In 1961, Tony Grutman, a young Gramme Institute-graduated engineer in charge of purchasing at Ascenseurs Jaspar, started manufacturing weld-on hinges in his basement in Angleur after he made a bet with one of his suppliers who stopped selling to him because the hinge prices were too high. At the time, the supplier argued saying that if he did end up making hinges, he would buy a hundred thousand from him a year.
On 3 July 1961, Mr Grutman and Omer Spiessen, a close friend whom he met while studying at the Gramme Institute, started a company by the name of “Pomel”, whose sole customer was the supplier who had dared him.
The two engineers didn’t waste any time in conquering the Dutch, German and Scandinavian markets and before long the basement in Angleur had become far too small. In 1964, they set up a one hundred and forty square metre warehouse in Kinkempois, with the first orders coming in in 1965 and 1966.
This is when Mr Spiessen withdrew from the business and Mr Grutman stopped all other activities.
In 1967, a new production facility was inaugurated. In addition to weld-on hinges, the company started manufacturing doors and windows made from aluminium by the brand Schuco. In association with Les Etablissements Poncin (wood frames) and Mineral Product, Pomel took part in the construction of the palace for the King of Saudi Arabia. The company then employed 58 people.
The ongoing success enabled Mr Grutman to further expand the business. 95% of the production of hinges was exported, mostly to the other countries of the Single Market and to Africa.
In the 1980s, Pomel started manufacturing bullet-proof kiosks and canopies for service stations. The company hired about a hundred people for these operations at the “Mourg” building in Bressoux.
After Mr Grutman passed away on 19 December 1998, the business was passed on to his two daughters and son-in-law. The weld-on hinges activity was separated from the rest of the production.
Between 2001 and 2013, the company was bought by various groups, including by the Bodart & Gonay group in 2004. It then became “Paumelles Liégeoises”. Over the years, the company continued to grow and diversify. Exports to countries such as Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and France represented more than 85% of the production output.
In May 2013, Nathalie Morelle and Fred Limbort acquired Paumelles Liégeoises and expanded their team. The company devoted itself entirely to the manufacturing and distribution of hinges. The aim was to provide customers with a high-quality product, with very short turnaround times, whilst offering tailored customer service centred focused on customer satisfaction. To deliver this service, Mrs Morelle decided to set up a collaborative management system. In doing so, employees were given “ownership” of business projects, which allowed the company to boost its performance.
In order to increase the space available for its manufacturing processes, Paumelles Liégeoises decided to invest in new facilities. In doing so, the company moved into 18 rue des Technologies in Alleur on 9 January 2017.
In addition to bigger premises, the new location gave the company the space to set up a showroom displaying various promotional materials, including a shop for customers to come and pick up the items they need.
Following the move, Paumelles Liégoises recently purchased new machines, including a HAAS four-axis milling machine, which will allow it to develop its range of products, and its bespoke hinges in particular. The company now focuses on developing its activities and launching new innovative products on the market.
Charter of Values
Paumelles Liégeoises has been a family-run SME for over 60 years. Drawing on the strength of many years of experience, the company puts its know-how and a comprehensive range of standard and bespoke products at the service of its customers. Widely known and recognised across the globe for its reliability as a manufacturer, Paumelles Liégeoises exports 85% of its weld-on hinges to some thirty countries. Its ambition is to stand out by offering innovative products, as well as a professional and personalised service. A goal which all company staff contribute to.
The aim of the Paumelles Liégeoises’ Charter of Values is to define the core values which the company is committed to. As such, this Charter is a point of reference for its staff, in that it defines the remit of each role. The Charter is to enable them to carry out their job whilst being aware of their rights and obligations in respect of the business and all stakeholders, and in doing so to contribute to the company’s success and longevity. This Charter is regularly updated to stay true to any changes within the business and in the international environment in which it operates.
Customer satisfaction requires all of Paumelles Liégoises’ resources and skills to be harnessed. Its aim is to offer customers ever more efficient products, ever more tailored services and ever more competent advice. To do so, the Company is constantly alive to their views and comments, and is committed to fully honouring its commitments to its customers.
SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
Paumelles Liégeoises is fully aware of its responsibilities vis-à-vis its customers. This is why the Company has consistently worked to provide a quality product built by Belgian craftsmanship and made from European raw materials.
All of Paumelles Liégoises’ staff are dedicated to helping the customer. They demonstrate professional awareness, expertise and rigour in their duties. To maintain the level of know-how in all areas demanded by their role, and to ensure that customers are provided with high quality products, services and advice, the Company sets up training programmes for its employees on a regular basis.
The Company guarantees fast delivery within the deadlines established. To do so, Paumelles Liégoises has set up internal procedures that optimise how information is circulated and ensure a higher level of response to deal with necessary changes.
Paumelles Liégeoises wants to know and understand its customers’ needs to meet their expectations. Communication is at the heart of the relationship with the customer, whether face to face, by phone or by e-mail.
To meet and anticipate their customers’ needs, Paumelles Liégeoises is alive to their individual requirements, as well as those of the market. The business reinvents itself on a day to day basis to offer customers ever quicker and more efficient service.
SPIRIT OF PARTNERSHIP
Paumelles Liégeoises is keen to maintain loyal and productive relations with all its partners. With this aim in mind, the Company has built customer relations based on trust, mutual respect, dialogue and the other party’s interests.
Paumelles Liégeoise pursues a culture of commitment and identification. The Company endeavours to promote communication, with its customers and its collaborators, in the firm belief that listening to the other party helps to make them feel recognised and part of a joint project.
The company’s employees comply with Paumelles Liégoises’ Corporate Charter. They have integrity and respect the rules. Each person is autonomous and accountable: there are no hierarchical barriers to the in-house circulation of information necessary for the proper functioning of the business, nor are there any barriers for staff to directly alert Management if a malfunction occurs.
The Company is eager to drive down its environmental footprint by limiting its waste output and making the sorting and recycling of waste into a priority. The Company makes every effort to use more eco-friendly products, which contribute to reducing the pollution caused by its manufacturing processes. The Company also works to reduce its energy consumption by through proper insulation, using energy-saving lightbulbs and solar panels, as just some of the measures put in place.