088 GGP 0217

GGP February 2017

FABRICAT O R V I E W Dismal weather, but top Trumps! Danny Williams, regular GGP columnist and MD of fabricator, Pioneer Trading, gives us his thoughts on ‘The Donald’, The FIT Show and his predictions for the year ahead. The year began with – well, a whimper really – the usual soggy, grey and overcast outlook. And that describes the weather, too! Christmas and New Year marked the end of a pretty good year really, especially when you consider the seismic world events “the world has never seen anything like him and no one can predict him” that threatened to push us off the rails. I have great hopes for 2017 but again, these are laced with caution: my belief is that Brexit will not give us any serious shocks. Even those who dismissed the vote to leave as being the work of imbeciles who should have the right to vote rescinded, should wake up and smell the coffee. Cut the whinging and get on with it – your spoilt brat wittering is now the greatest threat to a smooth transition out of the EU. Exit Brexit: I fear The Donald Having weathered the Brexit furore reasonably well so far, the UK is in a good place and consumer confidence, the primary bubble upon which the wellbeing of our industry rests, continues to be sound. What may rock that however, is The Donald. Rather than incur the wrath that even implied support for the man might bring down upon my head, I will invoke the old adage that when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. Irrespective of whether I agree or not with anything this, how shall we put it, ‘unconventional’ man, says, the potential exists in volumes for fallout that will resemble the shock waves of an atomic explosion – though metaphorically only I hope. We have no idea of the potential of Mr Trump, but either way, the world has never seen anything like him and no one can predict him. It is extraordinary to watch it all unfold but he can no longer be dismissed, which is why I believe he is the likeliest cause of disruption to our happy, home improving lives. He is already proving that he will, indeed, get what he wants. BOOM! I note from the press that Emmegi has enjoyed a ‘240%’ increase in sales over the previous year for its aluminium production machinery. Now, whilst that might mean flogging two and a half machines over 2015’s one, actually that is great news and they must be congratulated for tapping in to a thriving aluminum sector. Noting that it will be occupying its biggest ever UK exhibition stand at The FIT Show in May, I understand that more than 30% of FIT Show exhibitors are showing aluminium products of one sort or another, which is a huge increase over previous shows. Ally is on the up! Offering support for Mrs Jones From rumblings around the industry I predict that 2017 will be the Year of Holding Hands; the hands of fabricators, of installers and even more of Mr and Mrs Jones as we continue to wake up to the fact that great service matters! I predict that The FIT Show will be awash with various schemes and this is a welcome sign that our industry continues to mature, to shed the shackles of its negative image and to focus increasingly on customer wellbeing. We are selling products that, whichever way you look at them, are predominantly white frames with a bit of glass to fill the hole. And we are therefore constantly looking for something to differentiate those products. All too often it comes down to price, something that my reader knows drives me up the wall and why I even went to the trouble and expense of designing my own unique system to overcome direct price comparisons. The addition of practical, tangible schemes, devices, incentives and rewards that work towards making our customers and more importantly, their customers, feel good about having bought their windows and doors, can only be positive. However, these schemes should not be at the expense of what I call true customer care: consistently high quality products, sold at competitive and stable prices, delivered in full and on time. Make sure you can do this before you spend fortunes on spiffy graphics and logos and smart words. And finally… I believe that I may be the first and only person ever to have entered the search string ‘Donald Trump windows and doors’ into a browser. In doing so I found references to a mystery door in the Oval Office and to ‘The Beast’, the Presidential limo that will, I fear, play its part more than ever in protecting the US Commander in Chief. And then I came across a story published in US trade mag, Door & Window Market magazine, (http://www.dwmmag.com) that reported in September 2010, that Donald Trump placed ‘a large window order’ with a Chinese window producer for one of his projects. The now President, then merely a humble billionaire property developer and hotel magnate, was questioned during a CNBC interview, about why he took his business to China. To which he replied: “I ordered windows, thousands of windows the other day; they’re made in China,” he told CNBC. “I don’t want to buy them, but it’s hard to get them anywhere else.” DWM interviewed US window manufacturers who insisted that, despite Mr Trump’s assertions that he couldn’t find a suitable manufacturer, he could not have looked very far, if at all, within the US. As one window company executive said at the time: “There are a lot of hard working people in the aluminum window/curtainwall industry in the United States who need work and we have a lot of capacity, which makes us competitive.” A situation that will hardly have changed. With his latest diktats, can US window and door makers feel more confident for the future? Only time will tell…. 88 www.ggpmag.com February 2017


GGP February 2017
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