Can you tell us a little about the strong foundations on which the company has been built? A short potted history of Morley Glass.
Born in Leeds I’m a Yorkshireman, through and through. I’m plain speaking, like to get a job done and believe in good value. I’ve always been a hard worker starting with a milk round and a paper round when I was still at school. I worked as a production manager at a glass company for more than eight years and then decided to launch Morley Glass and Glazing in 1998. Our original product range was sealed unit manufacturing and employed 4 people. In 2003 we introduced ScreenLine integral blinds from Pellini in Italy. We’ve developed a great relationship with them and can now get deliveries in just 10 days and now dominate the market with 75% share of UK sales. This niche product helps to differentiate Morley Glass and is helping to grow the business by 30% year on year, mainly down to the increase in the bi-fold door market and the trend for more glass and light in residential properties.
Are there any new expansion plans?
Last year we invested more than £1m moving to a 49,000 sq ft factory and office space in Leeds, creating the world’s largest dedicated factory for manufacturing ScreenLine® integral blinds into insulating glass units. The new premises have enabled us to double our production capacity, triple our footprint and create at least five new jobs on top of the 74 people we already employ. The new premises have allowed us to work more efficiently, invest in new machinery, improve our showroom, and install a new customer training facility.
There have been a few storms in this industry over the years, why do you think Morley Glass and Glazing has survived and been so successful?
The key to our success has been our specialism in the manufacture of sealed units with integral blinds inside. Operating with a niche product that is highly desirable – even in a recession – has helped the business to flourish. We’ve got some great people here who have certainly contributed to the success of the business plus our marketing leading 10-day delivery schedule with our exclusive S159 Grey slat is a truly unique selling point.
What developments are due to be introduced this year in terms of the product range?
We’ve got some fantastic new products in the pipeline. The new SL16 ScreenLine® integral blind system is ideal for use in composite doors and vertical sliding windows due to its slimline 10mm slats, making it the first integrated blind system that is suitable for use in a 16mm cavity. The range includes the slider controlled SL16S Venetian, as well as the SL26C Venetian with cord control.
We’ve also developed SmartMotion, a unique interface that helps installers quickly and easily incorporate ScreenLine motorised integral blinds into any home automation systems.
Why have these been initiated?
Both products fill gaps in the market and meet customer demand. The exclusive slimline SL16 means integral blinds can now be fitted in composite doors and vertical sliding windows – opening up a whole new market and product offering for some installers. While the home automation interface was developed in response to demand from customers who wanted an easy way to integrate their blinds into home automation systems.
What makes the company so different to other companies out there?
Our commitment to customer service is a true differentiator. This encompasses our “can-do” attitude and speedy response times in terms of providing quotes and delivery schedules of just 10 days to the fact that we employ service engineers who travel around the country providing training, installation support and after sales support.
What solution(s) do you provide that other companies don’t?
We’re a very solutions-focused company and will always go above and beyond to support our customers. Our high-quality product range that can be delivered in just 10 days is the best solution that our customers value.
In terms of customer support – what do you offer that helps them to grow their business?
Our customer support package is comprehensive and includes product brochures, point of sale materials, demonstration units, customer training, lots of advice, a speedy service and a team of service engineers who are constantly on the road, ready to help.
What would do you think customers would say are your greatest attributes as a company?
I’d like to think that they’d say we’re easy to deal with and we won’t let you down. I’m totally focused on running the best business this can be, so that staff are happy and customers are delighted.
Where do you see the company five years from now and how will you go about achieving this ambition(s)?
Our move to larger premises last year means that we are well placed to continue our 30% year on year growth rate. My aim is to develop a senior management team who can take on the day-today running of the business, allowing me to be Managing Director and maybe even fit in a few more holidays!
There’s a lot of political turmoil at the moment, do you see that affecting business for you?
The Brexit vote was the worst day in my life. Importing products from Italy means that we are very sensitive to the Sterling exchange rate and rely on a good trading relationship with the EU. I watch with bated breath to see what deal Theresa May can strike.
What changes to the industry as a whole would you like to see introduced?
I’d love to see the industry value new product innovation more and stop competing on price. Consumers recognise good quality products when they see it and are willing to pay a fair price for quality and innovation. But all too often companies try to undercut each other and drive down the value, which makes it a very difficult industry for everyone.
So for Morley Glass there have been a lot of great achievements – which would be the one that stands out the most? What is your greatest achievement to date.
Seeing the company go from strength to strength with the support of my team and my wife and son has been incredible. I’m also very privileged to be in a position where the business can put something back into the local community and I’m very proud to be supporting small charities and grass roots sports clubs.