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new livery for

synseal’s delivery

Synseal wins deloitte indy 100 award for fast growing businesses

Synseal was ranked

76th in the

Deloitte Indy 100 awards for the UK’s fastest growing companies. The competition, run jointly by Big 4 professional services firm Deloitte and the Independent on Sunday, examines the growth rates of over 6,100 middle market companies with sales of £5-100 million. The winners, identified through Deloitte research carried out in conjunction with Professor David Storey at the University of Warwick Business School, demonstrated extraordinary and sustained growth over the last four years and were profitable in their most recent accounts. Companies over £10 million must have shown a 15 per cent increase in sales for each of the last four years. The companies were then ranked by compound growth over the last five years, with the top 100 ranking companies identified as winners.

The entire Synseal fleet of 17 tonne delivery vehicles is getting a face lift. The eye catching livery will be rolled out over all 37 vehicles with the bold design featuring on the curtain walling, back door, cab door and wind deflector. Terry Shakespeare, Transport Manager for Synseal comments: "Although we don’t Transport’s Simon Clarke and Terry Shakespeare

supply installers directly we want to

Synseal’s technical vans provide the support fabricators need

create a pull through for our customers. We hope this new livery will do just that by raising awareness among fabricators, their installer customers and the end user, the homeowner. With two trucks and a long wheel base transit completed so far, we’ve already had positive feedback on the design and colours from our customers."

Synseal appreciates every conservatory roof is different. Its four new technical vans are designed to bring the technician and new tools together to help fabricators with the initial set up, if they are new to Synseal. . Dave Bingley, Conservatory Operations Manager of Synseal, comments: "The technical vans are great for getting initial machinery out to new fabricators. Having the expertise and machinery there at the same time makes the set up time quicker. We also use the vans as part of our ongoing technical support scheme for existing fabricators and their installer customers.

David Wenborn, Deloitte partner comments: "Market conditions have presented many challenges to fast growing businesses in recent years, yet Synseal Extrusions continues to prosper and develop. The resilience of the Deloitte Indy 100 award winners brings great strength to the UK economy." Nick Dutton adds: "We are delighted to receive a Deloitte Indy 100 award. The awards are a showcase for fast growing businesses, recognising our ability to provide a unique service to customers as well as our flexibility in a constantly changing and demanding market place."

the global dream revisited

ISSUE NO.13 Autumn 2004

the SYNSEAL times the times Synseal invest £9.5 million in 18 months to maintain the momentum Synseal’s growth in window profile and in conservatory roof systems in the last few years has astonished the industry. While many of our competitors ground to a halt in the last eighteen months, and others slipped back, we’ve picked up speed. The question many of our rivals ask is whether Synseal can keep it up? Will a flood of orders cause it to bottleneck in order processing, production or distribution? It is no mean feat, but Synseal anticipated that possibility and invested accordingly so resources have kept pace with demand. "In total we invested £9.5 million in the last eighteen months," says Nick Dutton, Sales and Marketing Director, "to maintain the momentum and keep customers happy. We put in another new factory, new extruders, and we doubled our raw material mixing capacity with a new blending plant. We invested in injection moulding machines

the EVie has landed

so we could make all the conservatory roof components in house to give us, and our customers, a competitive edge. We added new conservatory tooling, commissioned additional state-of-the-art polycarbonate sheet cutting machinery and a one-of-a-kind, automatic conservatory roof packaging plant. Read more about all of this in this edition of the Synseal Times. "We’ve taken on more people too, whilst improving our IT systems so we can accept and process orders faster and more efficiently, while giving customers immediate confirmation that their orders are in the system. "Our philosophy is to invest before we need to, so our customers always get the best quality at the best prices without delay or disruption. We aim to make good profits so we can continue to invest in our customers’ growth, and therefore in our own growth."

what’s going on in conservatories? “In two words – a lot! And it’s precisely these exciting changes that are driving Synseal’s massive £9.5m investment to ensure our customers keep growing to reach their full potential. Some of you may have read news of the conservatory market in recent editions of the Financial Times (21st September 2004) or the Daily Telegraph (29th August). Huge developments are afoot and the National business press are picking it up. Journalists from both the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph were especially interested in how Synseal’s customers’ growth has taken us to number two in the market by mid October. According to the reports, Ultraframe’s market share had slipped to 34 per cent, as K2 and Synseal began aggressive growth. Ultraframe now commands just 23.5 per cent of the market, with Synseal controlling 19 per cent and K2 16 per cent. “The conservatory market is reported to be continuing its pattern of growth despite some companies talking the market down. As reported, industry specialists Robert Palmer’s figures suggest growth of 4%, and Michael Rigby Associates’ growth forecasts have pared back from 12% to 5%. But both independent sources suggest growth, not decline. Synseal and its customers agree that the market is not slowing. And we’re aiming higher. As you can see from this edition of the Synseal Times, we’ve invested £9.5 million in 18 months because we’re committed to the continuous development of the production process, innovative product developments and marketing support. We are committed to ensuring our customers remain competitive in what is still a competitive but profitable growth market.” P.S. To read the national press articles in full, visit

Nick Dutton. Sales & Marketing Director

In the last issue of the Synseal Times, we The EVie is a specially designed vehicle that will be announced the imminent arrival of our new used to present Synseal’s Global conservatory roof Exhibition Vehicle (EVie). We invested £200,000 in system in the field, wherever you are. The floor space, which is an astonishing 550 square feet, is the EVie so installer customers of our split into two areas – the showroom and the conservatory roof fabricators could be involved in the process and co-own the decision to change to presentation and meeting area. Synseal. "We can now match the level of presentation we offer at the Synseal site, on the road," explains Kevin Harvey, Director of Sales of Synseal. "And prospects who have used it so far, love it.

copies have already been snapped up. "We have invested over £50,000 in the combined 41,000 books," comments Nick Dutton. "We had to print more because not only have we run out of this premium marketing support item, we are also taking the opportunity to incorporate the latest information on the roof. As with the original, the reprints will come with the option of overprinting which means customers can personalise the book for their own business while benefiting from the investment from Synseal." FM 31451



(01623) 443200



(01623) 550243

BS7950/7413 KM 41324

If you would like extra copies of The Synseal Times for your sales teams, showrooms etc. Call Phil Else on 01623 443 200

rs to ct ries w s s

Synseal has reprinted another 25,000 copies of the ‘global dream’ hardback book, despite only being launched less than 12 months ago. The original 16,000

e u m d o t s pro e u c n

the Synseal continues to be busy investing time and money into the development of its production process. By increasing capacity to stay ahead of increasing demand, our customers will continue to get the high quality products they’re used to. Steve Musgrave, Production Director of Synseal explains where this latest round of investment has been spent.

conservatory saw centre Synseal has invested over £100,000 in a new conservatory saw centre. Rather than having to manually feed each piece individually, the machine auto-feeds 20 lengths of profile at a time. The computerisation means that the accuracy and consistency is superb. The saw centre has now been fully operational since July and we are delighted with the results. The increase in Synseal’s conservatory roof sales has made us look closely at areas we can automate to keep quality high, but costs down for our customers.

times synseal launches

new polycarbonate cutting table unique to UK The new polycarbonate cutting table recently installed by Synseal is the only one in the country. The table has replaced two separate machines to improve efficiency. It never needs to be idle as one bed can be loaded while the other is being cut. The company that built the twin bed table had received no interest in it because other companies just don’t cut enough volume to warrant it. In contrast we were cutting 120 polycarbonate sheets per day, so we put the idea into action and it has more than justified its investment.

XT4 biggest

new box gutter gallows bracket



and glazing bar ever Synseal is launching a new glazing bar for both the Shield and Global conservatory roofs. The gargantuan bar enables spans of up to 4m without the need for extra reinforcing or bolster bars even with 800mm centres! This means easier and quicker fabrication and an even better looking conservatory. This new section has been designed to retain the common 78mm height shared by all Synseal’s other glazing bars, so that it can be cross-utilised with other sections without compromising the aesthetics. "The XT4 has been designed as a result of a customer suggestion to our Syntek website," explains Nick Dutton. "Customers appreciate the fact we listen to what they want and act on it. This is just another example of us doing just that. "







development team will be the company’s own box gutter



Nick Dutton comments on this






always recommended the

increasing numbers and improving quality We have also invested nearly £300,000 in a new Conservatory Eaves Beam Preparation machine to automate the drilling and routing process. The necessary information is fed directly from a computer to give pinpoint accuracy. The new machine is quicker and produces less wastage. With sales of our conservatory roofs increasing we are constantly looking at ways to become even more efficient.

all wrapped up We have also recently spent nearly £200,000 in a wrapping machine that’s especially designed to increase the speed and efficiency of the packing process, but also to ensure that when the product is delivered to our customers, it is the same high quality as when it leaves our factory. The wrapping machine is fully automated and includes conveyors either side to maintain the speed. It takes up 189m2 which is more space than Synseal started its conservatory department in! But it can pack an entire conservatory roof in 6 minutes, something we need to do to keep up with the volume our customers are selling. The speed of the new wrapping machine will only be restricted by how fast the pieces are loaded onto the conveyor.

new polycarbonate closure profile

application of the gallows bracket in our structural

Whatever the product, long supply chains mean more complexity and more associated

guides, but until now we

costs as each supplier adds their margin. It’s not only the costs that multiply. Room

had to rely on an external

for error, and the levels of frustration also increase. That’s why Synseal

supplier. So to make it a

always aims to keep its supply chain as short as possible, the latest evidence of this being the launch of its own


polycarbonate closure profile. "The new profile


looks better on the end of the polycarbonate roof,

customers, we’ve invested

with a sculptured shape that we have designed to

effective for



co-ordinate perfectly with the glazing bar top


cap," explains John Rosser, Production Director

software upgrades to bring

of Synseal. "We can match it so well because

yet another element of

we are now manufacturing the closure




profile in-house. This means we have more

manufacturing in house.

control over the quality of product we

This ‘made to measure’

supply, so our customers get a better product at the end of a shorter supply chain. The new closure is available in all of our profile colours."

gallows bracket also results in a perfect fit and colour match for our fabricators."

Nick Dutton, Sales and Marketing Director of Synseal argues that manufacturing is at the heart of innovation, productivity and profitability, and as markets hot up, new business models mean there’s no longer any room for non-producing agents.


switches to global

The Trouble with

VIRTUAL MANUFACTURING The TUC recently reported 198,000 UK jobs lost in manufacturing from April 2003 to March 2004 and called for urgent action. Reports in the media have highlighted the threat to Britain’s manufacturing base from China, India and Korea which are growing rapidly and proving to be competitive in quality and price. The threat to employment was further underlined when Dyson, the innovative household appliance manufacturer, transferred its manufacturing base to Asia. It cited a number of reasons, the most significant being the massive differential in the costs of manufacturing. Scratch beneath the surface though and you’ll discover many other reasons apart from cost as the key drivers behind the decline in manufacturing in this country.

Getting your hands dirty It’s just defeatist nonsense, negative thinking - an excuse to avoid getting your hands dirty. It has become fashionable to paint services as good and manufacturing as old fashioned, just an early stage of development of a country or a business. Many got carried away by some of Britain’s high profile manufacturing failures and have publicly stated that Britain can no longer compete in manufacturing and that we’re just no good at it now. Companies get seduced by the more fashionable idea of outsourcing, salivating at the prospect of extra profit for less effort. Many were enticed by the idea of the high margins and low overheads of being a ‘virtual company’ or a non-producer. For some, scrapping the manufacturing model – keeping their hands clean – seemed a clever, progressive thing to do. But, if you can’t get manufacturing right, then ‘outsourcing’ – whether to other companies at home or abroad – is not necessarily the answer. And when markets and routes to market start to

glass age/2004

shift, such a model simply pushes problems downstream. But manufacturers who take manufacturing seriously employ smart thinking and techniques like lean manufacturing to cut double handling, excess stocks, waste and lengthy lead times to transform their operations. Ally that to the benefits of smart design and innovation and you have an enduring competitive edge.

One level too many In the conservatory market, some conservatory system ‘manufacturers’ chose to outsource the dirty stuff – manufacturing – and got others to make their product before shipping it back for assembly and packing, and the addition of a juicy margin. The product is then sent off to fabricator customers, who make it, and sell it to installers who in turn sell it to the public. As long as the market is small and high priced this model works. But once a mass market opens up, it’s no longer viable. As the market becomes more competitive, there’s not enough margin left in this type of outsourcing model to share between everyone. There is at least one level and one margin too many in the supply chain. And someone’s got to go. So inevitably some fabricators switch to brands that allow them to continue manufacturing while paying for their overheads and making the margins they need. Those who stay however, have to face up to seeing their supplier attempting to shorten the supply chain to preserve their margins. Some suppliers try to persuade fabricators to stop manufacturing by offering low margin ‘products in a box’. This will never work. Fabricators are manufacturers - not

stockists - and as such have hefty overheads in people and machinery that need to be paid for. It’s untenable and it’s probably just a temporary step towards the supplier going direct and competing with their own customers, rather than give up their virtual status and become a manufacturer. Most significantly it undermines the business model of the fabricator.

Nick Dutton, Synseal’s Sales and Marketing Director

Designing out; not sourcing out Like models in other industries, suppliers who use lean manufacturing, and clever innovation to ‘design out’ restrictions and costly bits, rather than taking the apparently easy option of ‘sourcing out’, make the difference for the entire supplier chain. Take conservatories. Using one component instead of three or four traditional parts, brings benefits in terms of time, money and hassle. It also results in a stronger product. Installers who used to take 3 days to install a conservatory can now install the roof in 43 minutes. Far from being the poor cousin in the supply chain, manufacturing is at the heart of innovation, productivity and profitability. The philosophy behind every true manufacturer is the freedom and skill to design and produce products people want at the price they want. It is market led, not City boardroom and share price led. The danger – as some virtual ‘manufacturers’ are discovering – is that virtual ‘manufacturers’ have less of a grip on reality than real manufacturers. Like an avalanche, when the market moves, virtual manufacturers get swept quickly away. It doesn’t take long for customers to vote with their feet for product and prices they want.

Manufacturing is at the heart of innovation, productivity and profitability.

Leading conservatory roof fabricator, Bolton based Rooftec fabricated a well respected system for five years, but has now switched to global. And after just three months of taking on the new system, fabrication has increased from 35 to 55 roofs per week. Shaun Rosimus, Managing Director explains why Rooftec switched: "Our previous system was also a fitter friendly roof, but the market was getting more and more competitive and we needed to act fast to have a serious chance of competing. We wanted something we could sell to our customers, but also something that would be quicker for us to make. Having checked out several suppliers we opted for global. It offered the fastest fabrication time as well as the ability to become more automated, and as a result more organised on the factory floor. We now have a much cleaner and so more efficient factory floor thanks to global. "The aesthetics of global are also superb – it has a better, neater finish than our previous roof and as a result we are selling more. Three months

ago we were making 35-40 roofs per week. Just three months later, since introducing global we are making 50-55 roofs per week. We are aiming for 80-90 roofs per week in the next two months, or next year at the latest. We are confident this is possible with global, and we have the capacity to achieve this. Dealing with Synseal has proved to be far superior to dealing with anyone else we’ve ever dealt with. The speed of action is excellent because decision making is so quick."

water tight deal for lightwater park After a three-way pitch for the contract, Synseal customer Nu-Era landed the £250,000 job of installing a conservatory at the prestigious Lightwater Valley Theme Park.

Shaun Rosimus and Gary Corless of Rooftec

space age plastics to sell global conservatory roofs Space Age Plastics has expanded its product offering by adding the Global roof system to its portfolio. The decision – in the words of Managing Director, Colin Deuchars - was ‘to ensure we retain our competitive position in the conservatory market place, by having suitable product that meets all market sector needs’. Colin continues: "As competition within the industry continues to hot up, we realised that for us and more importantly our customers, widening our product range was the only way we’d all earn the sales and profits from conservatories that we deserve. We looked around at various other roofing systems before opting for Global, but thanks to its faster build times, and easier installation, customers told us they’d like to try it out.”

increase the proportion of our conservatory business to over 70% from our network of 3 branches across England. To achieve this, our suppliers need to offer, and deliver, the right product, at the right price, at the right time. We are ensuring we work with companies who achieve the balance between product development, marketing and true value for money. Clarity and openness of communications are also important because for Space Age, a supplier is more than just a supplier; it must be a true partnership. We are looking forward to achieving just this with Synseal and Global."

Space Age Plastics is going for growth and is significantly looking to increase its turnover. Conservatories currently represent more than 50% of turnover. Colin adds: "Going forward, we want to Space Age Head Office

Gordon Bosworth, Director of Nu-Era explains how they won the project: "We won it thanks to our professional presentation and our ability to work to tight deadlines. We used Synseal’s Shield Conservatory System to build this 50 square metre, double ended ‘P’ conservatory. We used Shield profile for the windows and doors adjacent to the conservatory that also needed updating. We were keen to work on this project because it will be seen by the 500,000 (approx) people per year that visit the theme park."

rjm windows plan to

double turnover

use shield Taylor Made was one of the first large fabricators to make a wholesale swing to conservatories. It is always on the look out for making the running in new markets and in spearheading new products. The company has just announced the latest evolution in its 19 year old history: it has started to use Synseal’s Shield conservatory system.

with synseal

incorporating efficiency and time saving features means our manufacturing time is cut down, without any compromise on quality. It’s the simple things that make the difference too. For example, Shield’s easy profile identification uses common sense product coding which is vital to keep our manufacturing as smooth and cost effective as possible. Specifically, the box gutter system is also ahead of its time - unlike some systems, it strips out unnecessary components.

Most of you will probably have read about the increase in polycarbonate prices that is affecting our industry and others. Suppliers are having to increase their prices to

cope with the increase in costs. Indeed our polycarbonate sheet costs have also risen, a rise that Synseal is absorbing to ensure our customers can

synseal’s installation guide

Robbie McKane, Partner of RJM Windows has been in the window industry for twenty-eight years. Along with his wife, this seasoned fabricator has built his company up to a £1.8 million turnover. Recently RJM consolidated its position, by opening a new showroom worth £50,000.

remain competitive in this competitive market. We’ve done this because we recognise that if you do well, so do we.

Synseal is now selling in excess of 1000 conservatory

Managing Director, Alan Fowler, explains the thinking behind this big decision: "We are currently supplying around 60 retail conservatories every week of the year from our showroom clearly visible from the M6/M5 junction, the largest conservatory showroom in the country. In addition we’ve also just established a new trade arm, BIY Conservatories Ltd”. Paul Wilding has joined the team with a specific aim to manage the new BIY project "The Shield product fits perfectly into our BIY plans" adds Paul. Paul continues, "From a fabricator’s perspective the Shield system is great because its second generation design

"The support from the Synseal team has been outstanding and highly professional. This goes especially for the technical support, and the breadth and depth of information they gave us to get going. Compared with other systems, the Shield product is well thought out and designed and has constant new product developments and upgrades. This combined with Synseal’s approach of really listening to customers’ feedback and suggestions, means they create confidence and enthusiasm about our new relationship - a refreshing change in this sometimes negative and competitive industry."

Synseal’s latest recruitment open day was an overwhelming success. Eager to participate in our continued expansion, nearly 700 people turned up to apply for 71 production and administration vacancies. .

roofs a week. One of the reasons it is so successful is because it’s so easy to install. But to make it even easier an assembly guide accompanies every Synseal roof that leaves the Sutton-in-Ashfield site. "We don’t know where the roof will end up when it leaves us," explains Nick Dutton. “That’s why we include an installation guide with every single roof. The simple step-by-step guide, fully illustrated with photos and easy to follow diagrams, demonstrates a job from beginning to end. It details what tools you need, how to take good care of products on site, as well as taking you through the actual installation. The guide has been designed to ensure the quality products that

With the event proving even more successful than last year’s, demand for positions at Synseal reflects our standing as a major player in the window and conservatory markets. We already employ more than 600 people, but needed to expand our workforce to stay ahead of the demand for our windows and conservatories. Sales for conservatories are currently £2million per week. .

leave our factory are installed to the highest standards on site."

RJM showroom

Taylor Made’s showroom - the largest conservatory showroom in the country

Another large scale recruitment drive

The new showroom is the largest in Cornwall at 20x15 metres and contains four conservatories, sliding sash windows and doors. The showroom attracted 500 people on its first day. "At this rate, the new showroom will double our turnover by the end of next year," enthuses Robbie. "We are confident our sales will grow so much because of the new showroom but also because we have a strong partnership with Synseal.

The grass isn’t always greener

coming back to synseal As the last Window Benchmarks Report from Reputations Plus shows, Synseal’s customers are a loyal bunch. Seventy seven per cent of the Synseal fabricators

"RJM has worked with several well-known manufacturers in the industry including Rehau and Network Veka. We have watched Synseal develop from a small fabricator into the leading systems company it is today. Watching its growth, we believed it stood out from its competitors and on closer inspection we were right. It offers a good strong

interviewed described themselves as ‘very loyal’. "Although on the whole our customers stay with us, sometimes things go wrong," explains Nick Dutton. “Unfortunately, however in June 2003 one of our customers felt it was time for a change to pastures new. But we are delighted that less than a year later, Wharfe Valley Windows came back to Synseal."

profile at a competitive price with excellent delivery times and service."

"We were with Synseal for three years before we switched to another big new window profile company," comments Dave and Fiona Carter, owners of Wharfe Valley Windows. "But our customers weren’t happy with the new profile and we weren’t happy with the deliveries we were getting from our new supplier. We soon realised we shouldn’t have switched from Synseal. The Shield 70mm system is excellent – it’s what people want, which we found not to be the case with the other supplier’s system we chose."

Commenting on the latest recruitment drive, Nick Dutton says: "We’re delighted that our continued growth means we can create even more jobs. It’s nice to know that not only do people want to do business with us, but as one of the largest employers in the Sutton-in-Ashfield area, people want to work for us too." .

Synseal Times Issue 13  

The 13th edition of the Synseal Times, window, doors and conservatories industry information from the leading extrusion firm.

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