Our industry is a vibrant place these days. It has undergone a transformation in the last decade or so, with a huge wave of new products and innovations transforming the way our industry does business both internally and with the home owner.
In this post, I want to take a look at five companies in our industry who are really shaking things up. There is no order to this list, number one isn’t better than number five. The companies I have chosen have been included due to the impact they are having on the industry that no others are doing in a similar way. Please feel free to pick apart the list and add your own recommendations via the comments section below.
Lister Trade Frames
We all remember the terrible news last year when it was announced that industry bastions Lister Trade Frames had gone into administration. It was a turbulent time in the sector as a whole, with the most volatility in the sector since the Great Recession.
Here was a business that was undone by the selfish acts of a single person. Not due to the poor running of the company. Not due to the sector struggling like it did a decade ago. It came as a shock to all. It was a well loved, highly respected business known for their impeccable quality and community spirit both inside and outside the company.
At the time I wrote that there would be a happy ending to this. A company of the calibre of Listers would not be allowed to fade away. Indeed, a few weeks later, Roy Frost stepped in and took the company under his wing and guidance. A year on, the company is thriving once again. It’s almost as if the events of last year never happened, and they appear to be stronger than ever.
They’re on this list for their amazing turnaround, but also for their newly developed cloud and app-based pricing software. I have been given a demonstration of it, even though it wasn’t a 100% version, and I can honestly say it was astoundingly easy to use, despite the fact it had 8 different product lines within it.
It was intuitive, self-explanatory, and the clean and simpler user interface allowed a complete noob to find their way round in minutes. It’s also a complete system, from quote, to surveyors report, to order and all else in between. It’s one of the most advanced pricing software packages that I have seen, and something that is genuinely going to transform how Lister’s customers do their business with home owners. As I have said before, those who invest in tech and software properly will find themselves on top.
I think the rise in popularity of aluminium caught a few of us by surprise. Who would have thought innovation would have come in the form of a material long dead in the residential market and at the time confined to commercial projects?
Yet, here we are, with a new breed of aluminium products far more advanced in every way in comparison to their ancestors. Aluminium however remains a highly diverse and therefore complicated sector in comparison to PVCu. You only need to look at some of the most recognised systems companies and their vast array of product ranges to see how complicated it can get. If I’m being honest I think a lot of the aluminium syscos had been caught on the back foot when residential demand for aluminium took off. They had been very well prepared for the commercial sector but not residential.
There has been a company however that stands out for me in making the aluminium experience for the installer a simple, productive and profitable venture, and that’s REAL Aluminium. Their marketing methods and background planning has given them a standout lead when it comes to residential aluminium. They were the first to really make the whole process of aluminium for installers that much easier. It is a minefield out there, it’s not as simplified as the PVCu world is. So much care and attention has to be applied when it comes to things like ordering and processing. REAL’s work on simplifying that for the installer is one of the reasons why they have made waves in the residential aluminium sector.
Bear with me on this one. I know it’s a bit left field, but if this is a list of companies that are shaking things up, it’s hard to ignore them. Whether you like the way they go about their business or not.
This company is only a few months old, six by my calculations, and I have never seen such an aggressive growth and market share plan than that of Safeglaze.
For those who may not know, this new company, was set up by the same people who set up Safestyle all those years ago. Judging by their marketing methods so far, they plan to go about obtaining business in pretty much the same way as before. In 2018, with a much more educated consumer and social media a great pressure tool, you would expect them to do something different. But no.
That being said, they are taking on huge amounts of business right now, and have many of the established nationals in their sight. Click here to read about a new development connected to this story.
May seem an obvious one this one. But, whenever this company has brought a product to market, it has, without fail, totally shaken up that sector. Just look at the immense popularity of Ultion both in the locksmith and window sector. Few of us will have seen a single product take off with such force so quickly.
They did it again with LockLock and their seemingly un-pittable door handle, which to my knowledge remains the the salt spray booth. I am wondering at this point if the people at the testing centre would actually like their booth back so they can use it for other products!
They’re on this list for those, and for what they are about to launch with Sweet. I have seen it, some of you guys may also have seen it too. If you have, then you know why Brisant are on here. When this goes live in the coming weeks, the entire hardware sector will once again be forced to rethink how it operates in it’s own market.
As the saying goes, if you’re not innovating you’re dying. This is most definitely innovating.
Eurocell are on this list for two reasons. Firstly, because they seem to be one of few major UK fenestration companies listed on the stock exchange that are performing well. If you take a look at all of the others that are traded on exchanges pretty much all are flat or down. Safestyle being the most obvious example of a company’s share price that has fallen.
In previous posts I have written about how their diversified business model has helped them ride the waves of new niches and help provide more products and services to lots of different areas of the industry. Something which has been ignored by others. The end result is a very strong Eurocell that now finds themselves in a strong place to make acquisitions in 2018.
The second reason for their inclusion is their efforts towards recycling. They have their Rethink / Recycle campaign, which you can find out more about by clicking here. It’s perhaps the most forward thinking attitude towards plastic and out industry. As we know, the image of plastic is about as bad as the pollution is causes right now, and there is already backlash against the use of PVCu windows popping up on social media. Eurocell are tackling this head on, and are one of the only companies I have seen to take a very early stance against the negative news that our industry will now doubt soon have to battle. I have also seen a peak as to what they have planned on this front and it’s going to blow every other effort out of the water.
This list is of course based on my own personal opinion, and there are plenty of other companies out there in the sector doing amazing work, helping to change the dynamics of our industry. If you have your own suggestions, or wish to comment on my own picks for this list then please leave your thoughts via the comments section below.
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CWG Choices still offer the largest portfolio of products for the installer in the UK and are really successful doing so
Really interesting! Good to keep an eye on the top dogs…