NEW YEAR MESSAGES
We are in the process
of adding a further
space to our existing 120,000ft2 facility.
Our investment includes a new glass toughening plant together
with other production equipment and the associated auxiliaries
that always accompany a major expansion.
It is the third such development in four years. Business has
been consistently good, and actually quite extraordinary at times.
In the past two years continuing through the past two years, we
have averaged 25% growth a year.
Our composite door range has been expanded, in terms of
new models but also in the choice of options, including colour
and styles. To our award winning Lumi window and door
system, we have added a double glazed system that may be used
as a replacement product to compete against ‘conventional’
replacement windows in the home improvement sector.
“Good for you”, I hope you say. So what?
The ‘what’ is that we are based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
Which is never an issue on a day-to-day basis. But our base –
and also our home – is at the heart of the key issue (at least this
time) that is preventing broad acceptance of the Brexit agreement
“My message therefore is that we
continue to look forward and with a
proposed by Mrs May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Note the emphasis of
‘Northern Ireland’ in that. I would suggest, therefore, that
being on the frontline, in more ways than one, has significant
additional potential ‘issues’.
However, our attitude continues to be ‘so what?’ Our latest
expansion was decided upon significantly past the Brexit vote
and, whilst it is turning out to be something more of a muddle
than I would have thought possible, nothing changes; there
may be some hiccups and diversions, not least I suspect in the
exchange rate, but business will recover and we will need that
extra capacity at some point in the not-too-distant future. In fact
we still need it right now…
My message, therefore, is that we continue to look forward and
with a positive attitude – and we encourage our contemporaries
in the UK window and door industry to do the same. Our idea
of poor preparation is to not be in a position to take advantage
of growth; and as for the exchange rate, the vast majority of our
components and materials are in fact UK sourced, with our door
slabs all produced in-house.
‘So what’ indeed; at Apeer our post-Brexit plan is for growth.
Happy New Year to everyone!
We live in a competitive
world and the British
window and door market
is as competitive as any. But
it seems that our competitive spirit often
gets in the way of rational business behaviour, even for the most
respected business people.
There is much written in the press about needless discounts,
with margin often sacrificed at the altar of winning an order. But
it is not just slashing prices that become an irrational weapon
in the quest to win orders. Increasingly, service commitments
and especially lead times, are used to beat off the competition.
But rather than being a sharpening of the competitive edge,
unrealistic lead times become a blunt instrument that leaves
production and despatch departments reeling – and product
Most operations can handle ‘specials’ when needed; but if not
managed this can be used as a clincher for one or two ‘special’
orders and then increasingly as an extra edge to capture any
difficult order. And soon there is a knock-on effect with normal
lead times slipping back and standard orders negatively affected.
As we are all chasing fewer orders and competition has
become tougher then so too the offer of unrealistic discounts
and lead times has increased, to the point at which buyers have
come to expect these as normal.
Tell me that you don’t expect your food to land on your table
faster these days, even in upmarket high quality restaurants,
influenced by the immediacy of so called ‘Fast Food’.
But then we rationally accept that to produce food of the
quality that expect at that upmarket restaurant, must take longer
Every business must continually search for and develop
efficiencies within their organisation that focus on
improvements in service, manufacture and logistics. But high
quality products demand greater attention to detail during
manufacture, using materials and manufacturing techniques
that are more complex to process.
As with all the best things in life, expectations must be
managed – at every level – to ensure that unrealistic lead
times do not impinge upon the quality of the product. Which
means that when that product is delivered and installed, the
perceptions of quality that drove customers to make the buying
decision in the first place, will not disappoint.
www.ggpmag.com January 2019
“it seems that our competitive spirit
often gets in the way of rational
business behaviour, even for the
most respected business people”