FAB RICATO R VI EW
Pioneer Trading’s Danny Williams says there is little chance of the
‘bubble’ of high demand in the glazing industry bursting anytime soon, and
argues that business is going to remain solid well into the first half of .
The question that I am asked most by
my customers is: ‘do you think the
bubble will burst?’ As they are clearly
not referring to a ‘social bubble’ (did
you ever think that such a word could become
so over-used?) as most usually only bother me
when they want a discount or a remake delivered
by lunchtime, I make the assumption that they
want to know if we will all still be in business by
That of course, is the million dollar question
– and until recently I could only speculate. But
now, with growing issues relating to shortages
of hardware, sealant, glass, coloured profiles
(compounded by shortages of the actual foil)
and worst of all, widespread disruption amongst
resin suppliers that threatens the supply of the
PVC-U profiles themselves, I can confidently
predict that business will be solid for at least the
first half of .
How does that work then? Many – most? –
installers are reporting sales enquiries of three
to four times the usual volumes, pretty much
immediately from when lockdown #1 ended.
These have built into hard sales that are taking
installation dates well into the New Year. 8--
week lead times are now normal.
The supply shortages are growing and
for a variety of reasons. And, whilst the UK
and Ireland might be the most vibrant home
improvement markets in Europe, demand in
France and other Northern European countries is
also up. It ain’t just us Brits that like our castles to
look pristine; the perfect storm is brewing.
Consumer demand will not fall away any
time soon, even despite lengthening lead times.
Once homeowners have decided on a project
for their home, having pored over colours,
styles, imagined stepping out on to their new
deck through beautiful new bi-folds and setting
a table for the family in their new orangery; and
actually, having allocated the money for their
dream project, they won’t change their minds.
And more than anything, there is nothing more
compelling than being told you can’t have
something when you want it.
Life will not be returning to normal any time
soon. Very few of us will be throwing ourselves
off mountains this winter let alone climbing into
a cigar-shaped, flying Petri dish to reach far off
destinations, no matter how alluring the thought
of a sun-soaked beach might be. And even
Christmas spending might be restrained with
many tables confined to immediate family, which
for many might just be a blessing in disguise!
No, signed customers will protect their ever
receding installation slot with the same passion
previously reserved for their weekly Waitrose
delivery; having made the decision to buy new
windows and especially connies and sliding
doors. As long as they have the prospect of being
ready for Spring, installation schedules will be
stacked at least until the leaves begin growing
back again and probably well into the summer.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE...
In the meantime, however, we need a reality
check: These problems are real and will not go
away any time soon. Ranting at your fabricator,
especially yours truly, will not make your order
appear any quicker and dependent upon the
number of expletives used, might actually result
in that order being delayed even further.
Neither should you be a smart arse by taking
orders from the Joneses and Smiths who say
they are being quoted -week installations (and
more!) by the competition in the hope you can
blag your way to getting product quicker. Most of
the systems companies are being affected by the
resin shortages; and even those that control their
own resin supply chain are worried about the
knock-on effect stretching further back down the
line. It is inevitable that prices will rise too. But
the net increase will be fractional on the installed
cost of a window and when demand is as hot as
it is, you will still secure the business even if you
reflect the increases in your prices – remember,
the whole market will be affected. Don’t give all
your margin away when punters are climbing over
each other to get someone to make and fit their
new windows, doors and connies.
These are times that should draw all sides of
our industry together: Despite the uncertainty
and misery that this invisible enemy is visiting
upon the planet, we in the double-glazing
industry find ourselves worrying about how
to cope with unprecedented demand rather
than empty order books. And in order to take
advantage of the incredible power that new
windows and bi-folds apparently seem to offer
homeowners as a distraction from the disease
and death that is scything through humanity,
we must talk to each other, trust each other and
work together to ensure we make the most of
these contradictory circumstances. We certainly
don’t need to add to everybody’s grief by taking
chunks out of each other.
“Ranting at your fabricator, especially yours
truly, will not make your order appear any
quicker and dependent upon the number of
expletives used, might actually result in that
order being delayed even further”