Its been a decade since the Great Recession. Some of us survived. Some of us didn’t. For those who did, diversification of their product ranges will have played a large part of it.
There was a huge push within the industry to change it’s image and give home owners new reasons to buy products when the ability to spend money became incredibly difficult for everyone.
It started a 10 year period of intense product diversification that hasn’t let up since. The landscape of our industry is now very different. Whilst this has undoubtedly brought huge success to many, is it now time to ask: have we gone too far?
Personally, I am a fan of diversification. In a way, the silver lining to come out of that recession was it gave us all a push to rethink how we do business and the products we sell. We can never look back.
That being said, I do hear with increasing frequency that perhaps the industry is now going too far with the amount of choice it provides to installers and home owners. I can understand that point of view. You look at some manufacturers and they do almost anything and everything just short of the kitchen sink. If I was to work at a company like that, or buy from a company like that, I can see how it could be incredibly complicated to understand.
In the round, I am a believer that the more a company can provide for installers and home owners, the more likely they are to win more business from their existing customer base. The more you provide, the less likely your customers are to look elsewhere for what they need. Yes it becomes more of a challenege to manage all those options, but that becomes the hurdle for the company to successfully get over.
Naturally, I have put this to a poll, and the early voting suggests I might be on the wrong side of opinion on this one! Check it out:
Never go back
So far, over half of you are saying that we have gone too far with the diversification. I will hazard a guess and say that is down to the complicated nature of running a window and door business in 2019, with the plethora of products, services and requests from home owners. I hear you, trust me I do.
But, and this is important, we cannot go backwards. We cannot look to a decade ago and think that times were amazing. Yes there was less choice, home owners were less demanding, it was easier to price up jobs, there was less regulation when it came to installation. But if we were to roll all that back, I can promise you that the renewed interest from home owners in our industry that we have worked hard to build up will go away very quickly.
Consider this as well. With the new popular choices, such as foils, colours and flush windows, fabrciators report making three times the margin than shiny white windows and doors. Yes it’s more difficult to fabricate, but surely its worth the effort for three times the margin? Also, over time, as the choices being sold now become the new normal, processes, machinery and skilled labour better honed in the coming years will mean the problems we face now during fabrication will become less problematic.
In a weeks time I’ll report back on the findings and see whether the industry thinks we have gone too far or we’re doing it just right.
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