Published On: Tue, Jul 16th, 2019

Chris Jones, Sales Director of Deceuninck

First job: After school I started an apprenticeship in Bath with a printing company, but sadly it went into liquidation. A few friends worked at a glass company, so I got a job there, working on the aluminium windows side of the business.
When did you join your current company? I joined Deceuninck in 2014.
Most useful/favourite gadget: My iPhone – it’s my portable office and I’d be lost without it!
Most useful/favourite website: eBay for buying. I love a bargain!
Recommended hotel for business: Premier Inn – good value, good locations, and I know what I’m getting every time.
Favourite UK restaurant: I love Italian food and Le Carbonara in Swindon is my favourite.
Business person you most admire: Sir Richard Branson. Love him or loathe him, he’s a true entrepreneur.
Best business decision: Joining the Deceuninck team.
Other interests: I now have three grandchildren under five and my wife and I love spending time with them. However I can never lose sight of my other big love – Manchester United! It’s been challenging as a Man U fan over the last couple of seasons but things are starting to look up.

Working Week: I spend most of my time talking to fabricators and
prospects and visiting them up and down the country. For example, I might set off at 6am to visit customers in the South East before heading back to sales meetings at our head office in Calne.

Working Location: Deceuninck’s UK head office and manufacturing is in Calne, Wiltshire. We’ve made significant investments over the past few years – including a vast 140,000 ft2 warehouse to keep our full product range in stock across 26 colourways. In 2016 we also opened a state-of-the-art foiling plant to foil all our products in-house. I try to make sure I’m in the office at least two days a week to catch up with sales, production and customer services.

A lot has changed since I joined the industry in the early 1980s. Back then I saw it as a short-term move, but I fell in love with the business – the characters, the innovation and enthusiasm – and here I am over 35 years later. I’ve worked through several recessions which have hit the industry hard and I’ve seen a lot of good companies and talented people go. The scale of innovation has been phenomenal – in manufacturing techniques and product design. We’ve gone from non-structured double chamber casements to multi-chambered profile with outstanding security, weather and thermal performance, with designs to suit all properties and tastes. The cowboys have fallen by the wayside too, a real positive, and the industry is much more professional. We’re selling better quality, high-performance products that give consumers and specifiers the confidence to buy PVC-U.

Professionally, my greatest achievement is being part of the Deceuninck team. When I joined, in 2014, we were given 12 months to turn Deceuninck around. And we did. Working with Rob McGlennon and the sales team, we’ve grown fast year-on-year. We’ve invested in state-of-the-art foiling, best-in-class products and service to give customers a competitive edge. And we have more ambitious growth plans and a great team to deliver them. Deceuninck offers a real difference in the marketplace, thanks to product innovation, great customer service and close partnerships with fabricators. In 2013/2014, Deceuninck asked customers what products they needed to compete. We developed these new #BestInClass products to help customers sell more at better margins. The stunning Heritage Window Collection features premium sculptured and chamfered windows and doors, and the Heritage Flush Sash – the G17 Product of the Year. Heritage was designed to appeal to homeowners who love our ‘beautiful windows make beautiful homes’ windows.

The Heritage range combines looks and top performance, ideal for modern townhouses as well as traditional and period properties. Now in 2019, homeowners can obtain the complete package with the launch of our new Heritage Flush Door. It’s the only dedicated mainstream open-out flush door on the market. It suites seamlessly with the Heritage Flush Window. The new Slider24+ also breaks new ground in the patio door market, being #BestInClass for weather performance, energy efficiency, security and colour with 26 colourways from stock. Colour is a large part of Deceuninck’s innovative product offering and it’s important to appreciate that very few flush sashes are sold in white, unless they are foiled white. We’ve built a fully #ColourEnabled supply chain so installers can sell all 26 colourways (soon to be 30!) knowing Deceuninck trade fabricators can supply any of the 26 in the same lead time as white. Using Deceuninck Online, fabricators can look inside our warehouse and put their name on even one length of foiled profile and know it will arrive on their next delivery. That enables them to deliver on time and in full to their installer customers. Everyone gets their colour on time so installers can sell the colours homeowners want. That’s why Deceuninck is No.1 for colour with 56% of sales in colour compared with an industry average of 29%. Beyond innovative product and colour, strong service and relationships are the ingredients in Deceuninck’s secret sauce. Late or incomplete deliveries make life difficult for the whole supply chain. Fabricators and installers need robust, reliable delivery. That’s why Deceuninck invests in the supply chain, so fabricators and installers can sell with confidence. We give customers the tools to build their brand and generate leads with bespoke marketing materials.

I’ve mentioned innovation a few times already. So, what’s the next innovation? Ask specifiers what their ideal material for windows is, and most say aluminium for its strength, slim profiles and wide choice of colour. Other materials have their supporters, but there’s been very little product development to excite specifiers and developers. Ambitiously, Deceuninck set out to create a true alternative to aluminium. We aimed to create a new, high performance composite window technology with outstanding strength, structural stability and insulation. And one that removed the need for steel reinforcement, which adds weight and reduces thermal performance. The result is Linktrusion™ technology – we think it’s the future of fenestration. It gives up to 30% improvement in thermal efficiency, 40% saving on materials and weight, and U-values as low as 0.76W/m²K with argon-filled triple glazing. It makes very tall windows and large doors (1100 x 2500 single door). Windows have slim sightlines, are available in countless Decoroc and foiled colours and are 100% recyclable, making Linktrusion™ a true alternative to aluminium. Currently Linktrusion™ is aimed at commercial projects, typically large apartment blocks, and developers love it. We believe there’s good potential for contemporary residential homes too. Architects love aluminium’s slim strong profiles and the wide range of colours, and homeowners love aluminium bifolds. But energy efficiency is a top concern for homeowners, and windows incorporating Linktrusion™ are the best of both worlds – slim sightlines, great colour choice and outstanding thermal performance. We’re still in the early stages of the technology and we have lots of exciting developments to come. This year we’re launching a new product with Linktrusion™ technology. I can’t say more at this stage but it’s a real cracker with huge potential in residential and commercial. Deceuninck’s growth is built on putting customers first, which is what I’ve been proud to do my whole career. Product design and innovation, technical support, logistics, production, customer service and marketing – Deceuninck partners with fabricators to help them grow, and we pride ourselves on developing strong, honest relationships with customers. In a market that’s down 5-10%, Deceuninck and its customers are bucking the trend. 2018 sales were up 21% on the previous year, this January was up 12% and February is 23% on the first two months of 2018. I can’t wait for the rest of 2019!