064 GGP 0217

GGP February 2017

64 E N E R G Y E F F I C I E N C Y In safe hands A year on from joining Edgetech UK as managing director, Chris Alderson talks to GGP about his time at the company, his thoughts on the industry as we head to hard Brexit and GGP: It’s been just over a year since you took up your role at Edgetech. Can you summarise those first 12 months? CA: On the whole it’s been exactly what I expected. I already knew many of our customers and staff at Edgetech and also at our parent company, Quanex, from my many years working in IG sealants, so it gave me a head start. As far as changes are concerned, my primary mission was to focus the company on thinking safely and to make it a part of the company ethos. Very quickly after I joined we launched a new safety initiative called TruSafety which gave employees throughout the business a forum to raise observations on site safety and submit improvement suggestions. The scheme has been very successful with a lot of engagement from employees, particularly those on the factory floor where it’s most needed. I have also spent the first year raising the profiles of our experts within the market. I believe strongly in teamwork and rely on the expertise of those around me and I wanted our customers to have visibility and access to these people too. We have a fantastic team at Edgetech, talented people with excellent technical and commercial expertise that help to support our customers and their businesses. All of this is backed up by the superb customer service team, making us a supplier that companies can trust. When visiting customers and reintroducing myself within my new role, I’ve found that a concern that has come up time and again is capacity. So we’ve been looking at ways to help them increase productivity to squeeze out more IGUs every shift. The machines that I saw at Glasstec and GlassBuild America last year are astounding. So fast, that they can manufacture an IGU in 15-20 seconds. GGP: What are your thoughts for the door, window and conservatory industry as we head to ‘hard’ Brexit? CA: I think the biggest challenge going forward for the industry is going to be the skills shortage in both manufacturing and construction. However, I believe that both would have been an issue regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum or the US presidential election. Looking at the positives, in an uncertain market, consumers tend to avoid committing to big decisions like moving house and instead look to invest in improving the property they have which is a good thing for our industry. The increase in the popularity of bi-folds, wide span sliding doors and other high value products is fuelling sales growth for many installation companies. The knock-on effect for the entire supply chain is an opportunity to regain some added value in the market lost during the recent recession. We’re well placed as we manufacture locally in the UK, but with the back-up of our sister manufacturing locations in Germany and the US, we are able to offer unbroken supply, support and value for our customers despite what may be happening in the political landscape. GGP: Could you describe some of the main advantages from being part of Quanex? CA: Being part of Quanex gives us access to some of the best talent in the fenestration industry both here, in Europe and in the US. It also gives the team at Edgetech UK a support network of people within their specialities, so they can work together. As a Quanex company, we benefit from its uncompromising stance on safety, which as I mentioned earlier is a key focus of mine also. It’s a very forward-thinking organisation and its investment in R&D is second-to-none. GGP: Could you talk a bit more about the R&D facilities at Quanex? CA: It’s exciting times for R&D at Quanex. They are consolidating their multiple IG R&D facilities in Ohio to one location in Akron. Akron has a world class university that specialises in rubber, plastic and latex, so the move will give the R&D team access to some of the best talent in the industry. And for us it means that we can tap into their world class expertise. Edgetech is built on innovation – warm edge technology, primarily lead by Super Spacer, completely changed the industry – so it’s important to us. We’re continually developing our products and systems and working towards our next generation of technology. R&D at Quanex is not just one way however. Because the standards for glazing are higher in the UK and Europe than in the US, we bring our knowledge and expertise to the table to raise standards globally. We are also actively looking to reinforce our technical capabilities locally so we can focus on the specific requirements of our UK customers. GGP: You’re not going to The FIT Show this year. Why did you make that decision? CA: We’re not having a stand at FIT Show but we are still playing a central role in the Master Fitter Challenge. In partnership with Glazpart, TruFit is one of the main sponsors of the competition. Our expanding foam edge tape, TruFit, is featuring in this year’s live competition at the exhibition. Visitors can still see Super Spacer in action too, as we have a number of customers exhibiting. There’s a particularly exciting reason we’re not taking a main stand at FIT Show this year. 2017 is Edgetech’s 10th anniversary of manufacturing Super Spacer in the UK, so we’re concentrating on those celebrations. GGP: Can you tell us a bit more about what to expect from the 10-year celebrations? CA: Oh, I’m not allowed to give too much away! But our marketing team, Charlotte and Krishma, are already busy making plans for an extra special event to celebrate 10 years of UK Super Spacer manufacture. Many people on the guest list were at the opening event in 2007 – including me! It launched our 360 marketing support package and looked at improving IGU manufacture with automation. But the business, and industry, have moved on so much since then. We are continuing to invest in the UK and I look forward to welcoming guests later in the year at our anniversary celebration to share our expansion plans. the advantages of being part of Quanex. www.ggpmag.com February 2017 Chris Alderson


GGP February 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above