Published On: Sun, Jun 8th, 2014

The hawk has landed at Arkay Windows

With the eyes of a hawk on quality and service, Arkay Windows brings to market a high-end range of aluminium doors and windows

SAMSUNG CSCYou will have noticed in the previous two issues of Windows Active a rather striking advertisement featuring an elegant and imposing hawk. “He’s got eyes like an Arkay quality controller,” is the headline and one that fits perfectly with the ethos of the company’s aluminium specialist division. Arkay Windows’ owner is Raju Radia, a man with a passion for perfection and delivering the right product at the right price.

Partnering with leading aluminium profile suppliers such as Schueco and Aluk has enabled Arkay to target trade customers who have a similar desire for delivering a high-quality aluminium fenestration solution. The market is demanding this type of product as more and more homeowners are influenced by popular television programmes such as Grand Designs. Raju is fully aware of this growing trend: “Many projects featured on Grand Designs are grandiose and may include a 7-metre sliding door, but due to innovation and realistic prices, an owner of a semi-detached home can also recreate a similar look and feel.”

As a company, Arkay has progressed rapidly in the aluminium sector. The catalyst was its involvement in a number of contracts for social housing projects, soon progressing to providing fenestration solutions for colleges and luxury housing. With such a diverse range of customers, Raju is able to stay at the forefront in satisfying the needs and desires of the market: “Slim sight lines and solutions for large openings are driving the market for aluminium. The bi-fold door was a great innovation and aluminium represented the perfect framing material. We are now seeing a slight change in demand, with the rise in popularity of sliding door systems. Homeowners are now demanding an unrestricted view; a sliding door offers the perfect solution. With the Schueco system we can create sliding doors with the only visible vertical frame measuring a mere 94mm in width.”

The name of Schueco is also aiding Arkay’s business. As consumers become more involved in the specification process, they understand more of the benefits of using windows and doors manufactured from high-quality systems. Raju adds: “There has been little doubt in the past about the versatility of aluminium, but PVC-U scored better on availability, price and performance. I know this myself as we have a PVC-U window division as well. Recently, the tide has turned and aluminium profile suppliers we partner with have reduced lead times. In our case this has meant at least one or two deliveries a week. In addition, the performance has improved significantly and the real game changer is the increased availability of coloured and dual-coloured profiles.”

These changes are extremely important for a company such as Arkay. Priding itself on offering quality and service to a diverse customer base means Raju and his team need to be able to rely heavily on component suppliers. Arkay is very much driven by their customers, and this has been at the heart of their success. When you consider that many retailers and installers buying from Arkay, dual-source PVC-U products, it is essential to supply aluminium within similar delivery parameters. By carrying a high level of aluminium profile in stock, Arkay are able to turn around Schueco bi-fold doors in 5 days for white and grey colours. This is facilitated by having a modern factory that features the latest machinery and experienced fabricators. Investment is also key, and Raju is keen to emphasise his commitment to automation in the factory: “This year we have more than doubled our capacity with the purchase of over £250,000 worth of the latest machinery. This includes the Elumatec SBZ140 which seamlessly fits in with our barcode-driven production flows. Currently we are able to produce around 250 windows and 50 bi-folds every week.”

With larger fabricators such as Arkay producing Schueco products, prices have become more realistic, and this goes some way to explain the increasing dominance of the Schueco bi-fold in the market. Raju is keen to hear from installers and retailers who may have ruled out choosing Schueco: “We have product ranges to suit all budgets, but I am a firm believer the end-user is changing their purchasing criteria. As we pull out of the recession, windows and doors are no longer perceived as a distress purchase – more akin to an aspiration buy. They are often viewed as a lifestyle product; homeowners now want the best and this fits in very nicely with the Schueco brand. By mastering fabrication we are able to manufacture a product from a top-quality aluminium extrusion at a lower price than previously charged by a smaller specialist company. Post-recession, the marketplace has changed and there is a new set of rules and conditions which have created further opportunities.”

With turnover having grown year-on-year and the company running under the radar to many in the trade, the time has come to further extend its reach into the industry. With a dedicated direct mail campaign aimed to coincide with current trade press advertising, the company is looking to raise awareness and build its image around the attributes of the hawk. Raju has proudly been at the helm of Arkay since 1978 when he turned his back on a career in the city after graduating in business and finance. He has never looked back and is now eagerly anticipating the next stage in the company’s development. “We are looking to hear from like-minded window companies who share our own passion for quality and service. For them, we can supply a wide range of aluminium windows and doors featuring the latest designs and performance. I’m also happy to discuss their PVC-U requirements as Arkay also has a fully automated PVC-U manufacturing plant creating products of the highest quality.”

Tel: 020 888 91888