As we enter the last working week of the year, it’s time to take a look at what the main issues and talking points might be in 2015. Based on what we have seen this year, there could be some quite juicy talking points in the next twelve months!
1. Customer service and the skills gap
This year will be remembered for a very poor level of customer service across much of the industry. The skills gap which has plagued our industry this year has been one of the main reasons. However, I can see signs of the industry starting to correct this with many now starting to take on extra staff. I think in 2015 we will start to see a return to normal, good customer service with employment levels rising quite quickly.
2. Reductions in prices
The price of oil continues to drop, and with it, the prices of petrol and diesel too. Fuel is now the cheapest it has been for over four years, and looks set to drop until at least the second quarter in 2015. I think we will see increasing pressure on companies to reduce their prices to reflect the dropping fuel and raw material prices. Just think about all those letters we have all had in the last few years from our suppliers saying they’re having to introduce an energy surcharge or putting their prices up because of fuel. Well, if it’s the reason prices went up, it should also be the reason they come back down as well.
3. More acquisitions
Companies flashing the cash to acquire more companies and expand their groups is not over yet. Market conditions right now are still good for buying other businesses. There is also more consolidation in the market to happen before the industry becomes the right size for the amount of business out there. 2015 I think will produce some quite high level mergers and buyouts. Watch this space!
4. Door builders could start to dilute the market
Door builders, as I’m sure many of you will have noticed this year, are becoming a rather fashionable and useful feature for suppliers. We’re seeing a few now creating their own, based around their supplier’s doors. There are a couple of builders out there designed around the options from Solidor. But whilst these are nifty and useful features for installers, it is blurring the lines between main manufacturers’ door builders and the suppliers prepared to build their own. 2015 will see more of these land on many more websites.
5. More products, more options
Finally, I think we’re going to see a ton of extra products enter the market place. R & D departments are at full throttle at the moment, always trying to stay one step ahead of their competition. I think we could see a lot of new products flood the market in 2015, possibly in the first quarter. Whilst for the homeowner choice is great, I feel that the metaphorical wheel is trying to be reinvented too many times. There is only a certain number of a products an installer will ever take on. You do have to start question, with the plethora of new products on offer right now, are they really attracting the market share their manufacturers are after?