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Looking ahead in 2021

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Jason Thompson, CEO of Glazerite UK Group Ltd explains how we will look ahead in 2021 following a truly tough year for all businesses.

I think it’s safe to say that when 2020 chimed in none of us could have predicted what the year would actually bring. We’re hopeful then that 2021 will be somewhat steadier, and certainly a happier, healthier year for us all.

Unfortunately the hangover remains in the shape of the disrupted supply chain, something we’re keen to minimise as much as possible for our installer partners and their own customers.

Pent up demand following the first lockdown last year led to our sales rising by 30 per cent over the summer period in comparison with the same period the previous year and though these record levels will dip, we are hopeful demand will remain reasonably steady. The obvious variant – pandemic aside – is the impact Brexit could potentially have and it’s a situation we will be monitoring closely. Consumers breathing a sigh of relief at the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine might also use the opportunity to book a long overdue holiday, which could lead to a dip in domestic sales as homeowners choose sunshine over new windows.

Having said that, I believe that demand will be spread between fewer companies given the economic climate and (sadly) resulting industry casualties, and we’re seeing average price per product increasing as more end customers plump for higher value products such as foils and heritage styles. In fact, our foil range now equates to approximately half of what we produce, as consumers search for something a little different.

During 2020, we marked our 20 years in business with major expansion at our North West division, and the introduction of Timberweld® technology at our Specials Division and at Glazerite East. Being able to offer R9, R7 and the Halo Flush Sash using the Timberweld option has brought us greater efficiencies, consistency and flexibility in manufacturing and transport. It’s also perfectly timed for our customers as the demand for flush sash products continues to show considerable growth.

As we continue to get to grips with the impact of 2020’s events on the supply chain and potential shortages or delays across the whole product range, we want to reassure our customers we remain in constant contact with our suppliers and we are pursuing every possible avenue to manage the situation as best we can. Like everyone, we’re not immune to the situation, but we hope that we can help minimise the impact on our installer partners and continue to add value to our broader package of services.

Recent News

Futureproofing a Fabricator
Having recently led the management buyout of trade fabricator Glazerite UK Group, MD Robert Brearley reflects on the company’s offering, and shares his plans for the fabricator’s future. Joining a company and leading it through a management buyout during a global pandemic was certainly challenging, but that’s something I’m always up for. There is no doubt that this is one of the toughest times our industry will ever face. Despite this, Glazerite continued to invest in its people and facilities so that we stay ahead of the game with our offering for installers. We also have some exciting plans to take the business forward. In the short term, it is very much business as usual for our customers, suppliers and team. Over the coming months, however, we are making improvements to our processes and procedures to improve quality and service, while continuing to integrate a continuous improvement culture across the group. It’s a subject I’m very passionate about and is the reason we’ve recently appointed Desmond Golach as our continuous improvement manager. With many years of experience in the fenestration industry, Desmond is guiding our teams to work and think in a different way and really strives for perfection. We have daily meetings to discuss continuous improvement and share ideas on how to make the business more productive, safe and efficient. We want to do better by enhancing our daily working practices, which has a positive impact on customer service. It’s important we return to the service levels our customers expect, so improving our productivity and sharpening our processes means we will be in better shape as the country emerges from the pandemic. The supply chain is still under pressure, and raw material shortages and price increases are tough to navigate. Managing customer expectations in areas beyond our control is also challenging, though this goes for the whole industry, not just Glazerite. We work closely with our suppliers to understand any issues, and have proactively and regularly communicated with our customers to try and minimise the impact on their own businesses as much as possible. Meanwhile, recruitment also remains an issue across the UK, but we remain committed to searching for engaging, loyal individuals keen to progress in fenestration and who can help us to deliver on our promises. Despite these difficult and changing times, one thing remains constant: we are committed to investing in our business and giving our installer partners the tools and products they need to service their customers as best they can. The investments we’ve made over the last 12 months are already helping our customers win new business, including the introduction of Timberweld on our flush sash ranges, as well as new equipment and machinery across each of our plants. We’ve also completed the expansion of our North West Division in Bolton, where we’re about to open our first showroom. We also have plans to improve our door range, which demonstrates how we listen and react to trends and ensure we have the very latest products in place to help our installers meet the needs of their own customers. As the market begins to stabilise, we will continue to build on the Glazerite offering so that our installers have all they need – and more – to perform in their markets.
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New appointment - Luke Hatfield
We are delighted to announce that Luke Hatfield will be joining The Glazerite UK Group Ltd as Group Procurement Director.   Luke joins us on Monday 13th September 2021, with a brilliant academic background in business, strong commercial acumen and procurement experience within the fenestration industry. Having most recently worked at Kingfisher Windows he is a great addition to our board to shape and lead this critical function across our business.   Luke adds "I’m really excited to join such a well-established and market leading company, with a great reputation.  I look forward to working with the team and being a part of delivering on the ambition of the group".   This appointment comes at a point where we are still facing some really tough supply chain issues in the industry, Luke will be instrumental in bridging the gaps and building on the department to support our growth aspirations.
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Timberweld® and Halo make the perfect match for Glazerite installers
The leadership might have changed at the Glazerite UK Group following the completion of the recent management buyout, but the new team of directors have the same passion for investment, innovation and installers, with a host of exciting plans afoot. One of the five-strong MBO team is Matthew Thomas, the Managing Director of Glazerite East, which focuses on the Halo portfolio. Having been with the fabricator for three years, Matthew has already overseen a huge transformation of the site to align it with the rest of the group. Innovation in manufacturing efficiencies and products includes the adoption of Timberweld® technology across the company’s flush sash range to replicate authentic timber windows. This has allowed Glazerite greater flexibility in manufacturing across its sites, while increasing product choice for its installers. Matthew says: “We tested Timberweld on Halo Flush Sash over the course of several months, with the support and technical expertise of Masterframe, Total Machinery Solutions (TMS) and VEKA. As a result, we are now able to strengthen our portfolio to include a timber-look butt joint across all three of our flush sash window options. “Not only does it give us consistency in manufacturing, it allows for a greater throughput of products without compromising on quality.” The market demand for heritage-style windows is strong and set to continue with high growth, as consumers seek a solution that combines low maintenance and durable uPVC with an aesthetically pleasing, timber-like finish. Matthew adds: “Glazerite has always had a strong commitment to innovation. We combine these ambitions with continuous investment into our facilities, our portfolio and our people. Everything we do is always with customers in mind and by introducing Timberweld, we’ve been able to open doors for installers who haven’t previously specified R9 for example, as it can now be ordered unglazed and is therefore easier to handle and transport.” Matthew is also delighted with the service his team has been able to offer installers keen to specify Timberweld-fabricated Halo. One such installer is Northamptonshire-based A-Team Glazing who has just completed the transformation of a stone cottage using Halo Flush Sash in Pebble Grey. A-Team owner and Glazerite installer, Adam Pardon, explains: “The homeowner wanted to replace the existing rotten frames with uPVC because they wanted something that would help to reduce the road traffic noise, and which was low in maintenance, more energy efficient and secure. They were also keen to replace the wood with something that looked handcrafted and timber-like to blend in with the stonework surrounds and the period charm of the cottage. Halo using Timberweld offered the perfect solution and the homeowner is thrilled with the results.” In addition to the introduction of TImberweld, Glazerite East has undergone a number of changes since it was acquired by Glazerite in 2016. Improvements to production has led to a significant increase in output – more than doubling the number of frames the site was able to achieve. Its current capacity is 700-750 frames per week, a figure set to grow even further by 2022 thanks to recent investment. Matthew adds: “This year’s investment has also allowed us to add a new corner cleaner and a sash horn miller. This means we can now manage the run-through sash horn process fully in-house and has removed our dependency on third parties manufacturing it for us. This ultimately benefits our installers as it gives us much greater flexibility on lead times.” Matthew is now looking ahead to the next phase of Glazerite’s plans. He adds: “We are continually trying to find ways to broaden and improve what we offer our installers, whether that’s enhancing our production facilities, investing in new technology and machinery or adding to our service offering. The introduction of Timberweld has been a real game-changer for us and our customers, and we’re looking forward to finding more ways to meet the needs of our installers and their customers.”
  |   Tags: Glazerite, Halo

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