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GLAZERITE EAST CELEBRATES A YEAR OF INTEGRATION – AT LAST!

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The small matter of a long overdue high-speed broadband installation may be seen by some as the conclusion of a year-long transformation of the former City Beads Halo fabricator into part of The Glazerite UK Group but in many ways, it was more like the beginning.

“Up to then, everything had been paper-based for the 32 years of our existence,” Mark Smith, former MD of the Peterborough company and now director designate of the new division, Glazerite East, explained: “Only when that changed could we really begin to move forward. It was an immensely frustrating time for all but the progress since then has been massive.”

Of course, Glazerite was progressing the transformation on many other fronts during the wait, not least in machinery upgrades, and over £125,000 was spent on new quad and crucifix welders from Winmac as soon as the ink was dry on the acquisition deal. Beyond that, another £50,000 went on bringing the IT in line with the existing Glazerite systems and more was spent on signage, vehicle livery and new windows and doors to bring the site inline with the new group brand.

Group Director Jason Thompson said the lack of broadband strength, and the delay in the provider remedying the problem were a major setback: “This meant we were not able to introduce our Evonet management and other systems for the better part of a year. However, we made the best use of that time, not only implementing the ‘hard’ changes like upgrading the building and machinery, but also introducing the Glazerite culture among the workforce.

“We began with familiarising all the staff with Glazerite and assuring them of our long-term commitment to the business as well as outlining our short and medium term plans. We have also been able to improve both their working conditions and terms of employment. The other side of the equation is of course the existing customer base and, even before the IT issue was solved, the feedback from them was very encouraging and has gone on getting better since then.”

Now, just as at Glazerite’s other production sites, everything is bar-coded across the whole of production and dispatch so that, along with Evonet, there is full transparency and accountability throughout.

Mark Smith continued: “Now that all the systems are in place, we and our customers are beginning to see the real benefits of the acquisition. Lead times have been brought down in line with the rest of the group, full online quoting and ordering is available to all customers and, most importantly, they all have full access to one of the most comprehensive product ranges in the industry, all via this one single point of contact.  Not to mention the great marketing support that is now available to our installers, being part of the group really does open up so many opportunities to our installers ”

This means the former City Beads customers can now not only offer the full range of mainstream VEKA systems but also its sliding sash and Imagine bi-fold, patio and flush doors, Warmcore windows and bi-folds and all Residence9 and Solidor products. By the same token the rest of the group now has access to the Halo range from Glazerite East’s ongoing operation. Another benefit for Peterboroughcustomers however is that, whether they are working with mainstream VEKA or Halo systems, they can apply to become part of the Independent Network (formerly known as Network VEKA) via Glazerite’s long-standing relationship with the organisation.

Mark Smith concluded: “We see a great future as part of the Glazerite UK Group. The company has already shown that it is prepared to invest time, money and commitment into bringing this new division into line with the standards set by the rest of the group, and we can see that what has happened so far is only the beginning.”

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Glazerite's attendance scheme pays off
An employee attendance scheme run by The Glazerite UK Group Ltd is paying dividends for both staff and the business. Launched in 2016, the scheme is open to every Glazerite employee, including new starters, as part of the group’s wider package of employee benefits. Aimed at improving attendance by giving staff the opportunity to earn rewards, the scheme has been well received by workers across the fabricator’s four sites. It has already made its mark on attendance figures, with an overall improvement of 52 per cent for the period 2016-2018. Sue Wellings, Group HR Manager, explains: “We’ve structured it so it’s a realistic and achievable scheme for everyone. It works by awarding a bonus to those with full attendance over a four-month period. Employees who manage a full year’s attendance are given a Silver certificate and, as an extra incentive, an additional day’s holiday for the following holiday year. For two years’ full attendance, a Gold award is given and for three years’ full attendance, employees are recognised with a Platinum award certificate and a further gift from the company, in the form of a Red Letter Day experience. “Managing staff attendance and absenteeism is a key objective for every HR department as it has such an impact on staff morale and company success. For Glazerite, having an engaged team also impacts our wide installer base, as it means we can continue to fabricate quality products, make on time deliveries, and ensure consistent and excellent customer service.” In 2018, 85 employees - around one third of the total Glazerite workforce - achieved full attendance for the year. Of those, 33 had had full attendance for three years in a row; over half of whom were employees working in roles across the shop floor and the vehicle fleet. Rich Day, Transport Manager at Glazerite’s Wellingborough site, was recently awarded a Platinum certificate in recognition of three years’ full attendance. He says: “It’s a great feeling to be rewarded with a bonus every few months and it was a real surprise to receive the Red Letter Day voucher. I’m hoping to use mine on a trip to London so I can take my daughter to see a show.” He adds: “I’ve not had a day off sick in my 10 years here but this scheme is a great motivator for me and my colleagues.” Jason Thompson, Glazerite’s Group Managing Director says: “The scheme has boosted morale, and our attendance figures have improved significantly as a result. Recruiting in the industry has its difficulties, so we’re always looking at ways to enhance the package we offer our employees and to attract the right calibre of staff.”
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Leading fabricator Glazerite highlights importance of apprenticeships
In recognition of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 4th to 8th March 2019, The Glazerite UK Group Ltd has turned the spotlight on two of its own team; an up and coming apprentice, and an employee who was a trainee when the original scheme was launched 25 years ago. National Apprenticeship Week is designed to show what a positive impact apprenticeships can have on those individuals undertaking it, as well as their employers and the wider economy. Jason Thompson, Group Managing Director of Glazerite, says: “By sharing the stories of our own apprentices, we hope we can raise awareness of the importance of the scheme, especially among those young adults who may be about to leave education and are looking for a route into work.” Laura Rorke is one such Glazerite apprentice who is using the scheme as a springboard for her career. Having completed a Sociology degree, Laura joined the fabricator in 2017 as a Human Resources apprentice carrying out the customer services NVQ Level 2. Two years on, she’s studying for a professional HR qualification through the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). Laura says: “Being taken on as an apprentice by Glazerite meant I was able to gain valuable insight from working in an office environment. I found it a brilliant way to get me settled into my career, continuing my studies while being supported and guided by my manager. I’ve been lucky enough to work within the HR department which I love as I enjoy helping people and get real job satisfaction from my work. “The great thing about the current apprenticeship scheme is that I’m able to study for a Level 5 professional qualification - the equivalent of a degree - and work on the job at the same time, something I wouldn’t be able to do if I’d done a masters in HR at University. “Working for an SME means the range of work I am involved in is also far broader than it may be at a larger corporate, where they tend to specialise on specific areas. Though it’s early days with my CIPD and it will take a great deal of commitment, the support from my manager has already been invaluable. I am really excited about building my knowledge and being able to apply it here at Glazerite, dealing with more sensitive situations and providing others with support.” In addition to Laura, Glazerite has a number of current and former apprentices among its 270-strong workforce, including Group Marketing Manager, Michelle Wright. Michelle was part of the first intake of the original apprenticeship scheme in 1994 and says that though the way the current scheme is delivered is a world away from her own apprenticeship, the fundamentals are still the same. She explains: “When I was leaving school, modern apprenticeships were just being introduced. I knew I didn’t want to go to university and the appeal of earning and learning while gaining some real and relevant experience was a real draw. “My first apprentice role was in an electrical components company in a team of only 20 people, which gave me the perfect foundation on which to build my subsequent career. As part of my apprenticeship, I completed NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration and Level 4 in Customer Services, alongside typing qualifications – we used typewriters in those days! “One of the most important things my apprenticeship gave me was an appetite for lifelong learning. I’ve since gone on to complete qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an HND in Graphic Design, and have worked in B2B marketing communications roles in both global corporates and SMEs. I can truly say that it was my apprenticeship which gave me the foundation for the career I’m in today.” Michelle admits the current crop of apprentices makes her feel ‘really old’, especially the way their course learning is delivered. She explains: “When I started out in the world of work we were using floppy discs and were heavily reliant on faxes. The only mobile phones you saw were the bricks carried around by the sales team and I was sent on weekly day-release to the local college. “The internet and business emails were in their infancy, and yet today’s apprentices like Laura makes use of an online portal to study, with a few face-to-face workshops throughout the year. It’s definitely light years ahead and makes the delivery of assignments much easier. The fact you can complete a professional qualification from a recognised body like the CIPD as part of an apprenticeship really takes the scheme to another level. The core values, on-the-job learning and what you get out of an apprenticeship are still the same however; it’s a valuable and effective way to start your working life.” Jason adds: “Seeing our apprentices develop is really rewarding. People like Laura and Michelle are real assets for us and for our installers, as they are able to not only provide us with marketing and HR advice and services, but extend those to our installer base who need the help too. We are always on the lookout for hardworking, proactive and diligent people who are passionate about what they do and we’re delighted to be able to offer apprenticeships across our sites in a variety of functions.” For more information on careers with Glazerite, visit www.glazeritewindows.co.uk/trade/company/job-opportunities
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Glazerite strengthens senior management team
The Glazerite UK Group Ltd has strengthened its senior management team with three new appointments and an internal promotion. The operations and technical-focused positions will allow the fabricator to further improve service levels across its three largest sites. Mark Towers joined Glazerite on 7th January 2019 as Bolton-based North West Division General Manager/ Director Designate. With over 25 years’ industry experience, Mark has worked to improve the output of a number of manufacturing operations, ranging from composite doors to glazing, and has also held senior positions at ODL Europe Limited, HansenGlass Processing, and HM Doors. Mark says: “It’s an exciting time to join Glazerite. I’m very much looking forward to working with the team at the Bolton site going forward, with an initial focus to continue improving standards at the site and carry out the investment and extension programme planned for this year.” Taking up the position of Group Operations Manager is Andrew Worroll, who will report directly into Group Operations Director, Ian Lloyd. He has over 20 years’ experience in operations, production and supply chain, and will focus mainly on Glazerite’s Wellingborough sites, in order to free up more of Ian’s time to focus on the Group Operations strategy. In December 2018, Glazerite also welcomed Mitchell Gooch, who took on the role of Group Technical and Processing Support Manager at the fabricator’s Peterborough site. Mitchell, who has previously worked in technical roles at SGM Windows Manufacturing Ltd, won the prestigious Apprentice of the Year G12 award while at Pioneer Trading Company Ltd. In addition to these key appointments, which form part of Glazerite’s strategy to better serve its growing base of installers, the fabricator has also announced that Chris Price is joining the board of Directors as Group Procurement Director. Chris will focus on further improving the product development programme and procurement process across the group going forward. Jason Thompson, Glazerite Director, says: “2018 was a challenging year for us and the industry as a whole. Despite this, we’ve increased our products and services portfolio, and strengthened our sales and marketing team with specialist expertise in areas like digital marketing. We have been stretched in some areas, which highlighted the need to further strengthen our senior management team. Now, with Mark, Andrew and Mitchell in place, we’re in the best possible position to go forward and achieve our plans for growth in 2019 and beyond. Combined with recent and planned future investment, we’re well-placed to serve our growing installer base and help them to become best-in-class.” (Above image from left to right, Andrew Worroll, Mitchell Gooch, Mark Towers)
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