Reasons to be positive

Mike Parczuk, managing director of Sternfenster

Towards the end of last year, some worrying news was emerging from the wider construction industry about an increase in the number of insolvencies. According to Sky News, the Insolvency Service recorded 10,717 company insolvencies in the first half of 2022, of which the construction sector accounted for a fifth.

Closer to home, we started to see well-known companies go to the wall as those pressures we’ve all been coping with caught up with them. I agree that it wasn’t the best way to close off the year. But I don’t think there is any reason to be pessimistic.

We can all see what’s been going on in the news. Clearly parts of the economy have been living beyond their means for quite some time. So what we are experiencing right now is just a bit of a reset. We’ve been through recessions before and come out unscathed the other end, haven’t we? Why should 2023 be any different?

The reality is everybody’s got windows, and everyone’s going to keep changing their windows. There are many reasons for encouraging people to upgrade.

Aesthetics and security are key for many homeowners, as is energy efficiency. Despite some correction in the energy markets, the fact that household energy bills can rocket so alarmingly is bringing forward many projects to improve the efficiency of homes. And for those homes able to afford improvements, the sustainability of the materials used will also be important.

So working with your supplier to see how you can meet these demands will be key. In fact, choosing your window supplier carefully will help you reduce the risks to your business while creating significant opportunities for growth.

Ask yourself: Do they have your best interests at heart? We’ve seen on numerous occasions where window fabricators are bought out by private equity companies, which moves the focus away from long-term stability to short-term gain. I’m not saying that they aren’t good at what they do but where we have been around for close to 50 years, have no debt, and want to work with our customers for long-term growth, a private equity company will have a five-year plan to see a significant return on their investment before moving on.

And we mean it when we say we want to work with our customers. As a large company, we have teams of people dedicated to HR, accounting, logistics, marketing and IT – and we can pass on that expertise to our customers. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if our customers do well, then we also do well.

Yes, demand will likely slow in 2023. But with the right partnerships there is no reason why we shouldn’t just survive but also thrive!

Mike Parczuk
Managing director, Sternfenster