It’s the first day of August. I know it probably doesn’t look it outside. I think we’ve had the best of our Summer now. Time to buckle in for a long Autumn.

Still, we’re into August now, well past the halfway point of the year, and so much has already happened in our industry so far. We’t had the biggest every FIT Show in May, the biggest ever National Fenestration Awards Winners Event the month before that. A slew of industry acquisitions and the formation of new super-groups. Another GGF President resigned.

Outside the industry we have had another General Election. We have suffered a number of tragedies in London and in Manchester. Donald Trump continues to make a mockery of the US Presidency. There has been a lot for us to talk about inside and outside the industry.

But focusing back towards the UK glazing industry, I want to try and take the temperature of installers, fabricators and syscos as to how they see the year that has been so far. I want to find out if they think it’s been a great year, middle of the road or complete disaster.

Yeah, it’s poll time.

My thoughts first

Before I beg you to give me a few of your votes on my polls, this is how I have seen the year so far.

At the start of the year, there was a hint of pessimism following the Brexit vote. Mainly because the outlook was uncertain. Negotiations hadn’t yet started, Article 50 wasn’t yet triggered, and patience on all sides began to wear thin at the lack of progress. Naturally, you’d expect that a few of us in the window world might have thought things would get off to a rocky start.

On the whole though, I think the industry at installer and SME fabricator level did better than most thought they would. I’ll admit that I did think 2017 would be a bit grey. I wouldn’t say that the start of the year was rip-roaring, but lead levels, sales and general footfall in our showroom was pretty healthy. I have a few friends in other parts of the country with similar sized businesses and they were telling me positive things about their companies and performance too. It seemed to me that if you were a SME in this industry, you were probably doing alright.

If you were one of the established big ones, the sounds coming from the industry and the various contacts I was in touch with wasn’t great. Sales so far this year have been down for many, and down by a lot. I have already written plenty about the troubles of the likes of Entu and Safestyle this year, and their diving share prices.

For me, it has been the year for SME installers and fabricators. I have seen all year reports from various companies of the SME variety that growth is good, sales are good, profits are being made and new staff are being hired.

This I believe was given a boost after the General Election in June. I was talking to my Dad in the weeks leading up to it that it felt like home owners were sitting on quotes, waiting to make a decision until after the vote. It felt very much like it did in June 2016 in the lead up to the referendum. I’m not sure why big votes cause people to pause on things like this but it does. Low and behold, after May lost her majority and UK didn’t come grinding to a halt again, just like it didn’t 12 months earlier, the flood gates opened. For us, the second half of June and all of July has been a belter. Easily out best weeks of the year so far, and the diary for both sales and installers is packed. I suspect that the second half of 2017 could at this rate match the hugely busy 2016 second half, at least for the majority of SMEs in this industry.

I believe that despite the bumps in the road this year, there has been plenty to be positive about. So now I want to find out what installers, fabricators and syscos think as well.

DGB Brexit

The polls

I want to keep it simple. I am asking the same questions to all three groups. The aim is to see if there are differing opinions between the various parts of the supply chain. My personal belief is that we’ll see more positive outcomes from the installer and fabricator polls than the sysco poll. From what I have been told, quite a few of the established houses are suffering from falls in sales in comparison to 2016. Lets give it a bit of time and see how accurate that is.

The polls then…

For installers:

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For fabricators:

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For systems companies:

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I shall run this poll throughout the month of August, and will make it the new featured post on the DGB home page. If you’re reading this and you fall into the category of installer, fabricator or systems company, please take a second to place your vote before you leave this page to do something a bit more valuable with your day.

All being well I shall have got enough votes to garner some insights between the differing opinions of the three major parts of our supply chain. It will make for some interesting reading if the results show polarised patterns in a months time.

Looking forward, I still think the rest of 2017 holds some very positive, profitable and busy months ahead for many of the industry’s SME’s. Time to make hay if you’re one of them. For the bigger companies, I think the road is going to be tough. Things don’t look good at a few places. What are the odds we’ll be one big company lighter by the end of the year?

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