One of our longest standing suppliers Johnson Tiles recently invited us to take a look around their factory operation. As a new member of the team I couldn’t wait to see the manufacturing process for a product that surrounds me every single day! Johnson’s are the UK’s leading wall and floor tile manufacturer who have progressed no end since we first starting buying their tiles. Back in 1974 they had a staggering 5000 members of staff working to produce 2 million square metres of tiles a year. They even had rows of girls in quality control checking each and every tile; clearly women have the better eye for detail. In 2000 Johnson’s invested a phenomenal £35 million into manufacturing, bringing their process into the 21st century. They now employ just 400 people but manage to produce three times as many tiles as before. Our tour guides for the day were Chris Sanders and Alan Currie from the process team. They told us exactly how tiles are made and gave us a grand factory tour. Entering the factory you’re surrounded by machines, like something out of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory just without the sweet smell. I’m not sure what I was expecting initially but I must confess I was surprised to find how machine generated the whole process is, from the raw materials beginning the cycle to the finished packed product, not one human hand touches the tiles. The machinery is a clever yet strict thing, if any of the tiles made don’t meet Johnson’s stringent quality control procedures then they are cast aside, however not one tile goes to waste. Johnson’s recycle all unused tiles to make new ones helping them to secure a top position in the ‘Sunday Times Best Green Companies Awards’. Something else that shocked me was the sheer size of the place, to complete a full factory tour it’d take an hour! The warehouse was the biggest I’d ever seen storing a whopping 1.3 million square metres of tiles at full capacity, quite a bit more than our Sheffield branch which holds around 10,000 square metres. As the tour reached its end I’d not only learnt a lot but developed some rather dirty footwear, must have been something to do with all that clay I jumped in… I feel incredibly lucky to have visited Johnsons when we did as things had been particularly busy at HQ recently. The team have been helping out with a huge and well known project, The Tower of London Remembrance Poppies! Team Johnsons produced half of the beautiful poppies on display in London, which have now been sold to the general public. Net proceeds have been donated to six service charities with the total thought to be in excess of £15 million. Well done Johnsons! Feel inspired to buy British made tiles? Discover our favourite Johnsons tile here.