Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Moving with the market

Stevenswood’s secret to flourishing in fabrication……

photoAs the industry’s leading PVC-U systems supplier, The VEKA UK Group is always looking to evolve and to find ways to improve both efficiency and service, while helping its customers do the same.

Stevenswood is one company, in particular, that has taken up this call-to-action with a level of enthusiasm, determination and drive that should stand as an example to others in the industry.

This Scottish trade fabricator has adapted and developed in a dramatic fashion over recent years. Stevenswood MD Ron Hepburn explains: “the company was originally established as an installation company in 1997 and began fabricating a few years later in order to have more control over product quality and delivery times. I believe we were the first company in Scotland to offer VEKA’s 70mm Fully Sculptured frames, which are now the industry standard. Back then, we were fitting up to eight conservatories a week plus supplying our excess manufacturing capacity to trade customers.

“As the demand for trade supply increased, we decided that we should stop competing with our own customers on the installation side of things. It was a big decision, but we were confident that the way forward for us was solely in trade manufacturing.

“It was certainly the right decision – we now produce 800-1000 complete windows and doors per week, making us one of Scotland’s largest trade fabricators of PVC-U windows, doors and conservatories along with a range of other home improvement products.

“When we moved from installation to trade supply, we knew we needed to offer efficiency, service and incredibly keen pricing to remain competitive. We also knew we would have to invest heavily in the latest CNC machinery and the latest software.

“Since 2003 we have invested over £1.5m in state-of-the-art equipment. We installed the industry’s most advanced window production software and we have converted our factory to a totally lean manufacturing facility.

“Many people might have found it too daunting to make such substantial investments, but we knew that it would help build our business even further and allow us to be at the forefront of production in Central Scotland. In May 2013, we were proud to open our sixth factory unit.

“As well as our state-of-the-art facilities, we pride ourselves on the impeccable level of service we offer to our many customers. With our origins in installation, Stevenswood is ideally placed to understand the priorities of our client base. Before moving into trade fabricating, our operators installed more than 2000 conservatories! The whole team is more than happy to advise on best practice with the benefit of our extensive experience. We even offer an optional survey service for customers who might be struggling with a problematic site or project.

“Over the years, it has been important for us to adapt and extend our product range to meet the needs of the market and VEKA has been fantastic in that respect. We now carry the complete range of VEKA systems and by using such an industry-leading supplier, we know that all windows and doors carry the necessary accreditations – so there is a product to suit all our clients’ projects. We’ve amassed a loyal and valued customer base of around 1650 installation companies, joiners, builders, self-builders, councils and housing associations throughout Scotland.

“One of the most valuable things we ever did was utilise the consultancy services of the Scottish Manufacturing Advice Service (SMAS) in order to make the plant run as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. I would advise any fabrication company to do the same if they were given a similar opportunity – it was more than worthwhile. During this time, we experienced a 45% improvement in productivity. There was also a cut in non-value-adding activities of 68%. Savings of £30,000 were made by reducing the amount of work in progress and paperwork was reduced by 75%.

“Stevenswood has come on in massive leaps and bounds since it was founded 17 years ago and, as a company, we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next 17!”

The VEKA UK Group’s Sales and Marketing Director Colin Torley added: “Stevenswood ticks all the boxes for what a great fabricator should be doing. Their highly experienced team are friendly and helpful and the company is not afraid to adapt to a changing market. Much like The VEKA UK Group, Stevenswood is proud to invest in plant and people to offer its customers the best possible ongoing service.”

Pictured: Stevenswood supplied the 70mm VEKA Fully Sculptured Casements (fixed between individual screen wall mullions) for a curtain walling project at Finmill Centre, Dundee.