Interview with Stefanos Kandilidis, the Managing Director of Voltacon
- Please tell us more about Ledison Lighting and your sector of the lighting industry?
Ledison Lighting was started in 2011 in the West Midlands as lighting manufacturers and specialists in LED technology.
Initially, our main market was concentrated on direct retro fits so replacing fluorescent lights without needing to change the fitting.
We then expanded into supplying more lighting, fittings and fixtures to produce the complete LED package.
Slowly but surely, we became involved in the design and implementation of large-scale projects such as designing lighting systems for commercial and industrial use.
Now, we have established an online market as well with our online shop to sell to the public, traders and commercial businesses.
Our sector of the lighting industry covers residential, commercial and industrial. In the last three years, we have secured substantial contracts with ferry companies, cruise ships and military ships which is a new sector for us.
Following our success in the industrial and online markets, we have further expanded into the renewable energy market.
We assemble and test off grid and energy storage systems as part of our parent company Voltacon Solar and this is another part of the business which is flourishing.
I design the solar panels which are manufactured in China while the batteries are manufactured in Germany as we supply residential and business customers in the UK and Europe with the entire package needed to install solar systems.
- What have you learned over the past 3 years?
We have learned from our experience that quality is paramount. Quality is most important because we didn’t set-up our business to sell low-price products to get a bigger share of the market, we have concentrated on supplying the type of high-quality products that our customers want.
We give a five-year guarantee with our products and have had very few returned to us over the years and our reputation has grown in the domestic and industrial market because we are now an established business.
We have more repeat business since customers trust us and we keep improving the quality of our products and they are more confident with new technology.
- Do you have any expansion plans in the coming years?
We are creating a purpose-built building next door to our current premises in Coventry because we are running out of space!
This should be completed later this year which will mean we can hold more stock for immediate deliveries and more new products which will be made here so we will be keeping a small part of production in the UK.
- How do you stay ahead of competition?
We bring new products to the market and we understand the requirements of our customers.
Customer service is extremely important in our sector and as well as offering next-day delivery, we design lighting systems free of charge.
We have built up a great deal of knowledge within our team which means when customers ring, our experts can give them technical advice to answer their questions straight-away as well as sales information.
We have also designed and built a website which is easy to navigate so our online shop is easy to use for traders and domestic customers.
- You have supplied lighting to some fantastic projects, which has been the most challenging and why?
The most challenging was our largest order to date which was supplying more than 100,000 energy-saving lights to 21 Royal Navy flagship warships.
The Royal Navy tested around 3,000 pieces of our lighting on their ships during three-year discussions for the lighting refurbishment.
We had around 100 staff working round the clock for 45 days to manufacture 100,783 LED tube lights at our factory in China.
The lights were then transported to the Portsmouth naval base where they will be installed when the ships are in the dock over the next 12 months.
Twenty-one of the UK’s Royal Navy Fleet will benefit from the new energy-saving LED lights, including the new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
I think our expertise, flexibility, commitment to sustainability and ability to provide customised solutions led to being awarded the contract.
- How do you see smart connected lighting changing the lighting market?
Smart connected lighting means more and more people are having smart homes and using mobile applications via apps to monitor their lighting including their consumption. This is part of smart connected lighting being really smart!
Lighting is no longer just about an on and off switch because the power of the light can be adjusted depending on the time of day or activities such as watching a film or eating dinner.
We have made sure our products are compatible with Google and other applications and have introduced new products including the Leonardo Intelligent LED panel lights – the panel’s smart technology responds to its environment, adjusting its levels based on light from windows and hangs well on recessed ceilings.