Should Installers Be Buying-in Glazed Products in the Post-Lockdown Era?

One of the things installers have struggled with as the double glazing industry returns post-lockdown is IGU supply. It can be difficult to switch a business ‘back-on’. Fabrication is complicated enough as you need volume and to match your resourcing to it. For glass, it’s even more critical.

That’s why it has taken the glass sector more time to come back. As it’s a competitive market, there’s pressure on margin and IGU manufacturers needed to choose their moment very carefully. The net effect of that, however, was that a lot of installers struggled to get units. This meant they lost time on jobs chasing after the orders.

As a business, we are able to offer our customers a distinct advantage as they come back, in that our glass supply through Padiham, which the business brought last year, came back at the same time as we started fabricating again in March. This meant we could align IGU and frame supply, and offer a single delivery, since restarting deliveries on May 11 2020.

This does two things: It simplifies the operation of our customer’s businesses, with everything there on a simple order. It also allows our customers to complete jobs and get paid, which has supported their own cash flow, and ultimately our own. This has put us and them in a far better position going forward. We’ve seen a bounce in retail, which is great, however, there is still a sizeable chunk of the supply chain which remains under pressure.

As a business, we know about the rumours in fabrication and in glass supply. You need to be able to rely on your supply chain, and right now, there are installers who we’re talking to who don’t have confidence in their suppliers or their fabricators.

Should Installers Be Buying-in Glazed Products in the post-lockdown era?

Through Padiham, Emplas has the capacity to supply more than 15,000 IGU units per week from our 45,000 sq ft Lancashire manufacturing facility. This includes Saint Gobain’s highly popular Planitherm range. Within this facility, we’ve invested in new software, machinery and handling equipment. What this gives us is increased security within our own supply chain, and by association, those who buy glazed frames from us.

Covid-19 and lockdown have highlighted the challenges in the IGU supply chain. Putting that to one side, there are wider benefits to buying in glazed-frames. Integration simplifies your business at a time when retail has become far more complex.

This includes the automatic ordering of glass where customers buy glazed frames. Processed through our online ordering system, EVA, orders are automatically placed to a designated glass specification.

As part of our simplification of SBD, we’ve created dedicated tick box specifications as part of the online ordering process. This means that rather than having to remember and select requirements under Secured by Design, our customers can simply input window dimensions and then tick a SBD option.

These were wins for our customers pre-locking and pre-COVID but the value they deliver is now more. Customers buying in glazed frames get reliability in supply. They rationalise their ordering process, simplifying an area of operation in their business. They get a single delivery and a single invoice.

Should Installers Be Buying-in Glazed Products in the post-lockdown era?

We have made the safe operating procedures and guidance on safe working that we have developed for T&K available to our customers. Even with them, it takes time to adjust and retail has become more complex. If you can simplify an area of your operation, for example by automatically aligning IGU and frame supply, you get time back.

This doesn’t only apply to glass. If you purchase windows alongside your aluminium bifold doors, you can again strip complexity out of your retail business. We started to manufacture the AluK F82 bifold door last year because we could see market demand and we could add value to our customer through in-house manufacture. Again, however, it gives us increased control over supply and product quality.

The F82 and our window and door ranges are available glazed in a 10-day lead time. We’re happy to continue to supply unglazed frames and lead times to come down, with windows available in 5-days. The conversations that we’re having now with our customers, however, is that the benefits of single source for frames, IGUs and anything else, single orders, single deliveries, single invoices, outweigh the marginally longer lead time.

As your manufacturer, we become your administrative resource, pulling your order together and managing it. This leaves our customers to focus on sales and installation, providing them with the scope to successfully adapt their business to a new retail environment.

If your fabricator has left you waiting for IGUs, choose Emplas today. You can call us on 01933 674 880, email [email protected] or fill out our online contact form and a member of our team will be back in touch.

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