Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2020

Carol Slade, Managing Director of Masterframe

First job: Working for civil engineering firm I & H Brown in Perth, Scotland.
When did you join current company: I joined Masterframe Windows in 2008 as Operations Director moving on to Sales & Operations Director in 2012. I became Managing Director earlier this year.
Most useful/favourite gadget: I couldn’t be without my iPad Pro and Logitech keyboard.
Favourite/most useful website: Business Matters is my favourite for keeping up to date and of course Amazon for sourcing new books for learning and coaching.
Businessperson you admire: I most admire Jo Haigh from fds Director Services Limited, not only for her outstanding professional achievements, but also for her personal values, which are so evident when you meet her. Jo is passionate, positive, and dynamic – but she has a quiet, humble demeanour I find very endearing.
Recommended hotel for business: The Indigo in Durham would get my recommendation for its Victorian charm and elegant accommodation, all at a very reasonable price.
Favourite UK restaurant: Without a doubt, my favourite is the Fish House on Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall. All the beautiful food is sourced locally and cooked in front of you in a wonderful atmosphere with amazing views.
Best business decision: I couldn’t pinpoint one particular decision, but I believe to succeed in business today, you need to make informed decisions quickly and firmly. If you are confident in your decisions, others will be too.
Other interests: My primary focus outside of work is always my family. I also have a keen interest in politics, gardening and I love baking in my AGA. I also support my local football club with their accounting.

Working Day: I arrive at work between 8.00 and 8.30 and, although
I’m not an early bird, my journey to work presents an opportunity to make some important calls. We generally have a set plan for the week made up of regular meetings to keep the company firmly on course. I’m very hands on and make myself available to speak to the team throughout the day. I also make time to speak directly to our loyal customers, gaining their feedback on the market and hearing about their day-to-day challenges. It’s vital to understand our customers and help wherever we can.

Working Location: I have two offices in two very different environments. The first is in the sales office, the heart of the business where I enjoy being an integral part of the team. Here I keep my finger on the pulse to remain constantly informed on the daily challenges and successes of the business. My second office is in a quieter location where I can concentrate on specific tasks and have conversations about any issues that arise. I believe all employees should have a voice and I make myself available to hear their opinions and concerns.

Masterframe has focused on sliding sash windows for 31 years. Our specialist status is our most prized asset and we constantly strive to be true to the value of the product and realistic about its value. This means avoiding cutting prices, and offering consistent quality and value for money instead. Installers and fabricators who buy-in often tell us how much they appreciate the quality and consistency of our vertical sliders, as well as our continual innovation. We find our customers are extremely loyal and we never take that for granted. The Masterframe team is just as passionate about service as about our products. Our most successful initiative has been the Bygone Network, which is 21 years old this year. The combination of dedicated, professional installers and a well-branded premium product offering has been great for our business.

We’ve always been an innovative company, passionate about the products and services we offer our customers and the past year has seen substantial growth in some key areas. In 2018 we introduced a highly advanced, bespoke Urban welding machine into the factory. This machine is capable of welding in a single cycle two clean, precise and consistent Timberweld® joints along with two butt joints. This advance allows us to produce Bygone Symphony and Vintage Traditional premium products efficiently and consistently every time. Because we hold the licence to use patented Timberweld technology, we are the only PVC-U vertical sliding sash window manufacturer that can produce perfectly sealed corners. The team at Masterframe all strongly believe that our products have to be something we would be happy to have installed in our own home. We make it our priority to understand the business needs of our customers and to tailor our offering to suit, which has led us to offer quotations within 24 hours, in-depth product training, factory visits, and a dedicated customer service division. Winning two National Fenestration Awards was another highlight of 2018, one for Fabricator/Manufacturer of the Year and one for New Product for Timberweld. It was a very proud moment for us – our hard work and focus on providing the very best for our customers is paying off.

More recently, the FIT show in May 2019 was a fantastic opportunity to unveil more innovative products that promise to break boundaries in our sector. We shared our stand with Timberweld, and there were sample corners on display to demonstrate the technology in full. It was a real light-bulb moment for visitors to the stand when they could see the perfectly sealed PVC-U corners compared to the open-ended examples. It was a busy show and it was wonderful to connect with all our customers and have the opportunity to make new ones. What’s next? The following 12 months are looking bright. We’ve worked very hard to win business in many different sectors, and this is now showing returns. We are generating considerable business from our 21-year-old Bygone Installer Network, as well as our trade customers and partners in the commercial sector. Each one is vital to our continued growth and success. In terms of what the longer-term future holds, as a business we will strive to get our brands and products to a wider audience. The market offers considerable opportunities for promotion to conservation officers, architects, house builders, and retail customers. We can create more awareness of how well our products look, feel and perform. We truly believe there is not another vertical sliding sash product on the market that matches ours and we need to get that message out to as many people as possible.
Our biggest challenge over the coming few years is tackling the negative perception of plastic. We need to address this by drawing attention to all the positives that plastic brings to the world and the benefits of PVC-U as a material for making windows. We also aim to build on our environmental awareness and to achieve ISO 14001 accreditation.

My own goal from a professional perspective is to drive product innovation that is greater than consumer expectation. It’s important to me to build on the legacy of the core ethos of Masterframe, which is to be the best in the vertical sliding sash market. I also want to continue to strive for a working environment where each member of staff feels valued and heard. On a personal level, my aim for the future is to support The Alzheimer’s Society where I can, a cause that is very close to my heart. My advice to fabricators and installers is to be kind and help your customers wherever you can. Your people are one of the most valuable assets to your business, so be sure to value them and invest in them. Train people to furnish them with knowledge to grow – and then train them again. To keep pushing the boundaries and keep improving, it’s also important to know your key performance indicators (KPIs) and consistently track them – and be decisive when changes need to be made.