ESE Direct Ltd was established by Brian Francis in 1975 as Eastern Storage Equipment Ltd selling shelving, racking and associated storage equipment, in the early 1980’s we underwent a step change and have been trading very successfully since, we now have almost 30 dedicated and experienced staff working within our three divisions:
- Since 1984 ESE Direct has been supplying over 20,000 industrial and commercial products from cable protectors, speed ramps and safety barriers through first aid kits and signs to workbenches, cupboards / lockers (and including shelving and racking obviously). We supply to over 12,500 clients spread across the public sector, emergency services, all sizes of businesses, organisations and charities via our own comprehensive free mail order catalogue, and since 2000 via our unique secure Online shop. Even in the current economic climate ESE continues to grow year on year and online sales now account for more than 80% of turnover even though we are still primarily a UK only supplier. You can order online, by email, live chat, phone, fax or even still by 'snail mail' if you prefer.
- Since 1983 ESE Projects has been designing, supplying and undertaking refurbishment contracts in offices, warehouses, factories, leisure facilities, retail premises, trade counters and stores / stock rooms. Using the latest software and our extensive industry experience to ensure the most cost-effective, ergonomic and practical solutions to suit your requirements and budget. Whether your project is small or worth hundreds of thousands of pounds we will always strive to offer the highest quality finish and customer service possible. We have extremely experienced specialists in office partitions, industrial steel partitioning systems, mobile shelving, racking and mezzanine floors. We have access to many reliable related trades and can compile a full package as principal contractors or work closely with other contractors on your site as part of a larger team. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements in detail.
- ESE Cloakrooms - designers and manufacturers of cloakroom seating since 1990. Changing room benches, peg rails, wall fixed shelving and clothing racks to suit mainly the leisure, education, emergency services, sports and health sectors plus commercial changing facilities in larger businesses. We manufacture four unique ranges of cloakroom benches (including the Aqua stainless steel range launched in 2011) and changing room accessories, all available in five standard sizes from 1m to 3m wide and six colour choice (all with Biocote anti-bacterial finish).
Rebranded as Benchura in 2014, our changing room equipment is regularly specified by architects and designers and sold to main contractors, business mail order catalogues, via ‘approved distributors’ and direct to end users. We are confident we can provide strong and competitive solutions to meet your needs from our standard ranges, if not we will design and manufacture a cost effective bespoke system to suit your exact requirements.
As a long established, customer-centric business, history and a sense of belonging is very important to us, this is a brief synopsis of the key milestones that have led to ESE becoming one of the leading suppliers of industrial and commercial products to thousands of businesses and organisations across the UK.
2016 – Jackie Wells joins us as Managing Director and will be overseeing the replacement of much of our business software with a new system built specifically to make our customer service as efficient as possible at the same time as integrating websites, catalogues and direct sales into one system.
2015 – We took on more office space and in February were purchased by HC Slingsby PLC. The acquisition of the company by a larger PLC has enabled us to harness the greater buying power that comes with being part of a group and pass these savings on to our customers.
2014 – Fifth consecutive record year we recruited another 7 people (12 to 30+ team members in 5 years) and took on more office and warehouse space for our continuous expansion plans. We added extra phone lines and upgraded our phone call management systems to ensure we can answer your calls as efficiently as possible. We also launched two new websites and made dozens of other improvements to ensure we can look after you our valued customers to the best of our ability.
2013 – Fourth consecutive record year, thanks to your continued faith in us our customer base has also grown six-fold, we:
Added 1,600 new products and worked closely with suppliers to reduce or hold over 4,200 prices.
Changed to ESE Direct (previously Eastern Storage Equipment) because over 80% of our business is transacted through this trading style.
Now have an experienced senior management team in place.
Refurbished and extended our offices to facilitate further growth.
Took on extra warehousing to increase stock, reduce lead times and prices as well.
We also doubled our storage and mezzanine floor project handling capacity, and launched Biocote anti-bacterial paint finish as standard on our changing room benches.
2012 – Another record year, we made significant advances in customer services and order processing procedures to ensure we can look after you whilst we continue to grow. We recruited a Financial Director to help plan for the future, won one local and two national awards and were finalists in the Orange National Business Awards; probably the biggest business award in the UK. Another 2,000 new products were added online, some of which started selling within 24 hours of going live.
2011 – Another record year, we analysed and improved our business processes, employed five extra sales and customer service staff to ensure you, our customers, remain our top priority. Our IT systems were upgraded to automate as much as possible and enable ESE to handle the much larger volumes of orders and enquiries. 1,100 New online, mail order products were launched, along with a new range of Stainless Steel Cloakroom Seating with compact laminate or all stainless seats for the swimming pool and food processing and cleanroom markets.
2010 – A record year, we launched our first 352 page mail order catalogue along with brand new in-house designed and created E-commerce website and E-catalogue. We recruited four new team members to improve administration and maintain customer service and totally refurbished our facilities to accommodate them and the new team members planned for 2011.
2009 – Launched two new cloakroom ranges - Budget range an ex stock changing room bench seating for the construction industry and – Club range aesthetically pleasing designer cloakroom benches with round frame legs at extremely competitive prices. We decided to create our first in-house B2B mail order catalogue instead of relying on ‘external providers’ who determined the content and pricing for us. The last four months of the year were spent almost entirely analysing all product ranges, suppliers performance, prices, lead times etc to ensure our new catalogue and website would offer the best products at the best prices in a more customer friendly way, as well as ensuring we provided quantity discounts and enough information to enable an informed purchasing decision.
2008 – Was the best year in our 33 year history with increased sales, significantly increased customer numbers who were spread across the entire UK (only 4 postal districts not supplied) and we supplied products to more than 190 different industries. Two new cloakroom bench ranges were designed and the existing 18 year old range was given a makeover to bring it upto date and to reflect the latest requirements from Sport England and the Football Foundation.
2007 – In 2007, 2008 and 2009 ESE entered a number of National and Regional Awards for customer service, use of technology and business growth and were lucky enough to have won or been finalists in 80% of all entered.
2004 – Online sales became an increasingly important part of our business model so independent websites were created for each division to enable more detailed and specific product information to be displayed to our 'core products' www.esedirect.co.uk - www.eseprojects.co.uk - www.benchura.co.uk As a result online business more than doubled in that year.
2000 – First full Online Ordering Website was launched containing all 7,500 products from our 300 page business mail order catalogue.
2003 – Changing room bench ranges we manufacture were fully redesigned and cost engineered in conjunction with some of our Architect / Main Contractor clients, to ensure we continue to provide benches with industry leading seat strength, easy on-site assembly, the best range of 'standard sizes' and common 'core components' to aid product versatility and reduce stocked variations.
1999 – Brian's eldest son, Simon took over as Managing Director (having started in 1984 in the warehouse and gained experience across the business first, like many of our team). The business started to grow beyond expectations with the customer base more than trebling and turnover increasing and plans were put in place for year on year growth.
1997 – First fairly basic Brochure Website was launched (when most competitors did not even have a website).
1990 – Cloakroom seating manufacturing division was established and the first Versa range of cloakroom benches were designed in-house and sold primarily through other B2B mail order catalogues.
1989 – Development of Northumberland Street commenced, seeing ESE purchase the land in front of their offices and build an additional 6,000sq ft of ground floor storage space, as well as adding mezzanine floors and racking floors to the existing 6,600sq ft to improve facilities.
1984 – First 128 page mail order catalogue was despatched and the product range was expanded by approximately 4,000 items to include handling equipment, trucks and trolleys, signs, noticeboards, first aid kits, litter and wheelie bins, ladders, lockers and workbenches.
1983 – Supply and Installation of Mezzanine Floors, Office Partitioning and Industrial Steel Partitions were added to the portfolio and the offices were first refurbished to provide a working showroom of the types of products and services we could provide our clients (since refurbished and extended numerous times).
1980 – Rapid expansion led to a number of moves, culminating in a final relocation to our current headquarters in Northumberland Street, Norwich. It is from this location we continue to serve our loyal and extremely varied customer base throughout the UK.
January 1975 – Established by Brian Francis, ESE originally operated from a small summerhouse in his back garden. Primarily selling Shelving and Racking as he had been working for many years in this industry as the top sales person for Link51 one of the leading manufacturers.
In the last few years alone we have been fortunate to have supplied tens of thousands of customers of all sizes in hundreds of different industries, from 40+ of the FTSE100 top companies to small independent businesses, organisations and charities. We pride ourselves on providing the same high levels of service to every customer regardless of their size or industry and just some of our Prestigious customers include:
Last year alone we managed to supply over 700 public sector organisations including:
Schools, Colleges and Academies - Council Departments - Universities - Hospitals - Government Departments - Emergency Services - Museums - Armed Forces - Prisons
Baxi Heating – Baxter Healthcare – Bespak – Britvic - Brady Corporation - Buck & Hickman - Bunzl - Cromwell – Calor Gas – Coca Cola – Dolby Laboratories – Domino's Pizza – Dorma UK – Dow Corning - Eriks – Estee Lauder – Exxon Mobil – Fujitsu – Genevac – Glaxo Smith Kline – H J Heinz – Indesit – Institute of Food Research – Johnson & Johnson – Nestle – Nisa – Pizza Express –Shell UK – Smith & Nephew – Unilever
Facilities Management and Construction
Babcock – Balfour Beatty – Bam Nuttall –Celotex – Corillion – Costain – Covion – Hanson – Kier – Lafarge – Mansell – May Gurney – Mitie – Serco – Vitra
Government and National Interest
Balmoral Estates – DEFRA – English Heritage – Foreign & Commonwealth Office – HM Customs & Excise – HMRC – IOD – MOD – Royal Commission– Royal Mail –The Met Office – The Royal Mint - The British Museum
Arsenal FC – Cardiff City FC – Celtic Manor Resort – Chelsea FC – Derby County FC – Formula One Management – Norwich City FC – Aston Villa FC - Fulham FC - Royal St Davids Golf Club – Stenhousemuir FC
Motors and Vehicles
Caterham Air Asia F1 – Caterpillar – Lotus Cars –Mercedes Benz – McLaren F1 – Michelin Tyres – Nissan – Rolls Royce – Tesla Motors – Volvo Construction – Williams F1
City Airport London – Gatwick Airport – Great Western Railways – Manchester Airport – Network Rail – Northern Rail – P&O Ferries – Southern Railways – Stena Sealink Ferries
Atlantic Airlines – BAE Systems – Easyjet – Lockheed Martin – Lufthansa – Monarch – Thomson Airways
Aldi – Burberry – House of Fraser – John Lewis – LK Bennett – Lush – Sainsburys – Selfridges – TM Lewin
British Red Cross – Help for Heroes – Mencap – NSPCC – Oxfam – RSPB – Samaritans – Scope – St John Ambulance
Banking and Finance
Bank of Scotland– Camelot Lotteries – Capital One PLC – Deutsche Bank – Santander – Virgin Money
TV and Entertainment
BBC – Channel 4 – Channel 5 - National Gallery – QVC – Royal Opera House
BeWilderwood – Centre Parcs – Drayton Manor Theme Park - London Dungeons
Hotels and Pubs
Holiday Inns – Intercontinental Hotels – Leisure Inns – Victoria Inns
Utilities and Services
Anglian Water – EDF – EON – Northumbrian Water – Severn Trent Water – Siemens – South West Water
AND THOUSANDS MORE...
ESE firmly believes that CSR is an integral part of our business and we are dedicated to making a positive contribution to our communities, being a good employer and minimising our environmental impact.
ESE is committed to providing excellent workplace standards for everyone.
- We strive to always create an enhanced working environment for our dedicated team at the same time as reducing our carbon footprint and utilities consumption.
- We are committed to employing a diverse workforce to assist in meeting the needs of a diverse customer base.
- It is our policy to provide staff with training and career development so they can grow and develop within the company; many of our team are long serving employees which is testament to the support and development that each individual receives.
- We offer flexible working to enable individuals to balance the needs and demands of both their home and work lives.
Essentially we want our team to be happy and engaged at work and as passionate about our business as we are, as we know this leads to the very best in customer service delivery.
At ESE we encourage our team to:
- Treat all customers and suppliers the same way as we would expect to be treated as individuals.
- Develop long term partnerships with suppliers, customers and colleagues that are mutually beneficial to all.
- Always work in an honest and open manner ensuring that our pricing is transparent and that we are proactive in our customer service delivery.
- Be polite and respectful to everyone and to assist each other both in and out of work as we are still a family run business.
ESE aims to sustain and improve our natural environment for the benefit of all and we are committed to:
- Continual improvement in our environmental performance by improving the efficiency with which we use resources and comply with relevant environmental regulation and legislation.
- Investing in technology to minimise the use of paper materials with the aim of moving to a paperless office. Any waste paper is shredded, recycled and made into animal bedding.
- Reducing, reusing or recycling packing materials such as steel, wood, cardboard and consumables such as plastic, inks, toners etc wherever possible.
- Encouraging our staff to share transport, use cycles or walk to work wherever possible.
ESE is an active member of the local community.
- We make a positive contribution to local communities by bringing jobs for local people.
- We use as many local suppliers as possible to benefit the local economy.
- We work with local causes and since 2013 have had a charity day each month where we donate to charities chosen by our customers. For 2016 we are proud to be corporate sponsors of Break Charity.
If you are in doubt about the suitability of any product please contact us for unbiased, friendly and free advice.
In addition to our head office sales team, we have extremely experienced and friendly field sales engineers happy to visit you whether you are in Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Chelmsford, Cambridge, Kings Lynn, Peterborough, Harlow, London, Luton, Stevenage, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Northampton, Corby, Coventry, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Edenbridge, Crawley, Guildford, Slough or just about anywhere else for that matter, and provide free no obligation advice and quotations.