, for several Dublin Bus depots and the PFPC Bank, also in Dublin. The company also counts Seagate Technology, Derry and Limavady, AVX in Coleraine and FG Wilson among its Northern Ireland clients. The Intel solution is the largest centralised system for a clean room environment, incorporating 8.5km of vacuum ducting, and is the largest in Europe.

It has also provided central vacuum systems to residential developers such as Antrim Construction, Fraser Homes and the Patton Group, with over 30,000 systems now installed in homes throughout Ireland.

Pat Keenan, Beam’s Managing Director, who founded the company in 1977, said: “Our sales in the Republic have grown by 100 per cent over the past six months and this market now contributes to around 50 per cent of our business. This growth is the result of a strategic focus that has benefited substantially by incorporating innovation into all areas of the business, North and South.

“The Innovation Service helped us to prioritise what needed to be done, provided ideas to help us find new ways to develop our business and generally helped us to stay focused.  

“We were helped to identify the steps that we needed to take to strengthen our market position there. This led us to strengthen our management team and increase our marketing activities in the Republic, as well as in Northern Ireland. We looked closely at how we could set ourselves apart in our products and services and measure more accurately the opportunities available.

“Unlike some competitors, we are investing heavily in our technical services. This means customers can count on extensive technical support and exceptional customer care from experienced personnel.

“Furthermore, we’ve developed products for specific markets in which we’ve spotted new opportunities, including a new solution for residential developers and a vacuum-based waste shredding system for public and private sector offices handling confidential and sensitive documents.

“Looking back, I’m pleased with what we have achieved and know it has a lot to do with the consultant’s approach and support.  I would strongly recommend Invest NI’s Innovation Service to anyone looking to grow their business,” he added.

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, commenting on Beam’s achievements, said: “Beam is an excellent example of how a company can set itself apart from the competition by focusing resources on innovation and creativity throughout the business.

“Companies that add value through differentiating their business model can increase turnover and profitability.  The Innovation Service, moreover, assists companies to harness the creative potential of their employees in the development of customer-focused initiatives,” she added.

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