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Investment and integration transforms Glazerite East

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Having recently accounced plans for a £1m investment boost, the Glazerite UK Group has completed the second phase of its programme, this time at its Glazerite East plant. 

As part of of plans to strengthen its performance for installers, the VEKA fabricator has welcomed new equipment at the Peterborough-based plant, which fabricates products from the Halo profile systems range. Following the investment, which has included the installation of a brand new Haffner SMR 5 head inline welding machine, the site's capacity is set to significantly increase, with the ability to fabricate 800 frames per week by the end of this year.

Glazerite acquired the site in February 2016 and has completely transformed its technical capabilities, aligning it with its other facilities in Bolton and Wellingborough. The results have been huge, with Glazerite East hugely increasing its output, and shortening its lead-time from three weeks to just five days. 

Glazerite East has also recently installed a £100k Stuga cutting and machining centre, which was relocated from the group's Northwest division, as well as four new vertical tables, four door line tables, and a corner cleaner. With the addition of the new machinery, the plant has been completely reconfigured to optimise efficiencies and improve performance across all areas. 

Matthew Thomas, Managing Director of Glazerite East, explains: "New equipment is part of a major overhaul of the site's capabilities, which has also seen improvements to the flow of the plant and freed up space for frame storage. The 5 head Haffner can weld two frames simultaneously, something we weren't able to do before, and it has made set up time and cycle times quicker and much more efficient. 

"Since Glazerite took over the site three years ago, our team has been working hard to improve our lead times and output. We've already upped production from 350 to 600 frames per week, and cut lead times of standard products to just five days, in alignment with the rest of Glazerite."

Matthew adds: "The team here has undergone some major changes to work processes, and they've truly embraced the adoption of technology, moving from manual processes to automation on the shop floor. It's been a big but important culture change, and with additional training and support, we're seeing a real difference in how our team approach their work."

Next on the agenda for the 45-strong Glazerite East workforce is the soon-to-be-launched mechnical jointed version of the Halo Flush Sash, following an increase in demand from consumers looking for more authentic-looking windows.

Matthew adds: "Glazerite East has a bright future, and with the recent investment we're looking forward to increased production and enhancing our relationships with installers."

Recent News

Celebrating our 20th year in business
It’s hard to believe that just two decades ago, WIFI and Google were in their infancy, and we managed to somehow get through the day without smartphones, social media or Netflix. Britney was on the radio, England failed to make it out of the group stages at the Euros, Big Brother arrived on Channel 4, and we’d survived the Millennium Bug. The year 2000 was also the year John Hewitt and Jason Thompson founded Glazerite from a 1000 sq. ft factory in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. They had just four members of staff and one product – the VEKA Matrix 58mm – and a target of 40 frames per week. VEKA has been with Glazerite since the beginning with the company now growing into one of their largest customers. VEKA MD, Dave Jones, has worked closely with Jason and John from the very start. He believes the relationship between the supplier and fabricator has been built on a ‘mutually successful, open and honest partnership.’ Dave says: “Together, VEKA and Glazerite deliver the best possible products and services, and have continued to do so, even during tough times in the industry. We have always stood and worked together, and we’re both stronger for it.” Today, Glazerite employs over 270 staff who each strive to make us a ‘best-in-class’ supplier for our installer partners. Our product range has evolved into one of the most comprehensive in the industry and from humble beginnings and 40 frames in 2000, we now have a capacity to manufacture in excess of 4000 frames per week. 2020 will also see the full effects of the £1 million investment we poured into the business last year, with improved efficiencies and capacity at our Northwest division thanks to the expansion of our Bolton site, and broader reach thanks to new vehicles in our delivery fleet. So what will 2020 be remembered for? Definitely Brexit, and hopefully a better performance at the Euros. For Glazerite though, we intend to make it the beginning of another two decades of growth, cementing our position as the fabricator of choice and continuing on in our mission to help our installer partners achieve their own business goals. On 29th February, we will be marking our 20 years in business by holding an event at Sywell Aerodrome for all staff members. This will be in recognition of all employees hard work and dedication in helping the business reach this impressive milestone.
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Glazerite rolls out employee mental health awareness programme
Leading trade fabricator, the Glazerite UK Group, has begun rolling out Mental Health Awareness sessions as part of a nationwide programme. The sessions will encompass all 270 Glazerite employees, based across each of its five sites, with the aim of increasing people’s awareness and understanding of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. David Beeney, the consultant and mental health counsellor leading the sessions, advises companies on how to reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace. He says: “With mental health issues in the workplace costing UK employers £26 billion per year, it’s key that companies address how they can help their employees, and provide an open and stigma-free environment. “The Glazerite workshops have been designed to help managers better support their teams, and to encourage employees who might be suffering in silence to speak out and seek help. It’s fantastic that Glazerite wants to engage every employee in the process. Being more aware of their own mental health, and that of others around them, means they can reach out and help a colleague who might be struggling with their own wellbeing.” Matthew Thomas, Managing Director of Glazerite East, who has recently taken part in the three hour, interactive workshop, says: “We’ve had lots of positive feedback from our staff so far on the workshops, and it was pertinent to see how some of my older male colleagues found the session so poignant, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting. I think mental health issues are something people feel they have to mask, particularly at work, so it’s really important Glazerite is looking to address the issue, not only with these sessions but with ongoing planned support, such as access to a confidential helpline.” Glazerite Chairman, John Hewitt, says the programme is being implemented with the aim of creating a culture across the business where people feel they can raise mental health issues and discuss them in a stigma-free environment. He adds: “These sessions are the first step towards achieving a more open culture and supportive environment at Glazerite in which our employees can thrive. It’s also important to us that we work together to raise general awareness of mental health issues, especially given they affect as many as one in four people in the UK at some point in their lives.” For more information on David Beeney’s workshop, visit www.breakingthesilence.co.uk
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20 in 20 - Glazerite sets sights on continued growth
2020 marks a big milestone for leading trade fabricator, The Glazerite UK Group. As they fast approach their 20th birthday, Group Managing Director Jason Thompson looks back on what Glazerite has achieved so far, and what the fabricator has planned for its anniversary year. We are eagerly anticipating our 20th year in business and looking ahead to what 2020 will bring for Glazerite, our employees, suppliers and our installer partners. It’s been our aim from day one to be a ‘best-in-class supplier’ and we hope we’ve lived up to that so far with the choice of products we supply, the quality of services we deliver and the added value we give our customers to help them succeed in their own markets. Despite a difficult time for the industry, we’ve spent the last 12-18 months consolidating our offering and working on how we can improve the services we provide to our customers. That has manifested itself in a number of ways, from the growth of our product portfolio to the strengthening of our marketing support offering, which we believe is what really differentiates us as a fabricator. We’ve also spent in excess of £1million on our plants, machinery, fleet and people in the last year; an investment which is already yielding impressive results for us and our customers in terms of speed, efficiency, delivery, timing and quality. In 2020, we will further enhance our portfolio with a number of exciting new additions to reflect market trends and consumer demand. In recognition of the continued growth of the Heritage market for example, we will have the option to Timberweld some of our flush sash products, meeting the needs of those customers looking for an even more authentic finish on their installations. To match growing consumer enthusiasm for technology, we’ve also recently welcomed the innovative Ultion Smart to our stable, while the Kubu product from Avantis Hardware will follow this year. The addition of these products, and their associated benefits, give our installers an even more comprehensive range to choose from, and ensures they never have to turn down non-standard jobs because of an inflexible supplier. As reflected by the arrival of such products, as well as an explosion in colour and growing acceptance of uPVC as a genuine competitor for wood, the market has changed so much in 20 years. We aim to continue to be at the forefront of that change, which often means taking a chance on new and innovative products. Adding value to our installers’ own businesses in this way remains key, and is the reason why we offer unrivalled, bespoke marketing support packages that help our customers really stand head and shoulders above their competitors. Whether customers are looking to increase brand awareness or drive specific product sales, our three-strong marketing team works in partnership with them to plan and deliver a digitally-focused or traditional marketing strategy, or a combination of both. Starting with a marketing audit, our team sits down with an installer to work out how we can best support them and which tactics to use - from SEO to leaflet drops – that will not only enable them to take on local competitors, but national installers too. We are always looking for ways to enhance our marketing offering and 2020 will be no different, with the launch of a full suite of retail brochures, a refreshed installer-branded website system and a social media toolkit. Closer to home, we recognise that to deliver great customer service, we need committed, loyal and engaged staff. We work hard to engage our 270 employees in where we are as a business and where we are headed, whether that’s through rewards and recognition programmes, or throwing a great big 20th birthday party as planned in the spring. On a more serious note, 2020 will also see the roll out of a business-wide employee support programme with a specific focus on mental health, an issue which is very close to our hearts. As we enter 2020, we face continued political uncertainty and a variable market. But whatever the year brings, here at Glazerite it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our success and that of the people who made us who we are today – our employees, suppliers and installer partners – while continuing to build foundations solid enough to take us forwards through the next 20 years.
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