In all honesty, I am absolutely beyond despair with the whole Brexit thing. Our Parliament is a joke from start to finish as is everyone in there. Had it been handled properly, we would not now see the grinding of the UK economy and parliamentary process which is taking up way too much time and energy out of our politics.
I am also sick of having to write about it. I know you don’t want to keep reading about this subject and all the effects it is going to have on us as an industry. But it does, and therefore I can’t escape from writing about it.
So this time, I wanted to explore one of the potential upsides once we finally move on from this phase of whatever phase we’re in now. And that is a potential boom in the “Made In Britain” label.
Despite what is going on down in London, the fact remains that there is still a great deal of pride when it comes to manufacturing in the UK. Perhaps one of the positives from Brexit will be that it might facilitate a boost in domestic manufacturing as we seek to re-balance the economy. Around the world British manufacturing is still held in high regard, even if nothing much else is right now.
What I am now starting to see more of within UK fenestration is the adoption and promotion of the Made In Britain scheme and logo, or other iterations of that kind. There are already a growing number of well known companies using it, including the likes of Liniar, Solidor, Mumford & Wood, Anglian, Everest, Yale, Masterframe and more. I am also aware of a number of companies who have decided to move production of their products back to the UK.
We don’t always get things right in this industry, but this move towards supporting and promoting British manufactured windows and doors is very much a positive. For two reasons.
The first is that it’s supporting the domestic economy. Whether Brexit came to pass or not, the global economy appears to be on quite a steady slowdown as we enter the end of another economic cycle. So we would have had to find a way to support the economy, and domestic job creation through invested British manufactured windows and doors is a very useful step. Considering there is a skills gap to fill, the more of this we can do as an entire sector the better!
The other benefit from this is the message it gives to home owners. The public still have a solid connection with the “Made In Britain” mantra, and quite rightly. So for the public to be able to see that their windows and doors have been made in the UK, and that the companies they are looking at buying from are supporting the domestic economy is a very big tick in the right box.
Speaking from a personal point of view, a lot of the companies we source our own products from are made in the UK. When I explain to customers that our windows are made in Huddersfield, our composite doors are made in Stoke, our conservatory roofs are made in Blackburn and our vertical sliders are made in Essex, you can see their facial expressions change, almost with a sense of pride. And it’s that feeling that the industry will be seeking to tap into over the next few years.
Tapping into pride
When you think about what is actually made here in the UK within fenestration the list is longer than you think. Systems companies like Deceuninck, Liniar, Eurocell, VEKA, REHAU and others all extrude in the UK. Hardware companies such as From The Anvil, Traditional Window Fittings and Ventiss are designed and made in the UK. Timber alternative window systems, like those made by Residence 9 and Evolution were designed here and are made here. The more you dig into it, the more you realise that some of the very best products available are indeed made right here.
What we are seeing more of now, and will see a lot more of in the years to come, is the highlighting of that fact. Both to itself on a B2B level, and to home owners in an attempt to demonstrate willing to get behind the UK economy. We will see more companies start to add the British flag to their marketing materials and campaigns. We’ll see it on social media a lot more as well.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. What we make here (generally speaking) is good. Yes there are scales of qualities, but if a home owner wanted to buy a high end window or door, they can have the reassurance that a British made option, installed by a good installations company, is going to leave them happy and with a product that will last them a long time.
Perhaps the only thing we might see are some companies who might be a tad wary of what the British flag represents for those on the fringes of what is decent and right. We know that it has been hijacked by certain extreme groups who are wrongly using it to back up their foul commentary and actions. I know that for some of the bigger fenestration companies who might be considering upping their “Made In Britain” message there will be a debate as to how to approach this without risking drawing in unwanted reactions. It’s sad that we have to take things like this into consideration, but that is the way of the world right now.
Generally speaking though, a boost of “Made In Britain” marketing will be a good thing for this industry. It resonates well within the industry and with the general public who still have a strong connection with domestic manufacturing. I will be keeping an eye out at the FIT Show for companies who are displaying the Union Jack and using it as a selling point for their products.
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