Published On: Tue, Jul 15th, 2014

Chris Powell, Sales Director of Epwin Group Systems Division

EWSD003_EpwinWSD_WinAct_Chris PowellFirst Job: It was a Saturday job in the family bakery, rolling loaves and buns. My first ‘proper’ job was as an apprentice tool maker and designer.

When did you join or set up current company? I joined Spectus Window Systems in 1997, and have since enjoyed continuous employment through various group businesses, acquisitions and mergers before joining Epwin Group in January 2012 as a result of the Latium merger.

Most useful/favourite gadget: HTC One Windows Phone. I know we are in an Apple dominated market but for durability and usability, it works for me!

Favourite/most useful website: Google, of course. Business person you admire: Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon.

Recommended hotel for business: Holiday Inn – they’re ideal for business; clean, offer good food and have internet access, and if you’ve got the time, most have leisure facilities too.

Favourite UK restaurant: Romulus in Prestbury, a quaint, friendly Italian restaurant in my home village.

Other interests: Sport! I love playing sports, Until recently I played in the Cheshire football league but I have now swapped this for a weekly round of golf, due to my age! The only problem is I’m no good at golf!

Working Day: Most days I leave the house or hotel between 7.00 and 7.15AM.  I spend my time either with members of the sales team or with customers. It’s a fine balance, spending the right amount of time with customers, understanding their businesses and their needs, and the right amount of time in the office putting good ideas into practice.

Working Location: Chris’s office is in the Epwin Group Window Systems Divisional office in Telford, overlooking the sales floor. “It’s hugely important to get into the office as often as possible to understand exactly what’s going on and keep up-to-speed with the internal team. That being said, I spend around three days a week out on the road with customers, so you could say my car plays a big role in my working environment.  Keeping in touch via the laptop and mobile is also very much the norm for me.”


One of the bigger challenges facing our industry is breaking the paradigm on price. I understand we’re not alone in this, and by no means an exception in the building products industry but I still feel it is a factor that deserves more attention from us all.  A competitive price is of course important however it cannot be the only factor in a decision to do business; there are too many examples of price driven deals that ultimately go wrong, usually because the arrangement was never commercially viable or indeed sustainable in the long term.”

“Design, quality, service and support all become the key factors. The benefits that the right combination of these elements bring must not be overlooked and that’s why I feel that these should be the focus from the off, not secondary to price. We are selling a highly engineered, highly efficient, very low-maintenance product, and we should be proud of that fact. It should be paramount to our sales presentation, throughout any negotiation.”

“The Fully Reversible Window launched by the Division towards the end of 2013 is a classic example of how the business has continued to invest, in product development and is taking advantage of innovation in both profile design and extrusion technology. This innovation comes in the form of Aeroframe, a trademarked development giving the profile an insulated wall thickness of 5.5 mm and acting as a honeycomb construction in the central cavity. This serves to advance the insulation of the profile and improve the window’s thermal efficiency and rigidity.

“We pay a considerable amount of attention to creating solution driven products; the FRW and Aeroframe are proof of that,” continues Chris.mThe FRW has numerous benefits aside from its improved efficiencies; it’s suitable for use in high- and medium-rise buildings and it’s also ideal for inaccessible and hard-to-reach areas. The pivot action means that the outer pane can be cleaned from the inside. This means that it is an incredibly valuable addition to our product offer – it is suitable for social housing contracts as well as use in private residential projects. These product developments have enjoyed almost instant success since their launch, with Chris and his team, together with the Commercial Sales and Specification team busy responding to a high number of enquiries and tenders. The FRW was also a particular point of interest when it was showcased at Ecobuild in March.

“The last 12 months have been incredibly positive for us especially in the new-build and commercial refurbishment markets. We’ve worked on some particularly interesting and challenging projects where the specification has really tested our technical team and our customers. Most recently we had a customer who was the only company to tender to say that the specification could be achieved, and they were right! That’s what we like about our customers, working with us as partners can add real value to both businesses with this remaining central to our DNA and core values.

“The next step of our product development will see us move our Aeroframe technology further into our product range. Products like the FRW are capable of u-values as low as 0.8 from a 70mm flush profile system to give both customers and clients a value-for-money solution that meets their performance criteria.”

The Epwin Group Window Systems Division comprises Profile 22, Spectus Window Systems, Swish Windows and Door Systems, PatioMaster and Safeware – all as recognised brands. It is the diversity within these brands that gives Chris and his team the leverage to maximise opportunities and ride the crest of the wave when it comes to increased optimism and improvements in the marketplace: “As a business we are in rather an enviable position when it comes to our offering but I do think there are lessons to be learnt from our set-up. Diversity is the spice of life and I think the best businesses learn to adapt quickly and effectively to market demands. But this doesn’t mean taking a slap-dash approach to business, planning is crucial.”

Only last month Chris was reported as saying that energy efficiency is in his top three when it comes to his sales proposition: “It’s a big player in the decision-making process and not something to be ignored. The British building and construction sector has changed considerably, and that change isn’t going to slow down.” It is for this reason that the Division has focused its attention on exceeding expectations and maximising efficiencies – with the invention of Aeroframe and also gaining A+ accreditation on a number of its products.

Customer service is a vital element in the sales process as far as Chris is concerned: “We get lots of useful feedback from our customers both through our customer service co-ordinators and from our area sales managers. We understand where we are successful and more importantly where we are not, so you have to embrace feedback, and make changes and improvements where necessary rather than spending too much time celebrating the successes.”

“What are my goals and aspirations in life? That’s a tough one. I just want to satisfy our customers. It comes back to my point about Jeff Bezos – he started a business in his garage based on such a simple idea. For Amazon, the customer experience has always been the central core of the business, and is all important. That for me is my goal each and every working day.”

Tel: 01952 290910