Published On: Thu, Apr 23rd, 2015

A frank discussion with Total Glass’s MD

Sitting across from Frank Deary Group Managing Director of Total Glass, his enthusiasm and bonhomie are infectious. It’s a barrage of wit, banter and friendly ‘challenges’ yet there’s a steely glint in those twinkling blue eyes, revealing a glimmer of the man who has grown his business from zero to £25 million…

020320151026375673_lTotal Glass is one of the UK’s largest fabricators, and arguably one the most successful businesses in the industry. Frank attributes a proportion of this success to his profile supplier, Profile 22: “I picked the right profile supplier 30 years ago. They ticked all the boxes; a high-quality and sustainable product offering with a stable supply chain. And that decision back in 1984 has formed the business we have today. With Profile 22’s support we are one of the UK’s largest fabricators of PVC-U products.” This is a bold statement but one which Frank believes in, wholeheartedly. “Our partnership with Profile 22 has allowed us to honour 30 years of guarantees. There aren’t many fabricators who can say that about their profile supplier.” To put it into perspective, at the last count Total Glass had used enough profile to go around the world more than three times.

During this 30-year partnership, Profile 22 has worked closely with Total Glass to open doors. 10 years ago they broke into the commercial market, and now serve in excess of 40 housing trusts, alongside local authorities, house builders and developers. An on-site trade counter services local builders and tradesmen.

However, take a look behind the scenes at Total Glass, and it’s about far more than product… It’s apparent as soon as you enter the building that people, progress and training are as much a part of Total Glass as the finished product. In fact, it’s a pretty inspirational business. “It is a happy environment. We have a great team, who enjoy being here,” continues Frank. “For me, that’s crucial, both personally and as an employer. We run a birthday club into which everyone pops £2 a week, and for funerals we have a whip around…it’s not rocket science but when you’re talking about 230 members of staff, well, it’s appreciated.”

And it’s working. 30% of the staff have been with the business for over 20 years; the man who operates the saw machine actually cut Frank’s very first window. One of Total Glass’s most inspirational appointments is Mike, now 69 years old and nowhere near ready for retirement, he’s been with the business for seven years. Mike is responsible for arranging NVQ training, “Mike’s a former college lecturer; it was a conscious decision to employ someone with a teaching background,” continues Frank.

“We all need education; it shouldn’t stop the moment you leave school. We offer NVQ training levels 1-5 and we tailor it to the individual. By offering more than one level we’re able to forge careers paths. And it’s not limited to the shop floor either; we support every element of the business whether it’s office based or out in the factory.

“We are constantly working to ensure that all of our departments are level pegging, by that I mean training, progress, well-being. As a business, we work as a team; we’re not dominated by any one aspect of the business like manufacturing, sales or accounts; we’re one big team. “Everyone works and eats together, there’s no segregation between management and staff. Because of that, and the training opportunities, people feel as if they belong at Total Glass, and are valued. Catching an insight into Frank’s relationship with his staff reveals a hunger and mentality akin to his own; from a shared sense of humour, to a desire and drive to achieve the very best. “We bounce back off the canvas every time,” says Frank, who himself has been a keen boxer for many years.

“The bigger you are the harder you fall. We’re no more confident than we were 30-odd years ago. We know about business but it hasn’t made us cocky! The challenges and opportunities of everyday business, and our customers help keep our feet firmly on the ground.” People are a key part of Total Glass’s success and as the business has grown, Frank has developed a management team that he believes is the strongest in the industry – and the awards cabinet in the company’s reception area is testament to this.

There’s no denying Frank’s charisma and drive; his personality echoes around the building, the company which he started back in 1981 as a cabinet maker. Today, Frank is a very active Group MD, hands-on, and with his finger firmly on the pulse of a healthy and profitable business.

Tel: 0151 549 2339