Danny Hooper, Factory Manager at Sontay, explores Sontay’s role as a manufacturer
Sontay has been a well-known brand within the building controls industry for many years. In fact, we will be celebrating our 45th anniversary next year and I will be starting my 20th year at the company, an impressive achievement for both of us. A lot has changed during this time but one thing that stays as true as it did then is Sontay’s commitment to manufacturing its own product solutions. We know it is important but why should that be important to you?
A brief history
Sontay first started out as an off-shoot and specialist provider of support services to the established Eaton-Williams Group. One of the first areas of successful diversification was medical electronic products, which is also responsible for the company’s name, Sontay – a corruption of the French word for health, Sante. In 1986 the company moved to its present head office and manufacturing base in Edenbridge, Kent, and since then, Sontay has grown into a leader of the HVAC industry, distributing and manufacturing a range of world class building measurement and control peripherals. A change of ownership in 2001 to become part of the global GE operation and the subsequent management buyout in 2004 enabled significant investment into product development.
Doing it all in-house
At our base in Edenbridge, Kent, we deliver a complete service from R&D and manufacturer right through to dispatch. As Production Manager, I oversee goods coming into the facility, components being assembled and going through the rigorous product and quality testing as well as ensuring the products are dispatched to the customer on time.
The factory is fully equipped with the latest technology to guarantee a fast and flexible service. Over the years, Sontay has continued to invest in the vital skills of its manufacturing team as well as the equipment facilities to ensure it can offer a quality production and test environment. Sontay also places a great importance on research and development to ensure it is manufacturing at the highest standards and providing the trusted product range that Sontay is renowned for.
We manufacture 75% of our products in-house. Through managing our product development process internally, we have a true holistic approach to every project. Careful consideration is taken to the production process throughout the development stage to ensure we can manufacture as leanly as possible. We also utilise this approach for procuring components. Many of our products are developed to be based on the same PCB platform and utilise the same housing. This allows us to have these manufactured, using our intellectual property, in bulk to engineer cost savings. In turn, this ensures that we can remain competitive in the market whilst offering the premium product that our customers expect from Sontay. Our manufacturing process then utilises these base parts to create the vast range of sensing products available throughout our catalogue. From temperature to RH and pressure through to CO2, we are able to manufacture these to our customer requirements based on the groundwork made during the product development stage. This also means that we can offer the exact sensor options required for the customer’s application with a fast turnaround. The factory is also well equipped to handle orders of bespoke products such as the UI-500 range where customers can specify the finish and functionality of their required sensor.
Sontay has developed and introduced quality and environmental business management systems that conform to the BS EN ISO 9001 and 14001 standards. Obtaining this certification demonstrates how Sontay takes an active interest in quality control and its own environmental performance, providing assurance to all customers that it is constantly measuring and improving processes.
It's all about the service
The company has an industry renowned Internal Sales Team and Technical Support, so it can offer unrivalled service to its customers. The dedicated team, can help customers place orders, answer technical enquiries and give valuable after sales support. Customers can also get in touch with us via the website, which can give them instant access to information through functions such as the customer portal and online live chat. Any order that is received by 3.30pm for stock items in the UK will be delivered before 12pm the next day where available. International orders placed by 11am for items on the shelf will also be despatched that day and arrive in between 1 to 5 days depending on location. We provide local service in many locations with offices in France, Dubai, The Netherlands and Ireland as well as a network of approved distributors worldwide. Of course, we also hold a major presence in our home market in the UK with a Sales & Technical Support Team dedicated to supporting our customer base.
By manufacturing our products in-house, we can offer our customers complete flexibility and a service as reliable as our products. We are extremely proud of the manufacturing facilities in Edenbridge and we would be more than happy to show you around on your next visit.