Published On: Thu, Apr 2nd, 2020

Chris Price, Procurement Director at Glazerite

First Job: I joined the industry in 1984 to set
up and run a stores and purchasing function for a trade fabricator in Coventry called Plastiseal.
When did you join the company: After owning and running a window fabrication and then a composite door business based in Coventry, I joined Glazerite in 2010 as Purchasing Manager. I was invited to join the main board as Group Procurement Director earlier this year.
Most useful/favourite gadget: The Microsoft Surface Pro enables me to multi-task when at my desk in head office and to work at other group fabrication locations.
Favourite/most useful website: Google.
Business person you admire: I admire any entrepreneur who backs themselves and ultimately makes a success of their venture.
Recommended hotel for business: Not being in a sales-based role, life out of a suitcase is not for me so I endeavour to get home if I visit other group facilities or any of our supply chain partners.
Favourite UK restaurant: Bailey Lane Kitchen in Coventry.
Best business decision: Taking the plunge to be a part owner of a start-up fabricator back in the early 90s.
Other Interests: I’m really keen on most sports and I played rugby for over 30 years. My new baby granddaughter now keeps me on my toes.

Working Day: My day starts with a review of reports from the night shift
and loading supervisors. I am generally in the office by 08.00 after a long commute and the first task is to check the current status of the day’s production and ensure that all required products have been or are being made available to production by the stores and yard staff. Then I will prepare for the morning Operations Meeting which all department managers attend and which is focused on current and future issues that may impact on our ability to service the customers. The rest of the day is spent overseeing the purchasing and stores functions at all sites, keeping in close contact with our Supply Chain Partners and working on specific projects.

The Interview

Glazerite’s portfolio is very comprehensive which takes some management; at the last count we had over 7,000 product line items. A major project for our Procurement team this year has been a complete review of our supplier base. This has been carried out to ensure that we are offering the best quality products at competitive prices for our installer partners. Our business has grown significantly over the last few years through natural growth and acquisition, and this project has been an integral part of a strategy to align our offering across the Group and, most importantly, leverage our purchasing power.

We are constantly reviewing our stock levels and lead times so we can better align them with changing market needs and seasonal variations. Keeping such a close eye on our stock means we are also better placed to stop or reduce the impact any potential supply chain issues might have on our customers. We’ve recently moved to the MACO MKV Espagnolette Shootbolt product as standard on all our casement windows. It’s one of the most innovative window lock designs on the market and its security performance exceeds PAS24:2016. It is also covered by the MACO Secure Plus scheme, which offers a wealth of guarantees and assurances.

Enhanced benefits like the MACO scheme and others from the likes of ERA and Brisant Secure are a key part of what we offer as a fabricator. These benefits can really help our installer partners close a sale as offering added value to products and services means they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Investment has been high on the agenda across Glazerite this year with over £1 million poured into plant, machinery and process improvements to improve the speed, efficiency and capability of our operations. Alongside this, we’ve made some key management appointments so that we are perfectly positioned to pursue our plans for growth. From a product perspective, colour is a real growth area for the market, and as a result we have reduced lead times on many of our standard products, and added ancillaries such as the colour-matched ancills for an even better finish on installations. Veka’s Spectral foil is now also part of our offering, adding another aesthetic dimension to installs.

As Procurement Director, it’s crucial to me that we develop mutually respectful and beneficial relationships with our supplier partners. It’s also important for our installer base that we continue to work with forward-thinking suppliers who allow us to take advantage of new trends. As a fabricator, we’re always looking to further expand our portfolio in order to help our installer partners meet the demands of their own customers. Reviewing our portfolio constantly is one of the things we hope sets us apart as a fabricator. The recent addition of the new Imagine Vertical Slider and the trials we’re undertaking on a version of a mechanical jointed flush sash option for our Heritage Range are all part of what we hope installers like about working with us, in that we’re not afraid to keep adding to our products and services.

Smart technology has been high on the agenda for both us and our customers this year and it’s something we are exploring further. Ultion Smart was one of the most impressive products at the 2019 Fitshow and now Glazerite’s installer partners can easily upgrade their own customers to a Smart door. To deliver the best possible service for our customers, we invest in our people and work on strategies like staff retention. As the industry faces recruitment issues, it’s important to us that we maintain and nurture our 270-strong workforce, whether that’s with reward and recognition schemes or training. Bringing fresh talent in has also been a big focus, and 7.5% of our workforce is now under 21. Over the next 12 months we’ll see our teams grow to further support our customers, including the addition of a new member of staff to our marketing team. Being able to offer our installers support with their digital and traditional marketing is a key part of our offering. The success of our installers is important to our own business, and it was a pleasure to see a number of our installer partners win Customer Satisfaction awards at this year’s Independent Network event.

Looking ahead and out into the industry and beyond, trading conditions continue to be variable and prices and costs are still very much at the core of our industry, with increased financial pressures from living wage rises, currency fluctuations, the spiralling cost of raw materials, and of course, the continued uncertainty of Brexit and its possible impact on supply chain performance and future pricing. We have to manage these in the best way we can and by adding value to what we do for our installers, such as with our marketing support offering, we can help them to build a more sustainable business. On a day-to-day level we also strive to make access to our systems as easy as possible for our customers and all jobs can be priced through our online ordering system as well as via traditional pricing methods, which a number of our customers still prefer. This year we have also launched our Specification and Pricing manual, in both a print and digital format to accommodate everyone. This includes full price matrixes and product specifications across our entire range and so far, the feedback on this from our customers has been tremendous. As we approach our 20th year in business, we firmly believe Glazerite is well positioned to continue to grow and support our suppliers and installer partners.