Who’s Shaping Up?
The bending sector was once was seen as more of a cottage industry, yet today it is now a highly regarded and fundamental part of the glazing industry. Like many other parts of the market, each individual element of the sector now plays a bigger role. No longer do we see the Systems Companies dominate and dictate the industry like they did over 10 years ago.
It may be argued and with a little PR spin, that as a sector we are bespoke manufacturers of shaped PVCu building plastics and with that I include windows, doors, raked frames for conservatories and even cable management systems. While the replacement window market was in full bloom over a dozen years ago, there was little interest in replacing shaped timber windows or even door combinations where there was a semi circle frame above the door.
However, now that margins are being squeezed and sales opportunities ever more precious, sales savvy installers are looking at all possible avenues for leads. Installation companies have branched out from simple double glazing companies and are now firmly positioned as home improvement companies in many instances. It’s a simple philosophy, but if it can be glazed it can be sold!
While the modest bending sector was built on predominantly white shaped frames, we are now experiencing an increased demand for colours. We can readily process foiled materials whether it is the latest Chartwell Green colour or the new Irish Oak woodgrain finish. With this in mind at Universal Arches, we can even offer our customers a full colouring service with our proven specialist colouring partner and that means frames can be manufactured, sprayed and delivered in any internationally recognisable RAL colour within 5-7 days.
As installers look to minimise the number of deliveries they receive for each project, we’ve added a fully glazed service, which has proven hugely successful and I expect the remainder of the bending sector to follow suite. Ordering square double or even triple glazed units is relatively easy, but with each order we provide a glass template given the complex nature of our shaped frames. However ordering a fully glazed product from us, removes any risk of errors or delays in the delivery and order process.
Technology is also playing an increasing role in the way we run the business and indeed how the bending sector operates. Streamlined order processing, online ordering and 3D computer modelling are employed with our business and are starting to be adopted by others. It’s inevitable that as we innovate and invest that others will follow and so we’ll keep on investing within the business to stay ahead.
We’re already in the final stages of working with Eclectic Systems, the company that has launched the Residence 9 system to offer various shaped frames and we have already worked with Rehau on several cable management projects. Our relationships with all the leading Systems Companies also ensure that we are fully aware of any developments, which in turn help us to support our customers.
We’ve seen a number of bending specialists come and go in the industry over the last decade. These companies have fallen by the wayside due to lack of systems, innovation and investment. Over the next 5 years I fully expect the bending sector to have moved on again in terms of service, product and quality. It’s a case of shaping up for the future.