We already have our fair share of industry bodies. We also have our fair share of opinions on them. Some we believe to be effective. Some we believe to be the very opposite of that.
But when the FIT Show kicks of at the end of May, we’re going to be getting another one, and it’s called Excellence As Standard – what I think will become abbreviated to EAS for short in the future.
Here’s what we know so far.
Creating a culture
This is a new installer scheme created by The Epwin Group.
They have a website: www.excellenceas.co.uk/#intro
They have a Twitter account: twitter.com/ExcelAsStandard
On their website this is what they state as their aim:
Excellence as Standard symbolises a pledge of commitment from our members to strive for excellence in fenestration. From day-to-day business operations through to product manufacturing processes and physical installations in the home, Excellence as Standard is a culture that permeates every level of a member’s business.
According to their website, installers who #takethepledge will have access to an academy, online high quality leads, marketing support and access to the network of products within Epwin.
You can register your interest on their website by filling in a form. Or you can see them at the FIT Show on stand B34.
Unlike established bodies which keep a check on installers at the installations level, it appears as though EAS is a scheme that looks to get into the installers as businesses. So rather than just ticking off a few boxes on site, EAS may want to look at how their members run their business, and all the other nitty gritty stuff.
One would guess that there is a code of practice that installers who wish to be members would have to adhere by. There’s no mention of it on the website, but I think that this would become clearer after the launch.
Not much else to know than that at this point, as that’s about it on their website. So I turn to as to why these scheme is being created.
For the industry? More sales?
The optimist in me wants to believe that the people at Epwin have seen the need for a strict, shining light of a business code that promotes installers to sell windows and doors to home owners in a respectable, honest, pressure-less way. There remains a problem in our industry with hard sell tactics, home visits that last too long, ridiculous discount structures and all the other well known problems. I would like to believe that Epwin’s new code for installers bans them from doing such things.
However, it may be an alternative method to drive sales of it’s products. On the holding page of the EAS website it states that installers will have access to the full suite of Epwin products via the company’s brands. I suspect that if installers sign up to EAS they will also have to commit to buying all their products under the umbrella of Epwin. If true, this creates solid routes of business from the installers who have said they would join up. If true, this also ties in installers, a risky business model should installers start to suffer from poor products or poor customer service.
So whilst I would like to say it is for the good of the industry, and there’s no doubting that the PR will say just that, it is more likely to be a method of boosting sales of Epwin products. At the end of May, when the FIT Show rolls around, I’ll be making a trip to stand B34 to find out more myself.
On a wider scale though, in an industry where we already have our fair share of industry schemes, bodies and initiatives, are installers going to be convinced to join yet another? My guess is that most installers have a pretty skeptical view of most bodies and schemes right about now. What is this one going to have that others don’t have that will be enough for them to believe it’s one that’s worth joining?
The ones already using Epwin products will be the easy converts. But that shouldn’t be the target of those Epwin reps going out to sign installers on. It is the ones buying from other suppliers and fabricators. And for me, there is a big opportunity here to steal business and lock it away in the Epwin cupboard. There are a lot of unhappy installers out there. Unhappy with the quality of the products they’re buying. Unhappy with their customer service. This could be an ideal chance for Epwin and it’s brands to go to the market and target the installers who are most unhappy, and are therefore most likely to swap suppliers. But that promise of change must be delivered. The state of fabrication across all material sectors right now appears to be in serious flux. Installers need to see real change, genuine promise in EAS if they’re going to commit to anything like this long term.
As I said, we’ll see and find out more as the FIT Show starts. I might make this one of my first stops.
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