If there is a job I would like to have the least in this industry at the moment is the boss of a systems company. Nearly every installations company up and down the country will have had a price increase notification from one or more of their suppliers. It’s something I wouldn’t like to authorise or pass on. We have, but for now it’s been restricted to hardware and not frames, but that could still come!

The problem installations companies have with this is that it’s just not the odd one. I’ve had reports of roof manufacturers raising their prices 3 times already this year. The frequent and steep price increases seem unjustified, and doing it 3 times in the first 6 months is crazy. The excuse of poor exchange rates and other economical factors starts to wear thin come the second and third increase, as you would assume the first one would cover all those factors.

The price increases come from every area of our industry. Glass, hardware, polymers, extruders and so on. Now I don’t know the percentage increases from other companies other than my own, but from what many of you have said, they are quite significant. If these increases were made during more profitable times, I’m sure many of us would accept them, absorb them and just get on with the job at hand. However, trading conditions are the toughest they have ever been. Installations companies need as much help from their suppliers they can get at the minute, and these price increases are exactly the opposite of what they need.

The important thing here is to look at this from the point of view from a manufacturer. They are having to battle flucuating exchange rates, rising raw materials costs, lower margins and less demand. So, you can start to understand why these increases are necessary. But, from what I’ve heard, the price increases passed on to installations companies do not reflect the increases suffered by manufacturers.

So where do we go from here? Well, my thoughts are that yes prices increases are probably necessary, but at nowhere near the amounts they are now, and nowhere near as frequent. Installers cannot absorb increases anymore and are having to pass these on to the customer, which is something everyone hates doing. Manufacturers it’s time to listen up. The increases have to stop. Service to your customers has to improve. Absorb some of the cost increases yourself. These rises are starting to cripple some companies, and if they disappear, so will some of your revenue. So lets have a bit more help please!

P.S. Sponsoring Andrew Glover for his bike ride wouldn’t have harmed! He buys well from you, a token gesture might have been nice!