Hello everyone! Another week rattles by and in the history of the United Kingdom, it has been a historic week indeed. Scotland went to the polls to decide on it’s future, which has probably caused more ramifications than anyone could have ever predicted. The industry has been busy too, as has DGB, so lets take a look at the week that was.

Not Got An Official Twitter Account? You Should Have!

On Monday I decided to tackle an issue that had been bugging me for quite a while. The fact that some of the biggest businesses in our industry still don’t have any active presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook baffles me. It’s such a simple, free and exciting way to engage with the rest of the industry and potential new customers. On Monday I explored some of the reasons why some of our biggest still shun social media.

One of the main reasons I hear about businesses not joining social media, especially Twitter, is the fear of bad publicity. Companies are worried that if mistakes are aired out in public then the reputation of their business could suffer, and it turn lose them vital new business. And yes, that is a valid concern. I often see disgruntled members of our own industry going to Twitter to contact their suppliers to complain about product or service issues, perhaps if they get no joy over the phone or by email. Applying a bit of public pressure is to be expected. But as with any problem, it is how you deal with a problem that can actually turn a potentially bad situation into a good one.

I used the example of the Greggs hack recently to show that if handled correctly, potentially negative news can be turned into brilliantly positive PR. Given the power of social media, how much it is used now to communicate news, product announcements or just general communication between people and companies, to not have any social media presence is damaging for the company.

Social media isn’t a fad. And whether you have a favourite platform or you like all of them, it’s here to stay. Join now before being left behind for good!

Is The Phones4U Failure A Sign Of Things To Come?

On Tuesday morning we woke up to the shock news that Phones4U was to be put into administration after both Vodafone and EE failed to renew contracts with the high street retailer. It was shocking because the business was profitable. A turnover of more than £1bn per year, with annual profits of over £100m per year, this wasn’t a typical high street chain suffering because of the recent recession and rise of the internet.

Phones4U blame the closure of their business on Vodafone and EE for not renewing their contracts with them. But the question we have to ask is why. Why did they both choose to stop doing business with Phones4U? Well, most believe that because Vodafone and EE both have a strong high street presence, their need to be a partner with someone like Phones4U was no longer required. They were after all “middle men”, so why would they need them when they have hundreds of stores of their own? They don’t. And that spells bad news for that type of business model. Is there a chance that sort of thing could happen in our industry?

The time of the middle man in commerce is ending perhaps. Or at the very least those middle men need to change their business models in a time where most suppliers are starting to cut them out and market themselves straight to the end user. Luckily, the process in the window and door industry is slightly different and for now, syscos don’t look like they’re going to enter fabrication any time soon.

How Not To Fit Fascias – Revisited

In all honesty this was a post about a video I had totally forgotten about. About three years ago I once filmed a rather dodgy looking bloke wafting up and down his ladder in windy conditions attempting to over-clad timber soffits and fascias with PVC. Rather than just write about it, I thought it might be worth filming it this, just for something a bit different.

The video was one which was filmed in secret from my parent’s house, recording a white van man carrying out a roofline installation in the worst way possible. Since I uploaded it it has had over 12,000 views which is fairly nifty. It was recorded in secret so please excuse the early movement and any odd sounds, but this was the dodgy installation in question:

It always frustrates me to see cowboys getting away with shoddy work. As a business in the past we have reported companies to the relevant authorities for carrying out work wrongly, but to no avail. Nothing gets done. And that is the point. Our industry bodies tell us to report companies doing things wrong, but when do we ever hear of any action being taken against them?

Ecoglass Latest To Work With DGB!

Wednesday was a double feature day. At 10am that morning I was very happy to announce that East Anglia based Ecoglass became the 6th live company to promote their business right here on DGB. The slot for a glass company had been left empty for a while. But no more.

Ecoglass are  Norwich based independent glass supplier that has been established since 1949. That sort of longevity and pedigree is something we don’t often come across in our industry. They manufacture an impressive 8000+ sealed units per week and distribute throughout Norfolk, Suffolk,Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. They have invested in state of the art machinery to make sure that they stay up to date with the latest in glass technology, which seems to be moving at some pace in recent years.

I was very happy to have Ecoglass on DGB. Some of you may be aware of them after a member of their team, Gaby Mendham more specifically, spoke at April’s Triple Glazing Question. Her speech and immense clarity that came with it made it the best out of all of the speakers on the day and was a rare dash of honesty among the guff.

Scotland Decides It’s Future Today

You couldn’t escape it on the news, and you couldn’t escape it on DGB either! Thursday saw Scotland go to the polls to decide it’s future; whether to be an independent country or not. It was a historic day. Because of that, I felt I had to add my two penneth to the mix, despite there being very little industry focus.

The way the Scots have gone about engaging with this decision has been admirable. The rallies from both sides, the debates on the streets, pubs, schools and on TV. The posters, the papers and the trains. Everything has been touched by the passion for deciding the future of their own country, and for that they should be applauded. Could England have achieved something like this, probably not. Scotland to me has always been a more passionate country.

In he end it turned out that Scotland decided it was best to stay in the United Kingdom. Although since that vote a much wider and far more serious debate is starting to rear its head about devolved powers for each nation state. Could we still see the UK split up in the end? Its not off the table if you ask me!

Build Check Again Suggests 80% Of The Market Still Isn’t CE Mark Compliant

To finish the week off I covered a story which dug up the old CE marking issues once again. Build Check, the company responsible for those 80% non-compliant claims earlier in the year, again issues a story stating that according to their research, 80% of the industry STILL isn’t compliant with the new regulations and that signs show it isn’t getting any better.

So, if a window or a door isn’t CE marked, can it be said that they are not fit for purpose? I would say it could be argued. After all, that CE mark is supposed to be proof that that window and door is actually legal and fit for purpose. If this is indeed the case, then that opens up a huge potential can of worms for such a large proportion of the industry.

My biggest concern about this isn’t the fact that four our of five of us aren’t compliant. It’s that if you couple this with the new consumer rights directive enacted in the summer, it could leave a massive proportion of our industry open to massive refunds under the clause that a non-CE marked window or door could technically be classed as not fit for purpose. Given the seriousness of that, I felt I had to highlight that point. Our industry has never been great at adapting to change, but this is something that could genuinely cause a lot of damage.

Elsewhere in the industry…

  • A report out this week by Swish claims that the internet is now the most popular place for information on new windows and doors. Click here to read more.
  • The National Fenestration Awards reports on massive engagement from all industry areas as voting gets under way. Click here to read more.