Glass News January 2024

Page 38


Pete Temprell Managing Director, Schüco UK & Ireland We think the year ahead certainly has challenges, but also plenty of opportunities for a company with the scale and support of Schüco. In the commercial market we see the issues of competency and sustainability having an ever-greater impact on product choice. The Building Safety Act provisions are starting to hit home and specifiers, contractors and property owners need the support of their systems house to ensure all competency requirements are met. Carbon control is also increasingly important, with investors looking to the supply chain to deliver on lower carbon buildings. For the systems house, this requires low-carbon product options combined with the design expertise to reduce the carbon emissions of buildings in use. The residential sector will undoubtedly be affected by inflation and higher interest rates. However, the market in the luxury sector remains strong, with high-income individuals prepared to pay for the best quality. Successful companies will be those with the resources to deliver on robust technical education and to drive product innovation to meet evolving market demands.


Neil Travers Managing Director, Production Software Technology (PST) 2023 has certainly posed many challenges for the industry, with installers vying for a reduced market share. Strategic approaches are needed in order to thrive, and I believe that gaining this competitive edge relies on embracing technology – and in particular, augmented reality (AR). Installers who have are better equipped to stand out from the competition – it’s why at PST, we’ve developed vsHome, a unique sales platform designed for the modern installer that allows for the design, visualisation, and pricing of home improvement products. vsHome AR, our companion AR app, then allows installers to share product designs directly to their customer’s phone or tablet to visualise what their new investment will look like as a life size representation attached to their home or presented on a tabletop. Despite growing popularity amongst consumers, thanks to modern TV programmes and video games, AR hasn’t been fully embraced within our industry – throughout 2024 and beyond, PST aims to change that, help installers meet consumer expectations, and thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

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Matt Thomas Managing Director, Haffner Ltd 2023 was undeniably a tough environment for the industry, with turmoil and high-profile casualties. But amid all the turbulence, the value of automation in navigating the challenges has never been clearer. Quite simply, sensible investment in machinery now allows fabricators to get ahead of competitors who are sitting on the fence. Overall, we saw 20% growth last year, with wins across the business, including the installation of 25 new machining centres, which represent the ultimate in automation solutions. It’s a trend we predict to continue, and we already have a strong pipeline of confirmed orders. We were also proud to be named Machinery Supplier of the Year at the G Awards for the second year in a row. One of the reasons was our commitment to innovation, which will continue in 2024 as we look to support more fabricators with the best in automated machinery solutions. I have no doubt 2024 will bring challenges, but this industry is resilient and I am confident it will be a positive year overall.

Tracey Jackson Business Development Manager, Howells Patent Glazing

Colin St John Commercial Director, Freefoam Building Products

2023 has been a rollercoaster. It started strong and then bombshell interest rate hikes caused the UK economy to crash and as a result, we’ve experienced a natural pushback on start dates and witnessed several long-established businesses flounder. We dedicated much of the year to R&D and product development, and I am pleased to say to we have several new products in the pipeline which we plan to launch later this year.

The Chinese Year of the Rabbit, 2023, stands for longevity, peace, prosperity. That wasn’t what we got, and 2024 may be tougher. The list of potential threats is long, from climate change, disruption from war, loopy governments, to a troubled housing market.

With more than 50 years’ trading under our belt we know that resilience and strategic planning and decision-making is crucial in challenging times, and we are still going strong. We are also fortunate to be included in the talks about the withdrawals of BS 55162 and its subsequent impact on other standards. The downturn may have been predicted but so has the natural bounce back. We are already witnessing this as homeowners remain resolutely committed to improvement projects and commercial contracts are busy booking in 2024 installations. We are hopeful of stability and a brighter 2024.

But for most of us, having survived Brexit, COVID-19, raw material shortages, global supply disruption, and 44 days of Liz Truss, this is a familiar landscape. Despite the disruption and threats, there are huge opportunities in Home Improvements, if you’ve got the right products. The Stayers and Can’t Sellers will continue to improve their houses and they’re not just looking to improve, but transform their homes, adding value and saleability. Exciting new cladding and internal panelling products from Freefoam give stockists and installers the products to wow these homeowner transformers. 2024 is the year of the Dragon: the mightiest animal in the Chinese Zodiac. Dragon people are active, brave, unafraid of challenge, and strive to achieve their goals.

Jason Bamford Managing Director, Regal Aluminium 2023 was a strong year for Regal Aluminium, with turnover up by 45%. I attribute our growth and resilience to our strong business foundation built on quality, service and support. Critical to this approach is being willing to flex your business to support the market. Our portfolio features the premium heritage and general aluminium products that are in high demand at the moment and look likely to remain strong throughout 2024 too. It gives installers what they need to tap into the market hotspots and secure the premium projects that boost their profit margins. As well as the products, we also have the service to match. It includes our distinctive USP of tailored marketing support and business development input that draws on my industry experience, which is perfect for ambitious business that want to move to the next level. For any business looking at what 2024 might bring, my advice is to focus on these fundamentals – and partner with suppliers who are as committed to your success as you are.

Are you ready to be mighty?

January 2024 |

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