Even those relatively new to the window industry will be aware of its history. How in the 80’s it had its hay day because every man and his dog needed new PVC-U windows, and then how 20 years on we became a victim of our own success and had a much harder time selling a PVC-U window second time around – after all why should a homeowner replace their existing long-life PVC-U windows with new ones just the same? A few things helped us through that stage, such as big advances in the fields of security and energy efficiency, but on the whole we’ve all had to look at ways to diversify.
Fabricators are making a wider variety of products and providing more choice of colour and sealed unit specification for example, while installers are fitting the latest trendy and aspirational orangeries and bi-fold doors, as well as well-established roofline, garage doors and flat roof solutions. They’ve had to learn new skillsets along the way and adapt to what their customers need.
A one trick pony?
At the top of the chain amongst the window systems companies, it’s perhaps a bit more complicated. We need to work with our fabricator customers to give them what they need, in exactly the same way they need to adapt for their installers, but what more can systems companies do, other than extrude lengths of PVC-U profiles?
For a while now, systems companies have traversed into the realms of popular home improvement door products such as patio doors, but for some the product range they can supply is limited to a relatively small selection of offerings because of a conflict of interest with their fabricators. Synseal has taken a different approach by working in close partnership with its fabricator customers to almost become an extension of their factories.
Continuing to Evolve
To our knowledge we are one of just two systems companies now capable of offering the full range of window and glazed roofing products – or “flavours” as we sometimes like to call them – that we do. This is because in addition to three proven 70mm PVC-U window and door profile systems we can offer a wide choice of value-adding conservatory roofs including orangery designs, double and triple glazed sealed unit solutions, and a comprehensive range of optimised hardware, but now we can also offer our customers a range of ready-made, fully CE Marked specialist products. We call it our Evolve range and it includes vertical sliding sash windows, bi-fold doors and patio doors which are proving highly popular for both new build and replacement market applications.
Our policy is to only sell these Evolve fully-manufactured products to approved Synseal fabricator customers for onward supply into the market, and never directly to trade installers. In fact we started manufacturing these complete products at the request of our fabricator customers, because they were finding it difficult to keep up with occasional demand for value-added specialist products and wanted to concentrate their production effort on making standard casements and doors. And of course every fitted product must be fully CE Marked to meet with the Construction Products Regulation which is another consideration for any manufacturer and retailing installer.
Dedication is what you need
We would also suggest that the title ‘one-stop-shop’ doesn’t end with the variety of products supplied. It should also apply to the business and marketing support you receive from that supplier. This is something I think systems companies generally have got a lot better at in recent years, but once again Synseal has taken additional support to the next level. We can arm our diverse customers with a choice of retail or technical brochures for each of the products we sell, we can provide dedicated support to help achieve target window energy ratings and if required we can help them with website building and hosting services. However, for those more entrepreneurial customers that are looking for something a little more ambitious, we are capable of supporting key accounts in rolling out national campaigns if their business development strategies are well-targeted and make good, sound commercial sense to all parties involved. We have an effective marketing support function at Synseal and I would estimate that half of what we do is branded Synseal work while the other half is 100% customer focussed projects.
It’s perhaps nothing new that systems companies now offer services that are above and beyond reliable supply of proven window profiles, but with the latest industry forecasts suggesting substantial growth in our market in the next few years, we do expect to see movement among fabricators who will increasingly require additional support as their business grows.
For more information on the range of products available from Synseal, call 01623 443200 or visit www.synseal.com