It’s fantastic what you can do with our products these days. Unlimited colour options and spraying. Vast wood grain finishes with mixes for internal and external. A plethora of hardware choices both standard and traditional. I could go on. There has certainly been a very rapid rise in bespoke options over the last few years. But should there be a limit on the amount we can actually customize the products we sell?
I ask this question more from a supply and quality issue than a sales point of view. It is very easy to sell such a bespoke product to the customer. Saying to them that they can have almost anything they want is easy. It is all the organisation, planning and pricing behind it that becomes ever more complicated. With each new product there is a ton of things that have to be considered; production, delivery, pricing, marketing, quality control and so on. It must be a nightmare for suppliers and manufacturers to organise and set up everything for every new product and option that comes with it.
The bigger the portfolio of products and the more interchangeable options the higher the risks for mistakes. You can plan as best you can, but with anything new, there always tends to be errors. Even at the pricing end, when you start introducing a new product, I have sometimes struggled to get to grips with new prices and new ways to work things out. But I think while the pace of change and innovation is good, it brings a higher risk of complications, errors and problems.
So should there now be a period of consolidation? I do think that manufacturers might want to think about a consolidation period. Bringing out new product after new product, while it shows well they have a very active R&D department, risks market overload and mistakes. I think a year or two to focus on the new products already brought to market would be prudent. New innovations are rarely perfect first time round and I think it is fair to say that some of the new products to grace the fenestration sector haven’t been perfect first time round.
I think once this splurge of new products comes to an end, we will see a streamlining of the various product portfolios out there. Those products that haven’t performed will be dropped and those that have will be kept, developed, improved and positioned to grow and expand even further.
For the sake of efficient production and minimal mistakes, there should be a gentle restraint on the products we sell. There’s no harm in being able to give the customer exactly what they want, but we have to know our limits for the sake of being able to produce, deliver and install our products to the highest standard.
Hopefully I’ve tried to make my point here and you all know what I’m trying to get across! Comments on this subject and anything else on DGB are most welcome!