020 GGP 0117

GGP Jan 2017

20 NEW YEAR MESSAGES David Firmager, MD, TruFrame Leon Day, MD, Universal Arches Julian Slade, CEO, Ultraframe David Thornton, chairman, The Window Company (Contracts) www.ggpmag.com January 2017 Ben Warren, MD The Window Outlet Homeowners want light, warmth and design choice when it comes to transforming their home and we’re seeing growth in conservatories thanks to innovations such as LivinRoom combined with high performance glass. 2017 will see us develop our UltraSky range creating a new generation of modern conservatory and orangery solutions. Solid roof replacements continue to provide additional growth as consumers become aware of how easy it is to upgrade a conservatory. We’re excited by the scale of this market as evidenced by 75% growth of LivinRoof in 2016 and the successful introduction of UltraRoof380. We’ve intentionally designed a range of systems that naturally fit together, beautiful in their individual design yet when combined, deliver something very special – this capability will be a powerful tool for our network partners to exploit in 2017. Exciting times ahead for us all. 2016 was a year of incredible success at TruFrame, as we broke the 4,100 frames per week barrier and in 2017 we will be implementing a record investment programme to support the continued growth of the business through plant and fleet. We have a very strong product portfolio that’s fully reinforced by our partners such as Endurance Doors, Liniar, Mila and Yale and we will look to build on this as we move forward. Similarly, we have a great workforce and strong senior management team, who are well placed to help us achieve our lofty goals in 2017 and the years ahead. We’ve generated considerable success with our fully mechanically jointed flush sash window, branded as Refine, during this year and we expect sales to grow strongly in 2017. One trend I fully expect to continue will be the increased adoption of online ordering and tracking via our Customer Portal. A similar trend is also expected to continue with customers utilising our in-house marketing services. I wish you all a very prosperous 2017. Because so much of our work is in the social housing sector, our year tends to run from April to April in line with public sector budgets. Looking ahead, we already know that we’ll be busy until April finishing this year’s projects but early The start of 2017 will see us introduce a number of new production operatives. With several record months in 2016 and a record calendar year behind us, it’s a time to invest for the future, as we do each year. The market for arched and shaped frames is strong, our experience and expertise is unrivalled and we remain the only company in the sector operating to ISO 9001:2008. While the market for standardised PVC-U frames has gone through first and second time replacements, we believe we are further behind on the life cycle chart. There are considerable sales opportunities for the odd shaped frames with little margin pressure and I expect the market to continue to expand as we look further at first time replacements. Based on our production statistics, there was no real hangover from the Brexit debacle, but given the issues in the exchange rate in dollars, price rises were inevitable. These political and economic issues are real, yet without any direct influence we must remain confident in the industry for the year ahead. indications from clients lead us to believe that we’ll be even busier afterwards because budgets look set to be higher for the year 2017/18. The only real bone of contention as I see it lies in the continuing pressure on costs as a result of price rises from suppliers. Whilst I understand that these are largely down to the fall in the value of the pound, I think installers at the sharp end of the market will start to push back if they are expected just to keep on absorbing extra costs. Whether you’re in the retail or the commercial sector, as we are, buyers remain extremely price sensitive and the idea that you can simply pass on price rises is seriously misjudged. We’ve just celebrated our second birthday at The Window Outlet – and managed to top £2m turnover. Obviously, that’s come down to a lot of hard work and determination – but I think it’s also the result of having the confidence to take a different approach to aluminium fabrication. Aluminium firms have a reputation for being slow and inflexible. When we started The Window Outlet, Ben and I wanted to completely turn that on its head – putting the systems and procedures in place to deliver the level of quick, efficient service that installers have come to expect from PVC-U fabricators. That’s proved to be an extremely valuable USP – and one of the key factors underpinning our success. No-one really knows what will happen in the next few years. One thing I’m sure of, though, is that if glazing businesses want to thrive between now, 2020, and beyond, they’ll need to show the same kind of commitment and customer service that’s made The Window Outlet so successful.


GGP Jan 2017
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