Published On: Fri, Jul 15th, 2016

Gareth Jones, Marketing and Technical Director, Rehau

First Job: : In my gap year, I was a librarian, an accounts clerk and an English teacher in South America. I was also very memorably an assistant on a Mediterranean cruise ship and, having coped with both an air raid in Israel and a bomb threat on a bus in Jordan, there isn’t much in the window industry that can scare me!

When did you join your current company: I joined as a graduate trainee in 1998 with a degree in International Management and Spanish.

Most useful/favourite gadget: No one who knows me will be surprised to hear me say a corkscrew!

Favourite/most useful website: I’m going to say Wikipedia because I love a good pub quiz. Business person you admire: It would be impossible to pick just one from amongst our many successful customers.

Recommended hotel for business: I really will sleep anywhere with a TV and a hot shower.

Favourite UK restaurant: Any decent steak house. I’ve been spoilt in recent times by my trips to Rehau in South Africa so it’s getting harder to find one here that measures up.

Best business decision: Expanding Rehau’s commercial sales team in the south at just the right time has paid massive dividends.

Other interests: Football, rugby, film and travel.


Working Day: I’m based at Rehau’s head office in Ross on Wye and the time I arrive in the office is generally dictated by whether or not I’m required to do the school run with my sons that morning. Once I’m there, I spend most of my days in internal meetings with the product marketing and communications teams overseeing and planning projects. In the lead up to the FIT show, I haven’t been able to visit customers as much as I’d like, but I’m planning to be out and about much more in the months ahead. Because the head office is on a private estate, I generally leave work fairly promptly, but I have my laptop strategically positioned at home between the kitchen and the living room so that I can check my emails and do a bit of work in the evening.

Working Location: Rehau’s head office is in Ross on Wye which is sometimes judged to be a bit out in the sticks.  In fact, it’s ideally located for getting to places like Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham and it means we’ve got a wide pool of really good people to choose from when we’re recruiting.  It’s a beautiful place to work in purpose built offices next to the 16th century manor house owned by the Wagner family, who founded Rehau in the 1940s and are still in charge today.


PR2076 Gareth Jones Marketing and Technical Director REHAUFor large sections of the industry, 2015 ended up as a fairly disappointing year. There were lots of high spots, but the market was just too uneven to deliver any really meaningful growth. 2016 though has started much better and while the messages about how the market will eventually perform are still fairly mixed, Rehau is certainly on budget and doing well. Much of our current optimism is obviously related to the launch of our AGILA brand at this month’s FIT Show. It’s our exciting new brand for our specialist door systems and encompasses everything from a brand new AGILA sliding door to an AGILA Passivhaus door and an AGILA multi-fold. Like everything in the Rehau range, the AGILA products are beautifully designed and immaculately engineered and they all have the potential to deliver exciting new sales opportunities for our fabricators and installers. The AGILA sliding door, for example, is perfect for the replacement and new build market, while the Passivhaus door will undoubtedly win business for customers in the commercial sector.

Key focus for Rehau

Passivhaus is actually a key focus for Rehau in the commercial market in 2016 because our analysis of the UK and our experience in mainland Europe suggests that it is set for major growth. In line with this, we’re running a series of Passivhaus seminars at the moment for architects and specifiers at stand out locations such as the SS Great Britain in Bristol and The Crystal in London’s Docklands and we’ve just been announced as the main sponsors for both the 2016 UK Passivhaus Awards and the 2016 UK Passivhaus Conference. We’re determined to give our customers a real head start in this market – we already have the Passivhaus certified products in our range such as our GENEO window system and now the AGILA door, and we’re stepping up our sales and marketing efforts and making significant investments to make sure that we are more widely specified than our competitors either in aluminium or in PVC-U. In terms of sales and marketing, I’m also very excited about the launch at FIT of our brand new 360°Performance web to print marketing portal, which allows Rehau customers to access and order all of our marketing support material online and even to personalise their choice of brochures, advertisements and showroom material. We know how important it is for our customers to benefit from the power of the Rehau brand but we also know that they want to promote their own identity as well, and this is a great way of helping them to do that.

Driven by feedback

Obviously, all of our customer focused activity like 360°Performance is driven by the feedback we get from them. Over the past couple of years, for example, lots of our demand planning and supply chain work has been around the need to give customers the very best colour offering because, for so many of them, it is now absolutely critical to their success. This doesn’t just mean having the widest range of colours, because that’s almost impossible to achieve without compromising on costs and lead times, but rather being able to offer the most flexible and responsive service on the colours which are the most popular, and I think we’ve achieved that. Rehau’s restructuring at the beginning of 2015 was very much geared to making us even more responsive to customers and we’ve achieved a great deal over the last year or so. Our performance in terms of colour and our ability to deliver products like AGILA in record time would certainly indicate that we’re well on our way to achieving our objectives. We’re certainly not all the way there yet though, and I think there’s still a way for us to go in terms in terms of balancing our internal set up so that we deliver even better service and value; but I’m confident that we have the right balance and mix of experience and skills here now. If I had to give any advice to our customers at this point, it would probably be – stick to what you know and stick to what you’re good at. That obviously doesn’t mean don’t target new opportunities, but rather focus on the markets and the regions where you know that you are strong. I think where Rehau can come in is in fulfilling our role as a trusted and reliable supplier and helping customers to fill in any gaps that they might have in their product range. Thanks to products like our flush fit window, our Rehau Heritage vertical slider and now our AGILA door range, we can help customers develop a more flexible product offering and target new sales without having to take any real risks.

Using one key supplier

There are huge benefits to be had in sales and marketing terms from just using one key supplier and certainly with a brand as powerful as Rehau, it’s still a real advantage for an installer to be able to deliver a project which is 100% Rehau. We’re not complacent about our brand though. Rehau has transformed itself in recent years in order to respond to market demands on issues such as sustainability and innovation and to retain our market position. We’ve taken huge strides on ‘greening’ our production – achieving ISO50001 at our extrusion plant and adapting to the increased use of recycled materials. We’ve also delivered more new products than ever and we’ve strengthened our reputation in both mass market new build and high end commercial. Looking ahead, I’m very confident about what lies ahead for us. The real challenge for the industry as I see it lies not in marketing or product development but in recruitment and succession planning. There are a lot of entrepreneurial 55-60 year olds at the heart of this industry but I don’t yet see the next generation of entrepreneurs snapping at their heels when they retire. I think we all know that we need to attract skilled young people into the industry and at the same time increase the number of apprenticeships on offer, but we will only be able to do that successfully if we can make the fenestration industry an exciting and aspirational choice. Everyone in the industry can play some part in this. We all know it’s a great industry – perhaps we just need to shout about it a bit more.