NEW YEAR MESSAGES
I propose that we borrow
an initiative from one
of this industry’s true
entrepreneurs by signing up
to ‘Valuanuary’, and let’s see who can go a
whole month without giving discounts!!
If you hadn’t already gathered, I continue to be frustrated
with low or even negative margins that a lot of businesses in this
industry sell at.
Factories have to be filled, but sometimes that objective
dominates, with the result that margins across the board are
reduced and even lost completely.
Our industry is selling itself at probably 5-8% lower on final
selling price to homeowners than it should and this reverberates
all the way back through the retailer, fabricators through to
systems houses and even the IGU manufacturer.
How do we overcome this when we fear that if one of us stands
proud with his price then we will simply get no work? But what is
the point of taking on that work and losing money on it?
I believe that volume has a way of balancing itself out. If you
nominally increase prices then you may lose some work short
term (or may not) but you’ll find that the clients that stay are the
ones you can build from.
“Our industry is selling itself at
probably 5-8% lower on nal selling
price to homeowners than it should
and this reverberates all the way
back through the retailer, fabricators
through to systems houses and even
If you’re having to heavily discount then your operation is too
big: bite the bullet, reduce it and trade comfortably with valued
partners – and at a reasonable profit!
This isn’t said from a particular position of strength or
arrogance from Quickslide.
I like to think our brand has been built on fairness, we’re
totally open-book with our suppliers and customers and trade
with a 5-7% net margin which I think balances the books well.
This strategy means we have cast-iron trade partners who we can
give value to. And interestingly we have a bad debt of less than
Going into the new year is the best time to test this theory; how
often in our quietest times do these stupid deals emerge? Accept
that it’s quiet, encourage staff to have holidays and people that
were hoping to get a daft deal but were denied, will come back at
a decent margin if we stick together. Let’s man up and get a fair
price for our products!
The reason so many glass
processors are going out
of business is because prices
are too low to be sustainable.
And before you come back and say that is just
another supplier wanting more money, I make the comment
more as an observer. Because my comment refers to the
insulated glass unit market, that TuffX consciously withdrew
from 10 years ago.
These days we focus on added value, high quality roof units
and other specialised glass products, because the market is more
The standard IGU model is built upon high volumes and low
prices – pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap as the expression goes.
And since we decided a decade ago that we should withdraw
from that sector, prices have continued to tumble. And now
things are getting worse, with increasing numbers of IGU
makers going to the wall.
In fact, if you haven’t already had to find a new supplier
because your regular firm has gone bust, then unless you agree
to pay a little more for your units, then you too could be looking
for a new company too.
So why do I care? I care because I have spent a lifetime in
the glass industry; it’s my family’s business. And the constant
mission to reduce prices by some buyers can create a highly toxic
And I care because the balance of the industry is changing
which itself will bring new pressures, not least in the supply
chain. Whatever the causes there are glass shortages affecting
the UK market and, although TuffX supplies are unaffected
and assured in the long term, a number of IGU makers are
To expect them to discount beyond realistic price levels
against this backdrop is madness.
The difference between what constitutes a fair price for the
average IGU makes very little real difference to the retail price of
an installed window. The homeowner will not be dissuaded by a
couple of pounds. The choice is clear: pay a reasonable price for
your IGUs now, or you may have little choice in a couple of year’s
www.ggpmag.com January 2019
the IGU manufacturer”
“In fact, if you haven’t already had
to nd a new supplier because your
regular rm has gone bust, then
unless you agree to pay a little more
for your units, then you too could be
looking for a new company, too”