Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017

Gareth Williams, Operations Director of Distinction Doors

First job: I was a mechanical engineer in the Royal Navy.

When did you join Distinction Doors: 2 February 2015.

Most useful/favourite gadget: My smart phone; I can’t believe how much I actually do through apps now.

Favourite/most useful website: BBC News and BBC Sport are both great for keeping me updated.

Business person you admire: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Recommended hotel for business: I travelled a lot in my previous role and found the majority of the Best Western group to be good.

Favourite UK restaurant: San Carlo in London. Amazing food at great value and even an authentic grumpy waiter thrown in for good measure.

Best business decision: Deciding that I was better suited in a business that I could contribute to rather than being just a number in a multinational corporate.

Other interests: I love road and mountain biking around Yorkshire.

Working Day: The alarm goes off at 6am and I am usually in the office between 7:30 and 8am. The first hour is spent catching up on emails before our 9am operations meeting which reviews any current issues for that day. The rest of my day is split between meetings and being on the shop floor: we have been implementing a lot of positive change so it is important I am visible to all the teams to receive feedback and provide help where needed. I also like to keep in contact with customers whether that be by phone or email or by visiting them. It is important that I understand how we can make life easier for our customers then translate that into Distinction’s operation.

Working Location: I work from Distinction’s office in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The 86,000 ft2 site has two warehouses along with a new manufacturing facility, state-of-the-art paint plant and storage for 70,000 doors. My office is located at one side of the building next to the goods out yard.


The composite door market is in great shape. For homeowners, a composite door is an aspirational must-have and it means that composite doors are the most popular door type on the market today. Considering that composite doors were largely unheard of 15 years ago, the growth in the sector and its current dominance is an achievement that all manufacturers, suppliers and installers can be proud of. The strength of the market has been reflected in a busy year of growth for us, cementing our position as the market leader. We’ve also been working on behind-the-scenes innovations and developments that will help our customers stay one step ahead and continue to offer the products that homeowners desire.

From early October we launched Distinction Glass: our new glass range. The new brand, complete with its own logo and corporate identity, places the spotlight on our glass and highlights the essential part it has to play in a homeowner’s decision-making process. Distinction Glass has all the bestsellers from our previous glass range as well as the classics of the future. For the first time, we have a range of Contemporary glass that has been carefully designed to enhance our contemporary door styles. All the glazing units are triple glazed, which makes them easy to maintain as well thermally efficient. All the units feature 6.8mm laminated glass as standard too. As well as making sure that Distinction Glass delivers on the aesthetics and practicality, we’ve also worked hard to improve turnaround times. I’m very pleased to say we’re able to offer excellent lead times on all glass designs and the reaction from our customers has been excellent.

We previewed our next-generation composite door at the FIT Show this year, prior to launching it next year. The next-generation door is the result of extensive research and development and early customer feedback suggests it will set a new standard in our industry. As you’d expect from a Distinction door, the aesthetics are simply superb. It has clinical sightlines that deliver breath-taking symmetry while the inverted glazing system provides balanced aesthetics with the depression mouldings. It uses our trademark oak tree woodgrain effect and will be available in our six most popular styles (Eclat Arch, Eclat, Classical Half Glaze, Classical, Elegance, Esteem) and six colours (white, red, blue, black, Chartwell, anthracite grey).

We will be relaunching our new Retail Cottage door next year too. Available in five distinctive designs and six standard colours which includes both pre-stained Distinction Chartwell and Distinction anthracite grey all on a rapid lead time. Other RAL colours are also available on an extended lead time so there is a colour choice to satisfy any requirement. Retail Cottage features all Distinction’s trademark excellence for total peace of mind.

In terms of colour, available now are four new additional colours that reflect the trend towards softer, warmer shades: dusty pink, magnolia, sable and honey beige. We have also changed our Distinction colour names to the standard RAL and British Standard (BS) names and codes for easy reference. We have also introduced our new Colour Palette shade card to reflect our latest comprehensive colour offering, including the new shades above.

As well as having strong products, we know it’s important to have strong support too. Earlier this year, we launched our new website. It has a strong retail feel and has been designed to generate lead enquiries for our customers. The centrepiece is the innovative and interactive DoorBuilder application where homeowners can design every element of their new door before submitting a request for a quote that will be forwarded to their nearest supplier, helping to generate warm leads for our customers. The website also has a trade login area where customers can access a wealth of support material. Our image library is better than ever and features both glass and lifestyle images. There are technical documents and marketing materials so these are easily accessed with the click of a button. An important updates section keeps customers up to date with vital announcements, while updating account information is easily done online too.

Our offline marketing support matches the quality of our online marketing support. We have a new 30-page consumer brochure that covers the products in our Signature range. With its strong lifestyle feel, stunning imagery and inspirational text, it’s proving to be a valuable marketing tool for our customers. Featuring swatches of real woodgrain and coloured skin within the brochure, it’s designed to encourage homeowners to be more adventurous with colour and allow a true colour reflection too. We have also introduced our new consumer glass brochure to support our Distinction Glass offering. Called ‘The Collection’, the stunning consumer brochure presents our amazing glass range beautifully and allows consumers to select their preferred choice with ease. And for our customers who want to take their marketing even further, our Design Boutique offers an in-house graphic design service to produce bespoke leaflets and brochures to help installers promote our products in ways that is unique to their own company.

As I said at the start of this piece, the composite door market is in excellent shape. But if you want to make the most of the opportunities that the market presents, you need to make sure you have the right products in your portfolio. The Distinction door has always been at the forefront of the industry but with innovations such as Distinction Glass, the launch of the next-generation door in 2017, we are ensuring that our customers can continue to offer the best the industry has to offer for many years to come. Not only that, we back up our products with strong marketing support that helps to position them as stockists of the market-leading product. To find out more about what Distinction has to offer, call us on 0345 2000 816.