Published On: Thu, Nov 20th, 2014

Industry has found a newly discovered impetus

Windows Active Editor John Cowie believes being dynamic in business combined with constant re-evaluation leads to longevity and success 

editorIt has become apparent over the last few months that the industry has a newly discovered impetus. The deluge of installer and fabricator support initiatives has been backed up by an unprecedented number of new products that don’t just pay lip service to the word ‘innovation’. In any business it is always a worthwhile exercise to take an objective step back and ask the question: ‘considering all the market intelligence you have and the prevailing market conditions, would you enter the industry as a new business today?’ It’s a question we ask in our own publishing business, and the answer always remains ‘yes’. Despite all the challenges in the publishing industry there is much ‘white noise’ regarding online alternatives. At Windows Active we cover all bases, and time and time again our marketing-leading print magazine delivers results way above online alternatives. But being dynamic is the key to a successful business and constant re-evaluation is key to success. The excellent book entitled ‘Who Moved my Cheese’ is a must-read for any business owner who is operating in a fast-moving market.

Having been involved in the window industry for approaching 20 years I am more than qualified to be able reflect on the underlying factors that lead to longevity and success in the sector. I have seen companies come and go, seen some re-invent themselves, and others just consistently delivering on their promises. So what is the golden ticket to success? It may sound rather dull and an adage used time and again, but service and quality top the tree in so many cases. Add to this, innovation and the mantra that ‘the customer is always king’ and you are left with a set of principles that will form the base of a decent organisation.

2014 has been a year in which the window industry has started to accelerate away from recession. It’s been a year where innovation has been the real winner. New products have trickled out of the industry for the last few years, but 2014 has been the year where R&D investments have really kicked in. I understand that on the shop floor of most PVC-U fabricators I visit, 80% of the windows produced are white shiny PVC-U frames, and this will aways be the lifeblood of our industry. Even within these so-called commodity products, new innovation is prevalent. Reinforcements, profile design, hardware and manufacturing machinery are all rich in innovation. The actual products themselves are constantly being tweaked to enhance performance and increase ease of fabrication and installation.

Headlines are often given over to the striking and imposing innovations, and this is what drives the industry. The same can be said of the motor industry. We often take for granted the run-of the mill products, but they help underpin all other innovations. But it’s the exciting new products that captivate the audience and these will help us all achieve market longevity. It is important these are promoted to the consumers at large as it becomes tiresome when the window industry is tarnished with an image of unsympathetic replacement plastic windows and doors.

The industry is fronting up to this battle and as an avid reader of the Sunday Times Homes supplement I can report a growing appreciation within its content for glazing and fenestration products. I also must admit a mild addiction to Home Under the Hammer (on catch-up of course!), a TV show that champions the cause of enhancing a home with new windows and doors. The signs are there that we’re in a sector that is in good health and one that is being appreciated by our target audience. Hopefully the same applies to publishing!!