Brickwerks is now 13!
Who'd of thought it eh!
Can a company get a deeper voice and spots?
Onwards and upwards!
Brickwerks is now 13!
Who'd of thought it eh!
Can a company get a deeper voice and spots?
Onwards and upwards!
#groan. Here we go again...
This hateful time of year when we have to close for a few days and count everything.
Here's your warning that we won't be available to send packages out at a moments notice!
Tuesday 10th April - last day we'll be sending anything out, cut off time - 12pm promt.
Wednesday 11th April - Closed, no emails will be replied to, no packages sent.
Thursday 12th April - Closed, no emails will be replied to, no packages sent.
Friday 13th April - If we've finished counting, data entry and eating pizza at the cost of the company then we'll start shipping packages again.
The upshot is that we set the stock levels right and we have less chance of the problems we occasionally have where we sell something we don't actually have (we blame Angus in the workshop for picking things up and wandering off with them!)
Remember that you can track your orders simply by logging into your account and clicking on the "where's my stuff" link at the top of the page where you'll find the current status of any orders and the associated tracking numbers (you wouldn't believe how many people don't know about this feature of the shop!)
Get your orders in early if you're in a rush to avoid disappointment.
Due to the current popularity of the TDI conversion for T3 and even T4 models, we're now keeping these VW Short Block Engines in stock.
Price to be confirmed... but expect them to be "sensible" especially for a VW unit :)
They're supplied with Crank, Pistons, and intermediate shaft fitted... and even come with a sump (although you won't need that for a T3).
They also have the piston protrusion checked and come with gaskets.
These are going to go quickly, we feel sure!
A short write up and some photos of our trip to Viborg back in February.
Winter had been a little mild this year in the UK. We had a sprinkling of snow but nothing to write home about. So what were a couple of cold loving Northerners to do?
Hop on a plane to Denmark for a few days, that's what!
We were invited to JP Group last year to have a look around the factory, warehouse and showrooms, but we were just too busy.
We made time earlier this year in our "quiet" month and booked some flights to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen was our first port of call as thats where the plane landed, we stayed overnight in a hotel and had a brief look around the city the next day. It's a great place and well worth a visit for a taster of Denmark. We'd recommend it if you fancy a weekend away or a base for more exploring in Denmark and Sweden.
We weren't here to sightsee though, so we picked up a hire car and drove the 320km to Viborg.
Viborg is a city in the centre of Jutland and the place where King Canute set off from to give the English a kicking back when we were much less sophisticated.
Thankfully things have changed and the Danish are much friendlier. In fact its one of the friendliest places we've been!
Hotel rooms with saunas, bars where the patrons insist you drink their rum, and give you free t-shirts, and some amazing restaurants. We like Viborg.
Right, thats the Brickwerks Rough Guide out of the way.
Go to Denmark. You'll love it!
Friday morning 10 am, we rocked up to JP Groups headquarters and factory location a few miles North of the city centre. We were met by Martin and given what we assume is the standard factory tour. Questions were answered like "Why do the boxes smell of Tobacco" - because JP, like us re-use a lot of packaging and some comes from a tobacco company. A good thing in our eyes.
If you've bought from Brickwerks you have very likely bought something from JP Group, they supply a lot of parts so they have this massive warehouse, with lots of parts... lots and lots of parts. Its a big place.
So, to help the staff get around when they're picking our stuff they have these bad boys:
A scooter that's also a picking trolley! Sadly we cant buy one, and it wouldn't fit down the aisles at Brickwerks anyway... but we'd find somewhere to play on it if we could!
We could show you pictures of shelves and boxes, but you can see that at Tesco, one cool bit though is the automated picking bays. Basically large moving shelves and a large robot that goes and fetches the complete shelves from high above your head so you can pick the order. It's a clever system. It's fast and something we can relate to at the moment... saves space.
We quite fancy one of these too!
Next to the large warehouse is the Quality Assurance dept. This is where new products are checked and any issues that are reported are investigated.
Now we don't get many returns if we're honest, but if there is a problem with a JP product that they need to look at, it goes here. The racks are full of test rigs and jigs and the benches are full of test equipment.
Many people have a cynical view of returns and think that when a part is returned to a supplier they'll just deny there is an issue and look for an excuse to blame anything but the part.
We're sure that does happen... Not here though!
One of the refreshing things about JP is that, like us, they're concerned with any quality issues and will look at complaints. If there is a problem, it's picked up and dealt with. It's in their interests because if there is a problem with a part people will buy elsewhere.
The people we met there also seem to know the vehicles they're dealing with and even Simon couldn't catch them out! Something else that's refreshing.
Other stuff goes on in other areas. A company with the contract to refurbish Danish train seats operates from one of the buildings. An impressive thing in the days of "chuck it away and buy new ones".
There is even a display cabinet for items found down the seats... if you've ever lost a toy car on a Danish train there is a good chance its in this cabinet.
If you've lost a dildo, its kept somewhere else away from prying eyes, apparently.
You can probably have it back if you ask...
JP source parts from all over world, they also make a lot of parts on site. They have a large manufacturing unit where Exhausts and body panels are made, among other things.
We spotted T3 Petrol and Diesel exhaust being made, front to rear coolant pipes, Front panels. All stuff we see every day but so much more interesting when you're seeing how its made.
And forget what you may have heard about the way this stuff is made. Theres is a lot of laser this, CNC that, and robotic others. There are also a lot of skilled workers there welding and fabricating. Some of the new lines of Porsche exhausts are beautiful!
From the manufacturing area, we moved onto the showroom.
This is the area where some of the JP Private Car collection is displayed, as well as samples of a lot of the parts they supply. We think there were maybe a few more of Stuttgarts finest crammed here than is usual, due to building work and the current expansion going on in other areas.
Obviously, we're Transporter guys, but that doesn't mean we can't ogle at some sleek curvy models from time to time!
Not just Porsche either. There is a Trekker, a few Beetles, a couple of Golfs including a Mk2 Cutaway that a VW dealer didn't have space for, a few Mercedes and and even the only existing prototype of the Logicar. Details of that HERE if you're into quirky cars. Its in German but Google will help you translate if you're not fluent. There is also some info on JP Groups facebook page HERE.
After we'd had our fill of exotica it was off to the Workshop.
This is an area where JP Group work on their own vehicles. As soon as we saw the 2 T3's parked outside we knew we were amongst friends here.
Inside on the ramp was a perfect Brown and Cream T3 undergoing assembly.
Again, seeing a T3 in pieces on a ramp is something we're not new to, but when you see it at the company who are supplying your parts it kind of makes you realise that this isn't just a company shifting boxes around, they have a definite interest in the stuff we drive, and also in keeping them on the road.
They're doing what many claim to do but few actually do... fitting the parts they sell themselves. We can relate to that.
After a mooch around the workshop, it was off to lunch and then the "work" bit of our trip... spreadsheets, powerpoint, pie charts and graphs. We won't bore you with the details of that bit.
Lastly an evening meal in a steakhouse in Viborg followed by an early night and a drive back to Copenhagen via Dollerup to check out some scenery before we hopped back on a plane.
All in all, a very interesting and rewarding few days.
Loads of photos below. You can click em to make em bigger and everything!
These are one of our most requested panels... and one that we're almost always out of stock of when you need them most!
So we've just taken delivery of a pallet (actually a stillage!) of Genuine NOS side panels to try and make sure they're in stock in the UK when needed.
We guess the popularity of restoring the LHD models is why these are so in demand, but as well as the Westfalias and Multivans they also fit RHD window models too!
And the best bit is that buying em like this spreads the shipping cost to get em here and makes em a bit cheaper for everybody :)
Its April, that means another Brickwerks Birthday (12yrs old now... soon be a teenager!).
It also means the annual stock take will take place this coming week.
So, after around 3pm on TUESDAY APRIL 4th no orders will be shipped until Friday 7th April.
The webshop will still operate and take orders all through stock take - its our hardest working employee :D however no stock will be moved in our out until we've done counting. Everything!
We won't be making any counter sales or picking any orders for collection after 3PM Tuesday either, so please bear that in mind if you're local.
There are 5 of us now so whilst we have a load more stock to count and a whole extra building to deal with we aim to have it completed by close of play on Thursday.
It's only once a year (thank god), and we'd rather not do it if we're honest, but it sets any stock discrepancies right (which is a good thing!) and gives us a year end stock value for the accounts and insurance, so it's necessary.
We also nearly always find cool stuff that we've forgotten about, so that's another bonus.
Random picture of the new Panel Store...
This is us calling "Last Orders" at the webshop...
Technically, its not "us" it's just a photo we found on the internet that suited our needs... just pointing that out before you all rush down to meet our new member of staff!!
Usually at this time of year we have a spotless workshop, and the stores is swept and tidy. We generally have all the deliveries booked in, we're watching the clock and shuffling delivery notes and flicking elastic bands at Angus.
Today, we've had almost as many orders to process as a busy day at the start of summer. Mike is complaining because he's had to change the label roll in the UPS printer and we've got 2 big deliveries from earlier this week to book in!
We're not complaining though! We like being busy... but it has to end somewhere.
So, we're a couple of hours away from our 1pm cut off for orders to leave today.
After that we'll be playing "catch up" with the deliveries and sorting things for our return in the New Year.
Oh... and just for the ladies...
Merry Christmas :)
This is something we've been asked for a lot, but we've avoided as the stuff available isn't exactly simple to install and involves dismantling the existing light units and modifying the units internals to run an LED tube.
These however are a simple replacement for the complete existing light unit as used in T3 and LT Westfalia models.
No parts of the original light unit are needed. You can wrap your original Westfalia parts up and keep them safe for refitting later or even sell 'em if you're not bothered about keeping your original parts.
Our LED replacements are externally identical to the originals. Nice clean lenses, new switches. No re-using anything from your old light. It doesn't get any simpler.
They give a crisp light... 4000k is the figure, but its described as "Natural White"
Being LED, current consumption is much lower than the old Fluorescent units too... an important consideration if you're a solar powered off-grid living spoon whittler.
We were going to make a small fitting video, but to be honest its so simple a couple of photos will do it. Read on...
Now at this point you have a couple of options. You can crimp new spade connectors onto the wiring for the existing light, and plug it back in. You'll see the connectors on the webshop as related items. This is the nicest, most factory way of doing it.
However... on the non sliding door side you will most likely find that the wiring connectors shown in the image aren't accessible due to the shape of the shelf there.
So the other option would be to snip the existing wires, and join the new wires to the old - Black to Brown, Red to Blue. Ideally solder them, but we'll leave that up to you.
Light units available here on the webshop, in stock and ready to ship.
Wiring connectors show as related items. You'll need 2 for each light unit if you are connecting using this method.
...shorter and probably a bit more interesting than that one the Queen will be doing in a few days time...
Just a quicky regarding Christmas and New Year shenanigans.
We'll be closed from Midday on Friday the 23rd December, and we will return to work on Tuesday the 3rd January 2017.
All orders placed up until around 1PM on Thursday the 22nd December will be shipped that day, and should be delivered either next day or in the period between Christmas and New Year.
Remember, we don't make the deliveries and as this time of year is extremely busy for the Post Office and UPS then if anything is urgent, don't leave it until the last minute!
All the services we offer for shipping are "Next Day" which whilst at this time of year that might not actually mean next day it does mean that it'll get to you as quickly as is humanly possible.
Any orders placed after the 22nd December will by picked, and packed on Tuesday the 3rd when we return to work.
Similarly, any emails won't be replied to until we return on the 3rd.
What else... oh yeah, Christmas stuff. We know at this time of year you're spending your brass on other stuff... and rightly so.
But, as its Christmas, you might like to drop some hints to family or friends about some interesting stuff we've added to our range lately.... stuff that you might actually like to receive instead of another bloomin' Split Screen Camper mug :D
In other news...
Webshop update is still ongoing.
A couple of recent changes are to the general tidiness of your Account area. You can check the status of your order here, or track it once its shipped.
You can also access the new returns section here, so when you've bought something you don't need you can get a returns number and that'll help us refund it quicker when it comes back.
We've struggled a bit this year with getting all the new stuff on the webshop. Traditionally this time of year has been our quiet period and thats given us chance to get all the new products we have in the wings lined up and live on the shop... hasn't happened this year though. We're working through them slowly as and when we get a few minutes though, so keep checking the new products on the home page for new stuff, and have a look on Facebook or the Blog for the more interesting stuff. Oh, we post stuff on Instagram too from time to time... apparently :D
Speaking of Facebook, we have a competition running here at the moment for people who have ordered from us in the last 12 months... so if you havn't seen it you might want to check it out.
If you've already ordered you have nothing to lose by getting your name down :) You might win one of the very limited VW Monopoly sets we recently sold out of in one day!
Thats it 'til next time... might be another month, or it might be another 11 years, we'll see how we go.
Whatever you do over the festive period, have a good one and we'll see you all again next year.
Simon, Michael, Angus, Mike, Debs, Uncle Pete and Stanley.
(I think thats all of us!)
We know photos of boxes are pretty dull and if we posted a photo of every delivery we recieved you'd soon get tired of seeing them... but this one is a special.
First delivery of the Eibach 23mm ARB's ready for kitting up and on the webshop as soon as we wade through the rest of todays orders and deliveries!
At this rate we'll have to put some Saturdays in!