Published On: Wed, Apr 22nd, 2020


Address: Bailey Drive, Gillingham Business Park, Gillingham, Kent, ME8 0WG

Tel: 01634 263 263 – Email: sales@vbhgb.comWebsite:

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Not all hardware suppliers are the same

Simon Monks, Managing Director of VBH, highlights the importance of selecting the right hardware supplier for your business

When we select a product or a supplier in our personal lives, most of us use a checklist to ensure that we get the best deal. We start with the item itself. Is it fit for purpose? Is the price right? Will it improve my life in some way? Once you’ve decided what you’re going to buy, you repeat the process for where to buy it. Is the company easy to buy from? Do they offer a decent warranty? How quickly can they supply it? Are they financially sound? Do I get something back? Whilst we’re all diligent when buying for ourselves, that doesn’t always transfer into our work lives. Although many hardware suppliers sell the same or (what may appear to be) similar products, dig deeper and you will find that it’s important to use your purchasing checklist at work, just as you do at home.

Here are a few examples of how VBH tick all the right boxes
In terms of range we have the perfect balance between products from respected third party suppliers, including AGB, Roto and Yale to name but three, and our own greenteQ range with its market-leading 25 year Coastline surface guarantee. This gives customers a choice of products. As well as providing VBH customers with this choice of great products, we also invest heavily in testing and certification to help them sell their finished windows and doors. You may have read that BSI has introduced a brand new Kitemark scheme for hardware. We see this as a perfect way to support our customers.

VBH are already working with BSI to have all our relevant hardware across windows, doors and patio doors tested and accredited to the new scheme and are planning to be industry leaders in adopting the Hardware Kitemark in April/May. By the time you read this, we may already have achieved this milestone. In the meantime, we are proud to supply hardware that has been tested for use in Kitemark products. Fabricators with Secured by Design or PAS24 approved products will be able to fit any of our tested hardware by utilising our Initial Type Test evidence. Because we offer a choice of products from various brands, they have flexibility in what they can fit per contract without having to invest the time and expense of re-testing each hardware type.

By fitting Kitemarked VBH hardware to their products, our customers can access the lucrative new build market and they, and their installer customers, can offer the Q-secure home-owner security guarantee completely free of charge. Coming back to the personal checklists I mentioned earlier, people are heavily swayed by the peace of mind that a guarantee brings, and Q-secure will often clinch a sale. We have plans this year to make the guarantee even better by redefining the mix of products that are covered and by using Q-secure to actively generate leads for approved manufacturers and installers. More on that later in 2020.

Of course, once you’ve identified what you want, you need to decide on the best way to get it. Looking again at our personal lives, we all buy at least some of our goods online. VBH customers have had the option to buy online for 20+ years. The 2018 version of our online shop, VBH24, has proved incredibly popular and many of our customers, from the smallest to the very largest, now buy their hardware online. We are currently running at 21% of 2020 sales arriving via VBH24.

Easy ordering process
Customers can check stock and prices, and place and track orders whenever they wish. VBH24’s Product Configurator allows them to generate specs for complicated products, such as bi-fold doors or tilt and turns, and order them with just a few clicks via a short Q&A process. It’s all designed to make the ordering process easy. If all hardware suppliers worked the way we do, buyers would have an easy job, but they don’t. I hope to have highlighted a few points that should be included on any buyers’ checklist to help source the right product, from the right company.