Continuing the special series of interviews on DGB, Neil Evans, MD of VEKA UK answers some questions and gives us an insight into what may lie ahead for 2022, as well as a brief look back at 2021. Click here to catch up on the first in this special series, with Ian Short, MD of Morley Glass
1. How would you best describe 2021 and what lessons can be learned from it that we can apply to 2022?
Extremely challenging yet ultimately enlightening about the incredible capability the VEKA team has, to be able to handle the ever-changing set of circumstances being thrown at it. The lesson learned is with this team, (and some serious changes in how we support them), we can achieve our ambitions.
2. What was your biggest challenge last year both personally and in business?
Personally, the biggest challenge was my first year leading VEKA, with a new company direction, some personal growth, and a few mistakes along the way. Our biggest business challenge was, like for many, managing the impact of the Pandemic. A cocktail of isolated material uncertainty, and people being unable to work, all at a time when demand has never been higher. The previously predictable become wholly unpredictable.
3. What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge in 2022 and how would you approach dealing with it?
Managing the ongoing issues of raw material availability and inflation.
4. What is the best opportunity we have as an industry this year?
Ensure, where service was good, that customers remain loyal after supporting their needs throughout the pandemic. Also, to ensure profit is sustainable for future investment.
5. Which products (excluding your own) do you expect to grow in popularity in 2022?
Higher-end glass specifications as a response to new building regulations.
6. How best can we manage supply chain problems in the future?
Use recycled content as a reliable source of material needs. Communicate well when issues exist. Don’t sit on orders and if you know what you want and when you want it, get that order placed now.
7. Do you expect price increases to level off during 2022 or keep rising?
I would expect increases to level off unless further disruption occurs. The real question is when will prices fall and by how far?
8. What is the one major product you have coming out in 2022 that the industry should keep an eye out for?
Windoplan is our exclusive specification software that current and future customers and specifiers can really engage with, to stand out from the crowd and navigate the new building regulations.
9. Describe the outlook for 2022 in one word.
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