NEW YEAR MESSAGES
It has been a challenging
year for us this year for
obvious reasons. We
continue to hear industry
conjecture and rumour about our
future – something that obviously impacts
our hard-working colleagues. However, the reality is that we’re
on the right track and making good progress. It has meant some
tough decisions in the short-term for the long-term benefit
of the company and our customers, but we are delivering
truly transformational change to make Aperture Group the
organisation we want it to be. We have identified our core product
offering and invested in product development to continue to
build on this strong portfolio.
It would be fair to say that the political and economic backdrop
for the whole industry was difficult in the second half of 2019,
and it looks set to remain challenging deep into 2020. So much
so, that a differently shaped industry may well emerge as a result,
“It would be fair to say that the
political and economic backdrop
for the whole industry was dicult
in the second half of 2019, and it
looks set to remain challenging deep
particularly at our level of the supply chain. Look back just 10-15
years and there were many more profile houses and fabricators
than there are today, and we don’t think this consolidation is
over just yet. Any operator that hasn’t already done so, will have
to take long hard look at their business and consider some tough
decisions as a result – just as we have already done. There will be
no room for over-extended or over-complicated business models.
For us specifically in 2020, we’ll continue to invest in our
WarmCore range of products to further improve this already
popular and added value range. We know fabricators and
installers like it because it’s something genuinely innovative and
unique, but we also know it can be improved. That’s why our
in-house product development team are already working hard
on making it even better. We’ll also be looking to expand our
presence in new markets this year to realise the potential of the
products we already have in place.
We understand that people will continue to show an interest in
Aperture, but we are determined to keep our focus on shaping the
company to play to its strengths and ensure we have a business
that is robust, lean and forward-looking. We had a vision for
the company when it was established and we are committed to
working hard to bring that vision to fruition.
Before looking ahead, it’s
always useful for a business to
take a retrospective view to see
what has gone well or not so well, with
the outcomes feeding into future commercial strategies. The
team have spent the last few months doing this and as a result,
our clear objectives for 2020 will be to continue offering unique
trade marketing support and innovative products, in addition to
growing our presence within the commercial arena.
In 2019, the Group continued to expand our activities with our
FIT Show debut, the launch of TimberCore and Central Hub and
our online marketing portal being the highlights, as well as seeking
opportunities in smart technology.
Sales growth was strong in our PVC business, as we began to
accumulate more commercial projects. After a tough first half of the
year, our aluminium business also started to perform well, again
down to commercial activity. Trade and retail in both businesses
has seen moderate growth.
So, looking ahead, what does this tell us? It shows that new
products, new initiatives and innovation will continue to be
important drivers for growth.
While some fabricators may want to batten down the hatches
and wait for the political uncertainty to be resolved, our businesses,
with a strong team at the helm, will continue to invest in order to
offer new solutions and products to customers. It’s critical that we
maintain this momentum to give Central customers, especially
installers, the edge as the market gets tighter.
I predict that 2020 will remain relatively stagnant in the
trade and retail sector, with the success stories of growth being
with the innovators. I am convinced that government funded
infrastructure investment will see a continuing climb of commercial
opportunities. These opportunities are something we aim to
As for the political uncertainty, personally I guess I am like an
awful lot of people, in that I feel we need to just get it done and pick
up whatever pieces it leaves us with. Our sector has lived through
this kind of potential downturn many times before and has always
proven to be most resilient. I have no, or little doubt that it will do
so, once again.
Sadly though, I think uncertainty will run for some time yet and
that uncertainty is what could have a more serious impact. People
can deal with the known but will dig in when matters are left
uncertain. That is the threat I see if it goes on much longer.
But without being naively optimistic, we must remain confident
as a sector. We’ve weathered these storms before.
That’s why I think regardless of what is happening in the outside
world, those businesses that will not only come through the
traditionally tough December / January period, but who will thrive
over 2020, will be those that continue to do what they’re doing and
continue to do it well.
We intend to be at the forefront of these businesses.
www.ggpmag.com January 2020