Published On: Mon, Nov 19th, 2018

Simon Monks, Managing Director, VBH (GB)

First Job: After university, my first job was managing a supermarket as part of a graduate scheme. I learnt more about apples than I ever thought possible!

When did you join current company: I joined VBH in September 2007 as Area Sales Manager for the South.

Most useful/favourite gadget: It’s a cliché, but my smart phone is something I couldn’t live without now.

Favourite/most useful website: I find LinkedIn one of the most useful platforms for seeing what is happening in the industry and the people in it! And of course, VBH24!

Business person you admire: Jeff Bezos. The true innovator when it comes to “predictive analytics” for customers.

Recommended hotel for business: The Bridgewood Manor Hotel and Spa in Kent. Since working at VBH, it’s been my home away from home.

Favourite UK restaurant: Red’s True Barbecue. I’ve spent a good portion of my life in the USA and it’s the closest thing I have found to good old Southern BBQ!

Best business decision: Expanding VBH’s greenteQ range to complement the wide range of branded hardware we distribute.

Other interests: I’m a real movie buff, and after many years of living in the USA I love American sports – especially as I’ve played a few at a high level! I also enjoy travelling with my family.


Working Week: I’m up at 6am and typically working through emails from the previous evening or from Group colleagues in different time zones. Split between strategic meetings with other company directors and managers, face-to-face customer visits and catch-ups with suppliers, my week is never the same. This variety is one of the things I enjoy most in my role at VBH. I wouldn’t be able to achieve success for VBH with a closed door to my office, so I encourage an open door and open communication policy within the business and with our customers and suppliers.


VBH opened up in the UK as Wagner (GB) in 1982. We built the business as a distributor of leading British and European hardware brands such as Hoppe, Maco, Roto, Siegenia and latterly Yale, and continue to distribute these brands to this day. A lot has changed over the past 36 years, but our focus remains the same: to provide customers with the best quality products and most reliable service.

The shift in consumer expectations is one of the biggest changes. Homeowners are moving away from standard white windows and doors to coloured profile, composite doors and aspirational products such as slide and fold doors and windows. Consumers want to enhance and add value to their homes and they now have a huge choice of products and materials to choose from. Choice is crucial and while one homeowner’s dream purchase may be a sleek aluminium or PVC-U bi-fold, another will love the look of high performance timber windows. It’s easy to overlook hardware but the right window and door furniture adds the perfect finishing touch and gives installers a sales advantage. Installers know great hardware sells windows and doors, because homeowners can see and feel great hardware. They can’t see the sophisticated profile structure or appreciate a well-fabricated window. That’s why we introduced greenteQ in 2009, our own range of branded premium, reliable hardware. It’s a growing suite of window and door furniture, colour matched for a seamless, integrated look. The range includes a choice of styles and finishes to complement all types of windows and doors.

Launching greenteQ has been one of VBH’s most significant investments, and a big shift from our original business model. We’ve always worked closely with strategic partners to select the right products for our customers, but we saw an opportunity to invest in our own range too, to fill any gaps in our range. greenteQ gives fabricators and installers a total hardware solution for aluminium, PVC-U and timber windows and doors. The decision has paid off – customers love greenteQ and it’s gone from strength to strength. The range is constantly evolving: we listen to the market and develop products that solve common issues or give fabricators and installers the edge over competitors. It can be something as simple as making sure the products are easy to install and adjust on-site, or pioneering new products like greenteQ Invisifold – an innovative slide and fold system for doors and windows that allows each sash to be moved individually for a full opening, or positioned as you please for controlled ventilation. Importantly, Invisifold folds outside, so it takes up no valuable living space inside the home.

We’ve had a strong start to the year with growth across a wide range of products. Patios continue to dominate, and the 2017 Palmer report confirmed bi-folds as a growth area. Our customers are also capitalising on this trend with Invisifold for PVC-U windows and doors, and greenteQ Clearspan for aluminium bi-folds. greenteQ’s Serenity range – a new range of patio door handles developed for bi-folds and lift/slide doors gives customers a further sales advantage. The composite door market is also very strong and we’re giving installers more choice with our greenteQ suite of colour-matched furniture. The new greenteQ Sigma Face Fix Composite Door Hinge has been designed for composite doors, with the installer in mind – it fits to composite doors quickly and safely and prevents dropping. The hinge is available in a choice of five standard colours and suites with the full greenteQ range.

Product is only half of the story. A successful business is founded on great service too. We’ve built a loyal customer base because service underpins all we do. Whether it’s technical support and training on new products or our outstanding delivery record (we average a 97% On Time In Full delivery), customers know they can rely on us to supply the products they want, when they want them. For a growing number of customers, this means ordering online at a time and place to suit them. We launched our webshop, VBH24, five years ago and updated it recently to make buying and ordering even easier. The webshop’s product configurator shows customers the hardware required for more intricate installations such as tilt and turns, bi-folds and Invisifold slide and folds. It lets customers place and track orders, check real-time stock levels and pricing, search for part numbers, download invoices and more. I was appointed Managing Director of VBH early this year and my goal is to continue to build on the success of the business and our great team. The best business advice I could give is to keep moving forwards. It’s obvious, but we’ve seen big companies both in and out of the industry get into serious trouble by losing sight of the customer and not moving with the times. Customers are at the heart of our business and we’ll keep evolving and developing our products and service to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market.