054 GGP 1213

GGP December 2013

Systems & Profiles Poacher turned gamekeeper Faced with too much competition, trade fabricator, Danny Williams, decided to make his own window system. GGP asks if the investment has paid off. Around four years ago, the boss of Chelmsford based Pioneer Trading, Danny Williams, was faced with his sales team returning to the factory with much the same story: the company’s main stamping ground of the East and South East of England seemed to be peppered with almost identical products, differentiated only by price. Pioneer, amongst many others, was seeing its slender margins slashed further as it struggled to compete in a crowded and often desperate market. “We could compete on things like service, reliability and product quality but ultimately, when the product is pretty much identical, there is only so much you can do,” reflected Danny. “This industry, one that I am totally immersed in and which has been good to me, is pretty poor at selling and marketing itself. That is certainly true of many smaller installers, who to a man will fall over to knock money off even when the market is buoyant; given the recession the country was plunging into at the time, many of them were virtually giving it away!” The obvious solution to Danny was to stop competing, not by moving out of windows, but to produce a product that could not be directly compared with anything else. Danny’s simple (in principle at least) solution was to create his own window, one that ticked all the boxes in terms of aesthetics, performance and installation benefits and one that, literally, could not be compared with any other product on the market. Designed from scratch just three years ago, it would, of course, become one of the newest designs on the market and, in Danny’s view, is a product designed by a window man who has spent years on the frontline – himself. As such, it would encompass detailing that other window designers may miss. Danny has been a loyal fabricator of Synseal products for more than 20 years and he turned to them for support with the project, which was positive and abundant from the outset: “Rather than opposing me, which some systems companies might, Synseal welcomed the project and gave me a huge amount of support,” explained Danny. Thus the Signature window was born. With 54 December 2013 profiles produced by Synseal on behalf of Pioneer, the Signature window sash incorporates a cell structure that allows the production of a ‘C’ rated frame with a standard IGU, and an ‘A’ rating with the simple addition of a warm edge spacer – no argon required. Use of a fully specified IGU promotes performance of the Signature sash to an A+ 30 rating and creating, Pioneer claims, the most energy efficient frame in the UK, beating the best available in mainland Europe. Despite being able to take a triple glazed unit, the Signature window offers a slimmer section that provides a significantly greater glass area, which is important when replacing smaller windows and frames such as bays. Weight and cost is reduced as steel reinforcement is minimised and the ‘super stiff’ profile has extra screw porting for better location of hardware which is designed to improve security. The rigidity allows a wider span for the sash, from the assumed maximum for PVC-U of 600mm, to 700mm. Fitting is also easier with the bead ‘especially slippery’ to ensure it drops into place securely with minimal effort and fuss. “When I designed this sash it was with the future firmly in mind,” said Danny. “It has been clear for sometime that the present window energy ratings maximum can be relatively easily exceeded and future advances in performance would require triple glazing. We took that into consideration and we have a window that can accept triple glazed units without modification, in addition to relatively low specification glazing units that will still achieve an ‘A’ rating. Our claim will stand the test: this is the most advanced frame you can buy today.” Price slashing circus Danny also believes that, ultimately, the Signature window sells on its looks: “Our most successful installers use a physical sample and their enthusiasm for the product infects the customers they are demonstrating it to.” So has the investment paid off? “I wanted to get away from the price slashing circus that we and our customers faced and we have achieved that with the Signature window,” said Danny. “When one of our customers is faced with ‘AB Windows are 20% cheaper’ they can reply with confidence that they are not, because they don’t have this window. We have appointed dealers to sell this window because that is how we get sales – by selling it. And they have been very successful. Our sales, led by the Signature window, have increased by 20% each of the last two years and our dealers have also enjoyed that success, some showing even greater increases. That is because they are selling a product they can justifiably say is ‘the best window of its type available’ and that is a very powerful statement to make.” “Synseal welcomed the project and gave me a huge amount of support” Danny Williams believes that his Signature window really is the best of its type available


GGP December 2013
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