Published On: Thu, Jul 18th, 2019

Glazerite aims to give your installation business a better future

According to Jason Thompson of Glazerite, leaving in-house fabrication behind can give your business a better future

Changing your business model from fabricator/installer to installer-only can be a daunting prospect. Ceasing in-house manufacturing – having built your business on the premise you install what you make – can be difficult to swallow. Combined with the closure of your factory, the often complex HR decisions that might follow, and then having to choose the right profile system and fabricator to meet your needs, there are a number of challenges which need to be considered and worked through carefully.

However, as market conditions worsen and prices continue to climb, a growing number of businesses are now choosing to focus solely on installation. And for those who have already exited fabrication entirely, the decision has been – without doubt – the right one. Jason Thompson, Group Managing Director of leading Veka fabricator, the Glazerite UK Group, explains: “We’ve seen a real shift to installer-only businesses among our customer base over recent years. With spiralling raw material costs and labour costs, not to mention investment in machinery, it is becoming more difficult for many small fabricators to continue to justify in-house fabrication as a sustainable route.”

In order to support those looking to make the move, Glazerite offers support packages to help businesses in areas they might not have resource in – like HR and marketing – which can act as a buffer during the transition process and beyond. This customer-focused ethos goes hand in hand with the fabricator’s comprehensive and constantly evolving product range. Jason says: “We fabricate a wide range of high-quality standard and specialist products. Our aim is to help them make the transition to installer-only as seamless as possible, and we hope the only thing their own customers notice is an increase in the choice of products available.”

He continues: “Fabricators focus on making quality products that the end customer wants, and are well-placed to be able to react to consumer trends. That means we can help installers take on the more specialist jobs, and support them with short lead times and nationwide deliveries tailored to suit them.”

Access to products that enable them to take on non-standard jobs they’d otherwise have to turn down was one of the key factors behind Heavers of Bridport’s decision to stop fabricating last year. Today, the Dorset-based business focuses solely on the installation of PVC-U and aluminium windows and doors, and have now turned their former factory space into a showroom; the biggest in the region. Run by brothers Luke and Ross Heaver, the company was established over 50 years by their grandfather. It was partly the uncertainty around Brexit which led the Heavers to exit fabrication for good. Luke explains: “When we’d made the decision to stop fabricating we needed to find a trustworthy supplier who could fabricate Veka products for us and who would help us ensure the continuity of service and quality we’d always prided ourselves on. The decision did not come easily. As a family business we had a great deal of pride in what we did. But with the backing of Glazerite we’ve been able to transition to our new operating model with a much greater choice for our customers. This is putting our business in great stead for a healthy future.”

Like Heavers, a number of Glazerite’s installer partners have chosen to turn their factory space into showrooms, helped out with display material from the fabricator. Another Glazerite installer who made the switch is Cannock-based Goliath Homeworld. The company stopped fabricating in 2008 in part due to rising manufacturing costs. Owner and Managing Director, Stephen Hancox, readily admits that the decision was the ‘best one we ever made’. He continues: “Once we’d made the decision, we needed to find a supportive fabricator who could match our own ambitions for the future.

“For Goliath, it was imperative that we chose a supplier with the same forward-thinking ethos we have. Glazerite stood out thanks to their plans for growth, and their desire to provide high quality products, services and deliveries tailored around their installers.”

Today, Stephen and his team are focusing on what they do they best; sales and installations. He adds: “If we’d carried on fabricating, I’m not sure we’d still be here today.”

Glazerite’s Jason expects many smaller fabricators will follow suit, and says it’s extremely rewarding to see those they’ve already helped reap the benefits. He concludes: “It can be a daunting move, but with the right support, we’re confident those who do take the leap into install-only won’t regret it.”