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GGP December 2014

Fabricator View 40 December 2014 Boom? What boom... Ihave been watching with some bemusement the various prats with stats wittering on about the improvement in the economy, how we are leading the rest of Europe out of the financial mire and of course, how our saviours, Messrs Cameron and Osborne, are now walking on water having led us through the financial turmoil the other side left us in. The truth is, that whilst we are again ahead of the game (I reported the first signs of things looking up almost two years ago) with good and steady trade frame sales, it’s builders, housebuilders, public sector and commercial work that is making the difference – retailer work still appears to be flat. For this, apart from tracking sales to retailers, I use the measure that if retail was good and stretching out of the mire we would not have the examples of price slashing, one of my favourite topics of course, still being an issue; if you’ve more work than you can deal with, why would you take on anything that might cost you money? Recently, a well established retail installer in the South East took on work that our retail arm eventually dropped like a hot potato. I was involved closely with this one because, as all great leaders must do from time to time, I got down with the chaps and went out surveying for a couple of days. One job that I went round to look at turned out to be significantly underpriced after my sales chappy left out the key detail that an old extension had to come out before we GGP columnist, Danny Williams, on why retailer work is letting the side down and how he struggles with those who are only prepared to do the minimum to get by. could actually fit the required Edwardian conservatory. The original quote was as near to reality as Dr Who and when I questioned said salesman on how he arrived at said quote, he told me that they had received a written quote from another company. I did my sums, quickly invoked the ‘subject to survey’ clause and walked away from it, feeling slightly guilty that I was leaving the homeowner in the lions den because there was no way anyone could do that job without making some serious corner cutting. By my reckoning, doing the job correctly, with all paperwork and specification undertaken to the letter, a loss of more than £7k was inevitable. An inside track at the company that took the job admitted that they took it with the understanding that they would have to claw back some costs to come out on top. This is of course just one example; I know of many others. And if retail here in the South East has not reached the levels when all but the profitable work is ditched, then what is it like in other parts of the country? Answers on a postcard please. The only way is ethics I refer specifically to work ethics, not a lispy utterance from those oiks on that ‘orrible waste of TV that gives us decent Essex folk a bad reputation. I have been pondering recently on just why some people have a clear desire and drive to work hard, give a good day’s effort for a good day’s pay and others simply seem to think the world owes them a living. We pay a good rate for our window installs and even more for resi doors and bifolds. We have to. But even so we struggle to get fitters and, when we’ve got them, to get them to work at it. It baffles me that people who are paid well and directly in accordance with the effort they put in, choose to sit on their backsides to earn the minimum they need to get by. If they work hard, these people can make bloody good money! I don’t want to be contaminated by these peons, people whose attitude to work reflects their attitude to life. I won’t tolerate such attitudes in the factory, not simply because it makes me grumpy; I despise the way these people, if given the chance, will infect those whose commitment to work and life generally, is positive. I find it uplifting to be around people with a good attitude to life. Fortunately, the latter far outnumber those that work harder to get out of work than they do to complete it. For the first time ever, or at least since I have been scribbling this column, I am welcoming Christmas! Shock horror! My regular reader will know that earlier this year I became a grandfather to a beautiful baby girl, Alice, and I have been thinking of what I can give her for Christmas. Imaginative as ever, I shall be using some of our skills and facilities to enhance Alice and her parents’ lives. So far the list includes the Signature Dolls House, a Global Tree House and Synergy Playpen. And next year they can look forward to a nice portal over her paddling pool. See? It is possible to mix business with pleasure. Have a great Christmas! “The original quote was as near to reality as Dr Who”


GGP December 2014
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