Global standards

Retail specialist, Global Windows, has said it is committed to setting new standards of customer service after announcing a new supply partnership with Emplas.

Set up in 1995 by Russell Hulme and today headed by son Liam and joint-managing director, Billy Hawes, Global Windows specialises in home improvement in Sheffield and throughout Yorkshire.

After approaching three-decades in manufacture, the company says it took the decision to come out of fabrication at the end of last year and buy-in its casement and door product ranges from trade specialist, Emplas.

Liam Hulme said the decision had been driven by a commitment to bring increased focus to its retail operation, offering improved levels of service to homeowners, while also increasing its product offer.

He said: “Fabrication wasn’t working for us anymore. We were buying in bi-folds, we were buying in VS’, but we were holding on to own-manufacture of casements when it didn’t make sense to.

“We didn’t get the service we needed to meet the demands our own customers were placing on us, we weren’t getting the reliability in supply. We were a small player without real influence on our supply chain.

“Retail is changing and we need to respond to that change and to make sure that we are setting the standards for service to the end-user throughout Yorkshire. We want to reset the bar.”

According to figures from Insight Data, the number of PVC-U fabricators has dropped by 46.5% since 2008. Painting a ‘worse-case scenario’ it says that this decline could continue so that by 2024 there could be as fewer than 800 fabricators left in business.

As a large fabricator, one which remains family-owned and investment-led, Emplas says it has developed an extensive programme of support for fabricators considering moving out of manufacture.

This is said to include not only a highly flexible product and service offer but also a dedicated lead generation service, delivered through its installer network.

Emplas said that its approved installer network provides its members with a dedicated network listing, appearing in homeowner searches based on geographical location. They also get real-time lead distribution; automated customer response and real time reporting.

These are leads directly generated by Emplas through its approved installer network, generated through digital lead generation, SEO campaigns and inbound consumer hits.

“There are a number of big fabricators and they have impressive set ups but Emplas had more,” Liam said. “It had online ordering, it had EVA, the support, the 3D factory tour, videos, marketing material but there was also a cultural fit as a family owned business.”

Stopping fabrication has meant that Global Windows has been able to re-purpose its 336m2 former factory floor as warehousing and a new showroom. Its former shop-floor workforce, reallocated to its seven installation teams.

“It’s been an opportunity for people,” Liam continued, “to get off the factory floor and work with people to learn new skills.”

He added: “We want to be in a position where our competitors are playing catch up with us and where we are setting the standards for service – not the other way around. That’s what our decision to stop fabrication has been about. To focus on what we do, which is retail and bring a better service to our customers.”