FABRICATOR V I EW
The great glass conspiracy
GGP’s regular columnist, Danny Williams of Pioneer Trading, discusses the current oat
glass shortage, Brexit tourettes and the increase in ‘white van men’ tting windows.
www.ggpmag.com August 2018
Conspiracy theories abound
about an apparent shortage
of float glass, something
that I genuinely have not
experienced. Speculation is rife
about shortages being created
deliberately to drive prices up and,
whilst there is much conjecture in
the press, none of those quoted will
put their names to their claims,
for fear of reprisals from the big
suppliers. The worry is, they say,
that already short deliveries will be
disrupted even further should they
Nothing has affected our meager
operation although perhaps we
are simply too small to be on the
radar. And although the conspiracy
theorists might be dribbling at the
notion of shortages being artificially
created in order to hike up prices,
this is counter intuitive – simply
because deliberately failing to meet
clients’ expectations will lead to
market reductions and loss of share
in the longer run.
But is this really what the big
processors feel? That any fuss they
make will be greeted by Putinesque
measures to shut down or cripple
their businesses? What sort of
industry are we in? Never mind
worrying about being quoted in
the press: if the core nature of your
relationship with a key supplier is
based upon fear, it’s the police you
should be speaking to.
When the nation voted to leave
the European Union there was an
immense outcry from those that felt
we would be better off remaining.
Of course, that is understandable.
Leaving this organisation would, one
way or another, impact us for the rest
of our lives and indeed, those of our
children. But I recall feeling quite
shocked at the response of many
otherwise rational and objective
people, some of whose language
verged on the neurotic.
And still that continues. The fact
is, the vote from the British people
was to leave the EU. And all the
teeth gnashing and wailing does
not change the fact that, within the
system that we have adopted in this
country, that was the outcome.
At least one survey has shown
that if the vote was taken again, the
result would marginally go the other
way. I have no doubt that would
be the case. But, quite simply, that
would corrupt the core thread of our
society: the principle of democracy.
Despite this we continue to face
the daily onslaught of politicians
who believe it would be acceptable
to have another vote, in the way that
kids in a playground might say ‘best
of…’ until the outcome rolled their
way. But of those remainer Members
of Parliament that understand the
futility of such a call, I am convinced
that many are doing their best to
undermine any plans for a smooth
transition. And that is something I
believe is tantamount to treason.
Those that know me understand
how easy it is to trigger my welldiagnosed
Brexit Tourettes. But
many others and I are incensed
at the inability of Theresa May
and her band at their ineptitude
in negotiating the details of our
country’s emergence from the club.
It is costing me – and all of you out
there – money, right now!
The key currency of our industry
is confidence; not the amount
of money that people have at
their disposal, but the sense of
wellbeing – or otherwise – that
gives them the assurance to part
with their cash, to treat themselves
to relatively high ticket items, such
as home improvements. And with
the constant wavering and, let’s
face it, crisis of confidence with the
Houses of Parliament generally, I am
amazed at how resilient the market
is, though how much better it could
be will never be known.
The truth is Theresa May is on the
ropes, a spent force. She’s a remainer
at heart and I doubt she ever had
the intention and will to really drive
negotiations to reflect the will of the
people. Brexit is more likely to wreck
political careers than business and
Treez, inevitably, will bite the dust
the hardest. She will not survive the
autumn and, actually, I wonder if
she may well be out by the time this
Having said which…
Business at Pioneer Towers is better
than it has been for some time.
We have seen an increase in sales
this last quarter on both trade and
commercial and for the Group it will
be a much better financial year.
In fact, we have had to increase
our workforce and, ironically, rather
than making a hasty retreat to Dover
I have just taken on two Bulgarians
and seven Hungarian workers; if
workers are fleeing, it isn’t from me.
I have been selling, making and
fitting windows now for 30 years.
And the price we get for a houseful
of windows is, in real terms, cheaper
than 25 years ago.
The number of fabricators has
dropped significantly in the past ten
years, which has allowed those of
us that remain to continue. Installer
numbers remain high, but the
growth in trade counters signals a
substantial change in the structure
of our industry; more people
responsible for fewer installations
between them and white van man
leading the charge.
I wonder if this will give rise to
a drop in standards as the market
becomes harder to influence in
terms of quality and standards.
Manufacturers are scrabbling for
effective ways of communicating
with these small traders to sell
their products; why should it be
any different for the likes of Fensa,
Certass and others? I believe this
could be a serious issue.
“ if the core nature of your relationship with
a key supplier is based upon fear, it’s the
police you should be speaking to”