Hungry for Growth
GB FlexiForce INFO magazine #67, March 2014
PANELS FOR SECTIONALS DOORS
Italdoor Industrial “STD” and Residential “APZ” thickness 40 mm - 80 mm
thickness 40 mm
Italpannelli smooth panel is perfectly flat
NEW ITALDOOR “KI” Panel
in size 500 mm, 610 mm and 732 mm Service is getting more and more important nowadays. For this reason we now also produce and offer panels suitable for another famous brand.
www.italpannelli.it www.flexiforce.com 2
Editorial: Hungry for growth
News: FlexiForce companies and market updates
Up-selling: Beat the conservative sales channel, satisfy the end user!
Door Automation Update: Two winners
RSC residential system: New directions and options
Full vision sections: Outsource to FlexiForce!
Interview: Ton Peterse, R&D manager EMEA
New! Industrial sliding door hardware: Expand your product range!
The information presented in this booklet is subject to change. We regularly update, expand our product range, offer new services. We share all our news, even daily, with you via our website, our online product catalogue (no login needed!), our YOUTUBE/Vimeo channels FF-TV, our Flickr-photo stream and through the FlexiForce social media platforms on Twitter (twitter.com/flexiforce), Facebook (www.facebook.com/flexiforce), LinkedIn and Pinterest. Follow us to stay up-to-date with our news and information!
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Editorial (Frank Goedhart)
Editorial HUNGRY FOR GROWTH The best thing that can happen to a business, a market or a company is growth. Growth is the fuel for a healthy organization. A growing company attracts customers, employees and suppliers. A growing company offers opportunities to all involved. It challenges managers to give their best to enable and facilitate the growth. And last but not least, it generates the cash flow needed for a profitable business. Once a company stops growing, things get ugly pretty soon. Good people leave the company and cost cutting is the only way to maintain margins for a certain period. FlexiForce has, except from a dip in 2008, always been growing. Our company has always obsessively pursued ways to grow. Geographic growth, expansion of the product range and intensifying our market approach as much as we could. We love being builders, instead of “keepers”. This has resulted in where we are today, a company with 680 employees worldwide. Thanks to you, our loyal customers, who, in the majority of cases could grow “with us”. 2014 could turn out to be a good year for growth for our customers and with that, for FlexiForce. We have adapted our organization in such a way that we can focus fully on the needs of our customers in the EMEA region (EMEA = Europe, Middle East, Africa). Our new factory (15.000m2) in Hungary has large production capacity for state-of-the-art industrial hardware sets, full vision sections, pass door kits, pre-assembled torsion springs and RSC residential sets. Our product range is expanding with more RSC variations under which a tension spring option, a full new line “force” door automation and now even a start in sliding door hardware. Somewhere this year we will introduce you to our online web store with extremely easy ordering capabilities. New product configuration software will be ready to replace FF-Logic.
We recognize that in today’s market, our customers want to be able to personalize their door, to make it different from that of the competition. We have some ideas on “Clubline” door types, where we grant exclusive rights for a certain new hardware system to a limited number of companies in certain geographic areas. As you could understand from all information above, we are bursting with excitement and new ideas, with still our 34 year old mission statement in mind: Helping our customers in competing, by offering easy access to products and services, with which they can effectively focus on their core business, being a growing, successful door producer. Last but not least, the economic climate in a growing number of European countries is showing the first signs of recovery. So, let 2014 be the year of the independent door producer. With reliable support from the FlexiForce EMEA team. In this INFO#67 magazine you will find lots of examples on products and services that will allow you to grow your business. Do not hesitate to contact me personally for any idea or comment that you might have. We learn from you, so stay in touch! Enjoy reading this magazine.
Best regards, Frank Goedhart Managing Director FlexiForce EMEA E: firstname.lastname@example.org nl.linkedin.com/in/nlfrankgoedhart/
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News FROM FLEXIFORCE COMPANIES AND MARKET UPDATES
Opening ceremony FlexiForce Debrecen In January the new production facility of FlexiForce in Debrecen, Hungary was officially opened. During a ceremony where international management and all FlexiForce Hungary employees were present, the ribbon was cut by Bert Fransens (CEO of FlexiForce Group) and Imre Olah (Managing Director FlexiForce Hungary). Both Bert and Imre spoke about the pride of opening a new production plant (15.000m2) and both took a short look back at the history of FlexiForce in Hungary, since 2001. The day ended with champagne and dinner buffet.
FlexiForce exhibitions in 2014 The show that we all appreciate most, R+T 2015 in Stuttgart is still a year away. This year or course FlexiForce staff will be visiting as many local or national door exhibitions as we can. We exhibit on two shows this year: • IDA EXPO, Las Vegas, USA, April 23 - 26, 2014. • Equip’Baie 2014, Paris, November 18 - 21, 2014. Of course we will inform you what will be our main display on these shows, but pencil these dates in to your agenda, because you are more than welcome to visit our booths in Las Vegas and/or Paris!
New FlexiForce organization for EMEA Last three years have shown a solid growth in FlexiForce Group revenues, subsidiaries and number of employees. Following on the acquisition of Helton Group in Canada in 2012 and in line with the intensified distribution network in Europe, FlexiForce Group is now adapting her organization to this growth. “We want to be ready to support also future growth”, states Bert Fransens, CEO of FlexiForce Group. “That is why we have decided to create four clear divisions within our group of companies, with dedicated management per division.”
These 4 new divisions are: • FlexiForce EMEA, comprising Europe, Middle East, Africa. • FlexiForce Americas, comprising Canada, USA, Mexico and Latin America • FlexiForce APAC, representing the Asia Pacific region • P C Henderson, per January 1st in FlexiForce Group, global division for sliding and folding door systems and parts. These divisions will be headed by four dedicated Managing Directors, which all report directly to Bert Fransens, who remains as CEO of FlexiForce Group. For FlexiForce EMEA, as per the first of January 2014, Frank Goedhart is being appointed as responsible Managing Director. Being already in the company for 15 years in sales and marketing, he will now be leading the European subsidiaries: FlexiForce Netherlands, FlexiForce Poland, FlexiForce Hungary, FlexiForce Iberica, FlexiForce Italy and FlexiForce Turkey, to further growth. “I believe in the strength of the independent European door assembly industry. We will focus even more on delivering what our European customers need in order to grow their business.” says Frank Goedhart. “I think it is clear that product innovations, expanding our product range with adjacent door type products and a continuous focus on decreasing the integral total costs of the sales channel are ingredients for future growth in this market.”
The FlexiForce Americas division will continue to be lead by Mike Rauch, Managing Director of FlexiForce North America, responsible for the FlexiForce locations in Abbotsford BC Canada and Dixon IL USA. Eric Wang is responsible for FlexiForce China and Duncan Moncrieff remains as Managing Director of P C Henderson. Bert Fransens concludes: “A clear structure, with more room for specific attention and offerings per geographic area. We believe our customers worldwide will benefit from this new setup. We remind ourselves all the time that growing to an organization that employs today 680 people, was only possible thanks to a loyal and healthy customer base. I am convinced this is a good next step in our consistent strategy to grow our business”.
Bert Fransens CEO
Mike Rauch FF Americas
Maikel Veenboer CFO
Yvonne Visscher Mngt Assistant
Gert-Jan van Holland Purchasing
Frank Goedhart FF EMEA
Eric Wang FF APAC
Duncan Moncrieff PC Henderson
Julian Lopez FFES
Mert Kaptan FFTR
Hans Lubbers FFNL
Imre Olah FFHU
Ton Peterse R&D EMEA
Julio Gonzalez FFIT
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Jan Moszczynski FFPL
P C Henderson now part of FlexiForce Group FlexiForce proudly announces that, as of January 1st 2014, the British company P C Henderson Ltd. has been added to the FlexiForce Group structure. P C Henderson has long been acknowledged as the world leader in the design and manufacture of Sliding Gear Parts and Systems for sliding doors and folding doors. P C Henderson is based in the UK, with head office in Bowburn, and has subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Ireland. “I am very happy that we expand our business with the activities of P C Henderson” says Bert Fransens, CEO of FlexiForce Group. “Similar to the position of FlexiForce in the overhead door market, P C Henderson is a component and system supplier to the sliding and folding door market. A comparable business model in an adjacent industry. That is why I expect a lot of synergies in working closely together with P C Henderson.” Bert Fransens continues: “We have high ambitions with P C Henderson. Of course, combined sourcing and production activities will lead to improved efficiencies in the supply chain. But furthermore, Duncan Moncrieff (CEO of P C Henderson) and myself will focus on intensifying the distribution network of PC Henderson worldwide and on investing in product innovations, because we are determined to grow P C Henderson turn-over significantly. Although P C Henderson has a history of nearly 100 years, we both feel that this is a promising new chapter in the companies existence.” The customers of both FlexiForce as P C Henderson will be informed on how they can profit from this new situation. FlexiForce will compose a compact industrial sliding door product range to be added to the standard FlexiForce price list and online catalogue.
Drones over FlexiForce marketing The FlexiForce marketing team is always looking at other industries to learn on new technology, new trends or new social platforms, that could work also in communication towards our customers. Jeroen de Graaf, our marketing assistant, found a way to literally expand our horizon by investing in a so called drone. It allows us to make stunning movies and pictures of our production and warehouse sites. See the results on our FF-TV channel on YouTube (subscribe to this channel to receive all new movie announcements in your mailbox). Do you want our drone to “shoot” your company facilities? Contact us and we will investigate how we can make that practically work for you.
Social media Sometimes we tend to forget that still a number of customers are not as “digital” as the others. This group of customers misses out on our, often daily, communication on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on our website news. We do send every week an email news letter to a growing number of customers. If the majority of the information you will find in this magazine is completely new to you, you might want to step up to the digital era and find us on www.flexiforce.com and on our social platforms. Following us does not affect your privacy, it increases your insight and updates on FlexiForce. Need help? Let us know!
Panel variations: 555mm You might have missed our introduction of 555mm end caps for Epco panels. We highlight this once more, because the panel height of 555mm provides in many cases (door heights) the solution for making a garage door without trim-cutting the top panel. This saves a lot of work and it allows you to supply doors with all panels being of the same height. Efficiency!
Shop online! FlexiForce Web Store 2014 Our business model, being a technical wholesaling company, offering a wide and deep product range in components for doors, makes us ideal for setting up an online web store. Not a standard web shop, where customers need to re-enter each order that comes out of their own company software system, but a smart one that allows fast and easy ordering. Other features will be the guided selling options, showing you how you can profit from related products or cheaper alternatives to the products that you have selected. We aim to be “live” with this web store after summer, starting with FlexiForce Netherlands customers.
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FF-TV new videos There are two online channels on which we display to you our movies. YouTube and Vimeo. Subscribing yourself to these channels will give you instant email updates on when we launch a new video. We strongly believe in videos/ movies as an easy and visual medium for explaining on new products, installations, market/door related information and more. See the latest videos:
Fun with hardware
General Introduction to FlexiForce products
Introduction of the force100 product range
MyQ Internet Acces to Liftmaster Garage Door Opener
Product Range Door Automation
From square to hexagonal headed bolts Most of our products on the residential shaft system are now equipped with key 13 hexagonal bolts. Replacing the old USA-type square headed bolts. We will step-by-step try to make installation of a garage door system possible with a limited number of different tools or spanners.
Fun with hardware: FlexiForce HQ office furniture
It was the CEO of Google that claimed that working 20% of your time on non-business-related projects, would boost the creativity in your company significantly. In FlexiForce, the R&D team already came up in the past with “non-door-related” hardware projects like the foosball table and beach chair. Now they have taken a next step: All office desks in FlexiForce Group Headquarters are now made out of door panels and door hardware. Neat design! See on FF-TV how Jildert Gaastra explains the back grounds of “Fun with Hardware”.
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SpringForce and Create languages Our online configuration software Create, for residential hardware sets, and SpringForce, for online spring calculation and selection, have now been updated and have become available in the following languages: Nederlands, English, Francais, Deutsch, Italiano, Magyar.
FF-Logic replacement FF-Logic, our software configuration program for industrial hardware sets, was launched somewhere in 2002 and has since then successfully configured many industrial hardware sets. Either produced by FlexiForce or produced by our customers in their own production facility. Now, in 2014, we will replace this program, with brand new software that will be able to cope with all new webbrowsers, windows-versions and that will be able to include all current FlexiForce systems and products. Knowing that software development is always subject to delays and unexpected back-drops, we roughly announce that the software will be available somewhere in 2014. Soon more news!
P.O.T. = Product Of Today = University movies Last year we started by educating our customers and ourselves with what is known as “PRODUCT OF TODAY” movies. Weekly we present a video in which an R&D engineer highlights one product, its features, application range and practical installation tips. In maximal two minutes “university” we explain often forgotten products. By now we have already made over fifteen different movies. Find them all on FF-TV (Vimeo) or on our English website page “Product Of Today”.
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Door Automation Update
DOOR AUTOMATION UPDATE
With last year’s introduction of two new state-of-the-art door automation product ranges for both industrial and residential overhead doors, we are confident that this year we will be able to support a growing number of our customers with this new exciting technology. We really feel that we now can offer two consistent winners:
Liftmaster Evolution Garage Door Openers
When the biggest producer of garage door openers worldwide, Chamberlain LiftMaster, sets the target to develop a complete new line of door openers specially for the European market, the expectations can be high. Last year they delivered to those expectations, with the introduction of a series of units that combine nice design with low noise operation, low use of energy, high door speed and advanced technology like the MyQ internet access.
• in the lower price range the LM50EVO with two Evolution remote controls included is already a sophisticated and competitive offer • for bigger doors or customers that like more convenience and door speed, the LM60EVO, LM80EVO and LM100EVO. Unique thanks to the simple add-on of the MyQ gateway. For home owners a great gadget to brag about on their birthday parties.
We were able to attract a lot of new customers to this product range. They explained that the major reason for switching from other brands to FlexiForce LiftMaster is the fact that the Evolution series is easier to sell to the end user, because of the build-up of the range:
We were told that starting with offering the LM50EVO often leads to getting the order with a LM60EVO or higher unit. Great up-sell opportunities! Contact your sales team for your specific Evolution package offer!
LM50EVO www.flexiforce.com 14
Door Automation Update
Force100XQ/C industrial door openers
We have introduced force100XQ/C to you last year. But we have no trouble repeating some of its important features: A strong, made-in-Germany, motor unit, with Kostal encoder. A very smart control system, forceIQ, that tells you exactly what to do, in words, in your own language. A range of units, started off with 100Nm motor, that soon will be completed with a 140Nm motor and a single phase 70Nm motor. In other words, force industrial door openers are your obvious choice in powering all your industrial doors. A complete range of “plug-’n-play” kits, like forceOSE, forcePSE etc, complete the offer.
Two new force highlights: force668LM A unique electric slide bolt that can be connected easily to the forceIQ control box. Offering additional mechanical security, operated by the motor unit.
forceIQ control in after sales We offer the control unit, forceIQ, also as a separate control box. Ideal for your after sales needs. Since we have prepared forceIQ for talking to many different encoders (GFA, Dalmatic, Hörmann, Nice, MFZ, Ovitor, Crawford) it is the one box you need to carry in your service vans, to be ready to exchange any other brands’ control box. The price of Euro 249,- (list price) is very interesting compared to the after-sales prices that certain OEM-producers dare to ask for their own control units. Contact us for more explanation!
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RSC = RELIABLE, SECURE, CONVENIENT.
Now even more variations to this theme!
RSC youtube.com/ flexiforce
Last year we introduced our RSC hardware system for garage doors. Looking back, we slightly underestimated the impact of having ourselves and our customers switch from five different hardware systems into one new system. But we are happy to conclude that thanks to the flexibility of our customers and the intensified support that we offered during the transition, we now see that RSC is THE system for all our customers today! We received special appreciation on the burglar safety aspect of RSC, on the ease of installation and on the range of up-selling options and accessories. We were happily surprised that a large number of customers is opting for the convenient “Flat-Bed-Pack” service for RSC. They receive our “made-to-order” complete kits, add their own panels to the pack and supply it to site. Low pre-financing and maximal flexibility!
RSC 2014: More choices!
During the transition process last year we received a lot of valuable comments from our customers on how to further improve and expand our RSC-range. Below we highlight the changes and future ideas on RSC.
RSC - Small improvements 2013/14:
RSC - More track options 2014
For some markets, the burglar resistant features of RSC are not extremely important. For customers in those markets we now offer the flexibility to change the RSC horizontal track to the lower cost RS200H track sets. We call this option: RSC Light (springs in front). One step further is to have, instead of the RSC vertical track set with so called “closed” guide rail (215VC), an alternative vertical track set, with more traditional “open” rails (215V). Here the rollers can be taken in and out at any location in the rails. Contact your sales team might you want to switch to these options.
No burglar safety = lower costs
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RSC-T = RSC with tension springs As strong believers in torsion spring technology, FlexiForce arrives late into the market with the RSC system equipped with tension springs. In the third quarter of this year we will offer a unique new system to the market, where the tension springs are integrated in the vertical track system. Unique is the drive through opening height of our system. And we are working on another unique feature of this system, but that is still classified information. Soon more news on this!
RSC60 = RSC for 60mm panels Sustainability and “green” are increasingly important topics in our market. Together with Epco, we developed a complete range of hardware parts that apply on the Epco 60mm thick panel. Now also we offer our RSC track system, as standard stock units, in the 60mm versions. Article codes RSC60V10 and RSC60H10 etc.
60mm kaart.indd 1
Renovation = 915REN alu profile
Renovation projects become easier to deal with when part of the track system can be moved into the days-opening. We invented a simple way of achieving that: 915REN is a simple click-on aluminium profile, anodized or brut, that can be clicked onto the 915VB vertical angle. The needed side seal is 1088. It elongates the flange of the angle and can be moved into the days-opening. Painted in the colour of the door, or in neat alu-look. Offering size flexibility without doubling your stock of track sets in your warehouse. SKU-efficiency and Click-on-Renovation!
RSCFB = Flat-Bed-Packs for RSC Explained before, so only a re-confirmation of this easy service: 1. You sell a door 2. You configure the hardware online in our Create software program 3. You order the complete cut-to-size kit, including all parts, options, automation etc., at FlexiForce 4. You receive the carton flat-bed-pack 5. You stack that pack onto your door panels 6. You send it to the site or take it into your installation van. It cannot get easier! Try it!
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Full vision sections
FULL VISION SECTIONS
Outsource to FlexiForce! The market share of full-vision door sections is increasing. That means that more and more doors, are completely aluminium full vision doors or at least have one or more sections in aluminium with glass. Full vision sections are also no longer just for industrial doors. We see a continuing worldwide trend that garage doors with high-tech, modern appearance are increasingly appreciated by the end user. So full-vision garage doors are no exception to the rule anymore. We should all embrace this trend since it will increase the value of the doors sold significantly! Growth opportunities! Making a full vision section is a complex process which you either must take seriously or stay away from. Many small- to midsized door companies do stay away from it and therefore are forced to buy their sections at higher pricing, often from their direct competitor in the door market. FlexiForce has set up a service for offering complete, made-to-order full vision sections from our facility in Hungary. Because of the exploding demand over the last year, now we have created a second assembly facility for these sections, in FlexiForce Poland. Quality, pricing and packaging is equal to that of FlexiForce Hungary. This is not the last investment, because before year-end we will be ready with a high volume, more automated production of full vision sections in our brand new factory in Debrecen, Hungary. And the configuration and ordering of the full vision sections will be offered online through our website, which makes it easy for you to quote your own door and to order the section(s) from FlexiForce!
Most important today is that we are ready now to receive all your orders! Challenge us for a quotation!
The basic principle is simple: 1. Use our excel calculation sheet (or later this year online sheet) for entering your door details. 2. Print the sheet on paper or to a pdf-file. 3. Email or fax the order-sheet to your FlexiForce sales team. They will confirm the price and delivery time. 4. Your sections will be shipped, in a neat export packaging, either with your hardware orders from the FlexiForce subsidiary that you work with, or directly from FlexiForce Hungary or FlexiForce Poland. The delivery time varies from 2 – 4 weeks from order date but let us know what you need and we will be flexible in helping you out!
Full vision sections
The basic product features and options are:
• Sections for – finger-safe panels, matching panel brands Epco, Kingspan, Thyssen, Tecsedo, Metecno etc. panel designs – Sections for industrial, non-finger safe panels • Glazing/filling: – Single > SAN-20 (2mm clear SAN) > PMMA-20 (Acrylic glass, 2mm) > XT-30 (Soft-tone acrylic, 3mm) > PMMA-40 (Acrylic glass, 4mm) – Double > SAN-20 (2mm clear SAN) > PMMA-20 (Acrylic glass, 2mm) > XT-30 (Soft-tone acrylic, 3mm) > PMMA-40 (Acrylic glass, 4mm) – Alubond Flat – Alubond Stucco – Alubond Flat-Stucco – Other. In some cases customers install grilles or other fillings themselves. We limit ourselves then to supplying only the glass laths and the rubbers. • Glass laths – Aluminium – Plastic • Powder coating – in any RAL colour (see powder coating aluminium description)
We acknowledge the fact that aluminium glazed sections are a very interesting growth opportunity for both you as for us. • We will invest in setting-up a state-of-art production facility in our new Debrecen plant • Our R&D department is running a project to reduce costs of the sections significantly • We look into sections of 60mm thickness • We investigate sections with integrated thermal break feature • Market demand for full vision doors with integrated pass door is evaluated. We are only just beginning! Contact your sales team to see how we can serve you with our full vision sections!
Furthermore you can select the number of fields per section, the number of sections per door, the section height and order multiple numbers of doors.
FlexiForce powder coated alu-sections treatment: The painting of the sections is done by a experienced partner. The profiles go before painting into a hot degreasing and passivation chamber. After that the profile/section is ready for a strong layer of specially selected powder coating. After coating, in FlexiForce production special care is taken to prevent oil, dirt or grease contaminations. A clean working place is the key to that. NB! There are certain RAL-colours that will need extra attention to make sure that the final colour matches your expectations. In these cases we might ask you for a colour sample.
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Ton Peterse, R&D Manager EMEA Ton has been working for FlexiForce since 1990, so he is really a veteran in the companies’ history. Started off as account manager for Central Europe, Ton is now already 14 years the head of our R&D department. An important job for a company that has “Innovations for overhead doors” in the pay-off of her logo. Time to sit down with Ton and hear his view on today’s market, products and future developments.
Hi Ton, you are one of the few in FlexiForce that has witnessed a major part of the companies’ growth and history? Yes, you can say that. When I started at FlexiForce, it was a company lead by its founder, Frans Meijer, with one facility in Barneveld and with 15 employees. Frans taught me a lot on the door business, on how to support door producers or help people to start up door production. When I was “educated” enough to go visit the customers, my region became Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands. It is good to see that the customers I visited regularly in those days, still are our customers today.
When did you move to the R&D department? Well, the technical aspects of the business have always had my interest. In the early days, the sales department set-up was such that each sales person had a “specialty” next to his sales job. Mine was in the technical background of our products and applications. Once the sales department grew bigger and Frank Goedhart came in as sales manager, somewhere in 2000, I was offered the opportunity to really switch to my passion, and become R&D manager with the assignment to set-up a bigger and more professional R&D department.
What is FlexiForce R&D today? We now have a central R&D department in the Netherlands. FlexiForce North America has its own R&D department in Abbotsford Canada and P C Henderson, recently added to FlexiForce Group, has an independent R&D team as well. So, my task is focused on the EMEA region. The department is located in the Inspiration Center in Barneveld, where also our customers are welcomed in the showroom and door centre and where the group’s marketing department is located. We have a team of 9 people. A testing engineer, a product expert for door automation, a product designer, quality engineer and a team of constructors. We design in 3D in Inventor 2014.
customers in order for them to make their own manuals and system drawings. In the near future we will need to work on BIM-files (Building Information Modelling) and on Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) for “green” buildings. We transfer from being a “development department” into the “know-how-centre” of FlexiForce.
Are all products designed by your department? The majority is. 50% of our products are produced by FlexiForce, the rest are what we call “trade”-items. Those trade items are in most cases made exclusively for FlexiForce, our design and made on tooling that is owned by FlexiForce. So really our own products, outsourced to third parties. In some cases we buy a product that is available as standard in the market. But again, most of the times, we think that we are able to develop something smarter, cheaper or better, a unique solution.
How does the innovation process work in FlexiForce? Of course, innovation is a big word. Often what we do is improve existing products, make it more cost effective by reducing components or material. Or expand the application range. Innovations that we are proud of, are for example the invention of the cable break device, the spring break devices for industrial and residential doors, our residential track systems. But also our 725V chain hoist, is an example of optimizing a known product. The idea for new products comes from a working group, called the FlexiForce Product Council (PC), where R&D, marketing, purchasing and sales sit together to determine the list of “wanted products”. Ideas come from customer comments during visits, benchmarking other industries, complaints, competition products and from our own department. It is in the nature of any technician to constantly look at the products that are on his desk and think “how can I improve this?”.
What are the main activities of your department? In the past, I remember, that the R&D team was working all day on new products only without a lot of paper work. The customer selected products and made his own doors, so installation and instruction manuals were not needed. Today with CE and legislation, that is really a different case!
What do you mean? Our activities today are much broader than before. You cannot just develop a new product, put a price on it and throw it to the market. Today a product has to fit into a system. It has to be tested on lifespan and certified against CE-norms. The product needs a clear manual for installation, use and dismantling. For marketing support we make instruction and introduction videos. We follow the CE-developments, we maintain and support internal FlexiForce departments in Factory Production Control quality system. We offer 3D-step-files to our
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“As a wholesaling company, FlexiForce has to find some ‘common ground’ in products and application, to be able to profit from high volumes per product. This is a challenge.” What is in the FlexiForce R&D pipeline today? That is classified information of course. But to give you a glimpse on what we are working on: The phase II of SafeStep pass doors. An exciting project on aluminium full vision sections. A new industrial hardware set. Expanding of our “force” line in door automation. The RSC tension spring system, described elsewhere in this magazine. And a lot of small, single but important hardware parts. Still plenty of ideas and products to improve. In fact, we need to develop to support our customer in being more competitive. Because that sells more doors and with that, more hardware!
What does the future of the overhead door look like?
What is your main challenge as R&D manager? Many challenges, but the main? First of all securing the processes in R&D. Making sure that the team of people works. The best ideas come from motivated people. Another challenge is preventing mistakes in the process. Another challenge is our time-to-market. Of course, my colleagues in marketing are pushing us constantly on this one. A relatively simple, single product, takes half a year to a year from first design to market introduction. Since we work with suppliers in the Far East, you need time for quoting, sampling, approving, release-for-production and finally have the product shipped to our warehouses in Europe. Time flies when you are developing. And we have around 45 projects running simultaneously, so that is a major coordination challenge!
Any other main worries? A lot has changed in the market compared to a decade ago. Our geographic region has expanded, and the customers have become more demanding in having “their own” door system. Something that will be perfect for German customers, is way too expensive for a customer in Portugal. As a wholesaling company, FlexiForce has to find some “common ground” in products and application, to be able to profit from high volumes per product. This is a challenge. Today in R&D, we think and design on door level, after which we break the door down into systems and the systems into components. All our customers are able to decide which product or system they can use to make their own doors. From cherry-picking out of our catalogue to applying complete systems like RSC for garage doors. Or take the route of asking FlexiForce to develop and produce a product exclusively for them. It is the customers’ choice and FlexiForce R&D and marketing must be ready to feed this choice with products. Having a clear project scope before starting the development process is vital nowadays.
That is hard to predict of course. In my opinion, based on the market drivers: design, convenience, sustainability, security and safety, the market demand will go into the direction of “green” doors. Green in materials, in recyclability but also in thermal values and insulation. Increased automation of doors with in residential applications, an integration with home domotica and electronics. More after sales opportunities. More specialty products. And of course cost reduction will always be on the agenda of us and our customers. Enough left to do!
New! Industrial sliding door hardware
NEW! INDUSTRIAL SLIDING DOOR HARDWARE
Expand your product range! Per the first of January 2014 a new business has been added to the FlexiForce group (see the News section of this magazine), P C Henderson. Since they are the world market leader and expert in sliding and folding door equipment, we now can give our FlexiForce customers access to a complete new part of the door market. Expanding your business with sliding doors, could be an interesting opportunity for growing revenues. We start with entering a compact, limited range of hardware parts for top hung straight sliding doors weighing up to 360kg. These systems are suitable for industrial and commercial applications such as warehouses, factories and agricultural settings. Eight systems will become available including wall fixed and soffit fixed options to allow for versatility and ease of installation. We look into allowing a door blade made out of standard sectional door sections.
The parts for these doors will be available from stock in all FlexiForce subsidiaries. For any other sliding or folding door or gate arrangement you might need, we are happy to refer you to the expert directly: www.pchenderson.com
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New products! 447STR, 450STR Everybody that has installed doors with double hardware (a double row of side hinges) knows what a hassle it can be to get the bolts and nuts in place without dropping them. These strips with bolts solve that problem. For industrial hinges with 45mm heart distance. The 447STR is double but breaks into single when needed. In that way, one product in stock is enough!
A4ETR7200, A5TR7200 Epco full vision reinforcement Two profiles that will reinforce the full vision sections made for Epco panels. The A4ETR top panel has a flange that provides connection to the A5TR strut. Now available! Check online catalogue!
422H304, 422R304 Stainless Steel hinges for Epco Stainless steel hinges for the finger-safe panels of Epco. Now available! Check pricing online!
Small SafeStep updates We are working on a complete updated SafeStep II system. But we already now introduce a new, more flexible pass door seal, type 1033LRS. And we will introduce a new internal hinge, 1034HSN, more stable and adjustable. Available soon! Follow our updates on our website.
645PL2 lock bar bracket This U-bracket will be standard in the package of our 645-40BL lock. Two holes with different heart distance to the panel enable always the right fit to the vertical track of our RSC system, with open rails or with closed C rails.
New Stainless steel windows We have improved and expanded our range of stainless steel square windows. The choice is now wider than ever before. 2435R1 and 2435R2 feature new framing (high quality!) and a double acrylic window cassette. The price of this version is very attractive. For customers that love to have â€œreal glassâ€?, we also offer 2435RS1 and 2435RS2, with a double safety glass cassette. Both versions will also become available in a version with sand-brushed (SB) glazing. Check out our online catalogue for the latest updates.
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1065PVC3000, 1065P spring filler system for 3 3/4” (95mm) After the successful introduction of our “tube and cap” spring filler system for 6” (152mm) springs, we now introduce the same set-up for 3 3/4” (95mm) springs. Flexible, cost effective and a good noise reduction. In stock now!
3022HD heavy duty suspension Looking at the sales volumes of our 3021-series of suspension brackets for horizontal garage door tracks, the majority of the doors in the market is now equipped with this solution. For bigger doors or more sturdy suspension, we introduced 3021H and 3021HL last year. Now we have the matching click-bracket available, 3022HD.
1030LXB3000 Bottom alu-profile A good example of a customer specific product. Now available to anyone who wants it! Easy fit and solid positioning are the main advantages of this bottom profile. It fits into Epco and Kingspan panels and you can slide in all major FlexiForce bottom rubbers. Not a standard stock item but available on forecast. Let your sales team know your demand.
we beat the heat
Winlock has been producing industrial fire-resistant
usage (steel, wood, stainless steel,â€Ś) to unique graphic
doors for over 10 years. Fire resistance is, however, not
coverings. We work every day on customised solutions for a
the only characteristic. Every Winlock Ei1 30, Ei1 60 and Ei1
wide range of demanding commercial sectors. Large
120 door can easily be made with soundproofing up to
petrochemical concerns, food and logistics companies,
50Db, burglar-proof features WK4, a smoke-proof design,
but also international airports trust in Winlock for their fire-
Ex design and a liquid-proof barrier; it also functions as a
regular door. The fact that each sector has different requirements and every customer has different needs means that all doors are made-to-measure. Extensive
Our customer and solution oriented approach has made us
personalisation is therefore possible, from specific material
the Belgian market leader in our niche for many years now.
Winlock | Weverslaan 32 | 9160 lokeren | T 09 340 50 20 | F 09 340 50 22 | inFo@Winlock.be | WWW.Winlock.be
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