Published On: Tue, May 9th, 2017

Ian Short, Managing Director of Morley Glass & Glazing

First job: Milk round along with morning and evening paper rounds – I’ve never been afraid of hard work or early starts!

When did you join or set up your current company: Morley Glass and Glazing was set up in 1998.

Most useful/favourite gadget: This has to be the smart phone – especially the XE currency app which keeps me up-to-date on currency rates in real time.

Favourite/most useful website: – not because this is where I buy gifts necessarily but because I really admire the ethos behind this site. It allows thousands of small businesses to sell their products on a trusted platform to a huge market. I am very pro-small business and am always willing to place orders where appropriate with smaller companies in an effort to sustain and nurture entrepreneurs at start-up level.

Business person you admire: Baroness Michelle Mone, founder of Ultimo. Her motto is ‘You fail to plan – you plan to fail.

Recommended hotel for business: When I’m in London I always use the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – the staff value returning guests and go above and beyond to anticipate your requirements.

Favourite UK restaurant: We are really lucky in Leeds to have a huge range of quality restaurants locally but if I had to choose a favourite it would probably be Sous Le Nez on Quebec Street in Leeds centre. An amazing French bistro-type restaurant with a fabulous wine list.

Best business decision: Undoubtedly the decision to invest huge amounts of both time and resources into developing the manufacture and marketing of integral blinds in the UK. Without this niche product, I honestly doubt our company would have survived the last economic downturn.

Other interests: Honestly I have very little spare time but my wife is an active member of our local Rotary Club and I support many of their fundraising events. It’s great to be hands on, making a difference. We also love to travel and are hoping to spend more time travelling as Matthew begins to take a more active role in our business.


Working Day: The move to new premises totally consumed me and I was spending around 18 hours a day at work in the latter stages. Thankfully that’s all over now. Most days, I arrive at work at 6am. I enjoy having time in the office before anyone else arrives to catch up on paperwork, respond to enquiries and plan my day.  I’m a very hands-on type of person so I spend time each day on the shop floor and in the office supporting my team. I have absolute faith in my General Manager, Kevin Murphy, who takes much of the day-to-day stress off my shoulders. This means I am free to concentrate on other matters such as frequent communication with our suppliers as well as regular trips to Italy to discuss new product developments. I’m constantly on the go but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.


Working Location: I’m based at our fabulous new premises in Leeds, West Yorkshire. We have a 15-year lease on the 40,000ft2 factory, showroom and office space and there’s lots of room for continued growth and expansion. I sit in the open plan offices and like to feel the buzz of activity – plus I’m close to the coffee machine for my regular hit of caffeine in the form of strong expressos!


It’s been a landmark year for us here at Morley Glass & Glazing. As a result of consistent 30% year-on-year growth – and to accommodate future planned growth of our integral blinds business – we moved to larger premises. We’ve invested more than £1m moving to a 40,000 ft2 factory and office space in Leeds, West Yorkshire, creating the world’s largest dedicated factory for manufacturing ScreenLine® integral blinds into insulating glass units.

The design of ScreenLine® integral blinds ensures our Uni-Blinds® sealed units represent the most stylish, contemporary addition to any window or door and the continued growth of this sector of our industry warrants our investment in quality machinery and in our workforce to ensure that the pride we take in our manufacturing process is reflected in the quality of our products. The new premises have enabled us to double our production capacity, triple our footprint and create at least five new jobs on top of the 54 people we already employ. The new premises have allowed us to work more efficiently, invest in new machinery, improve our showroom, and install a new customer training facility. We’re committed to supporting installers and will provide training and technical advice through our team of dedicated customer support engineers, and the new premises give us the space and facility to do this.

We’ve designed the space in exactly the way that we need it to be. It is a bespoke integral blinds manufacturing facility. We’ve invested in the latest automated technology with our new Best Makina fully automatic 58-metre-long sealed unit assembly line, which is less labour intensive, improves the efficiency of our production line and enhances the quality of the finished product. It’s capable of producing 3m x 2.5m sealed units and the automation means that there is less handling of the glass – and therefore less potential for damage.

Arriving in Leeds with a vehicle escort from Turkey, the new machine was packaged in three huge containers and installed by six engineers in just one week. It is a very robust machine and the first of its kind to be installed in the UK. It has an automated gas press and robot gun that utilises three different types of sealants: hot melt for traditional sealed units, silicone sealed for structural glazing and Kömmerling GD115 polysulphide for fire-glass as well as being used as our primary sealant for sealed units. One of our primary reasons for using Best Makina is that they have a philosophy that one size doesn’t fit all, and they have made the complete line tailored to suit our needs. The machinery also comes with a two-year warranty. The three-tonne washing machine even recycles its final rinse water, which is used to clean the brushes in a pre-wash cycle, helping to maintain the machine’s components, keeping it clean and free of debris, and ensuring the quality of the finished products.

The new premises also give us the space to increase our product range – many of which are exclusive to Morley Glass. We’ll soon be launching fire-rated Uni-Blinds® as well as a home automation interface that enables window and door installers to easily incorporate motorised integral blinds within home automation systems. Our exclusive S159 (equivalent to RAL7016) anthracite grey coloured slats for integral blinds have delivered excellent growth. Our next exclusive product is the SL16 system which is ideal for use in composite doors and vertical sliding windows due to its slimline 10mm slats, making it the first integrated blind system that is suitable for use in a 16mm cavity. The new range includes the slider controlled SL16S Venetian, as well as the SL16C Venetian with cord control. These new product developments show how we are continually striving to satisfy the market demands for integral blind systems.

The key to our success has been our ability to offer the industry’s shortest lead-time of 10 working days from orders placed by 10am any Friday. We have a close partnership with Pellini in Italy and currently command around 90% of the UK market for manual, slider, solar and motorised controlled ScreenLine® blinds. We also stock the largest range of ScreenLine® system spare parts in Europe with the enlarged factory enabling us to stock £750,000 of Screenline® components with most parts supplied within 24 hours. We understand that installers need parts quickly and we’re set up to meet this demand.

As a successful business we strongly believe in giving something back to the local community. We support a wide range of sports and community projects where a small contribution can make a huge difference. We’re also closely involved with the Rotary Club of Roundhay which works to solve some of our communities’ toughest challenges.

My wife has always worked alongside me in the company, managing the financial side of the business and has played a huge part in its success. I’m delighted that our son Matthew has chosen to join us, so we’re becoming a real family business. He needs to understand all aspects of the business so is starting on the shop floor and working his way up, with no favouritism on my part. The quality of our products and our investment in staff training and customer service, plus our 10-day delivery commitment, is resulting in record growth, which is set to continue as more and more fabricators and installers recognise the profit potential of selling integral blinds.