installersupport A wealth of opportunities Customer conference highlights Trade fabricator Emplas, has showcased the very latest in product innovation, industry leading service and the commercial returns that they deliver, at the Emplas Opportunities Conference. Attended by almost 200 installers and industry representatives, the bi-annual was held on October 17th at Sywell Aerodrome, Wellingborough, a new venue from previous years, selected to accommodate exceptional demand. The event was opened by Ryan Johnson, Emplas’ Deputy Managing Director, who introduced proceedings, which began with a presentation from Epwin Group Systems Division’s and former British Plastics Federation Windows Group chair, Jon Skinner. He started with a somewhat sobering analysis of market contraction, quoting D&G Consulting’s 2013 report, which suggested that the PVC-U window industry had contracted in manufactured volumes from 335,000 tonnes in 2003 to 204,000 this year. He reported that during the same ten year period the number of fabricators had dropped from 6,000 to 1,700. This contrasted with an increase in the number of installers in business, now estimated to have grown to more than 15,000, highlighting the fierce competition in the retail sector. NICHE APPEAL Skinner, however, argued that despite this, opportunities remained significant pointing to the consumer appeal of coloured and niche products including flush casements, vertical sliding and fully reversible windows. He also pointed out that the industry is going to enjoy a period of growth in both 2014 and 2015. He warned, though, that the window industry needed to get better at pricing products, particularly coloured products, if it was to reap meaningful return. “I’m not here to lecture you but price it [colour] right. Colour costs to manufacture and people understand that”, he said. Alongside growth in composite door sales, he suggested inline sliding doors were enjoying a renaissance thanks to increased reliability over and above bi-folding doors, giving them renewed popularity in the new build sector. To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO THE CONSERVATORY SECTOR Ultraframe’s Joe Martoccia was next to take the stage. He painted the same picture of market contraction with conservatory sales falling from 240,000 in 2006 to 80,000 this year. Putting figures to one side, his tone, however, remained upbeat. He said: “We haven’t been providing the right product, we have been pushing the same old white boxes. Consumer research shows that householders want thermal efficiency, they want the right colour, the right aesthetic. “There are a world of opportunities to drive growth and drive demand. If we do there is an opportunity to triple the market and get it back to where it should be.” To help achieve this growth he pointed to opportunities in the replacement market, which he suggested could climb as sky high as the Spitfire and the Tiger Moth, which put on an aerial display outside. He said that there are 3 million conservatories to be replaced in the UK and that the industry should be attacking the 100,000 single storey extensions being built every year in the UK. UNPARALLELED PRODUCT OFFER AND SUPPORT Jody Vincent, Area Sales Manager for Emplas, highlighted innovations from what has to be one of the industry’s largest product ranges at Emplas, covering everything from composite doors, to new and exclusive window handle ranges and of course, the Northamptonshire-based fabricator’s conservatory offer. Jody also launched the unique and innovative Emplas Customer Information Manual, an on-line 700 page document with a wealth of technical and practical information. Emplas’ Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Crewdson, profiled the company’s extensive and award winning customer support and customer marketing programme, including everything from dedicated window tape to over-printable brochures and lead generation. He then launched a new website service for Emplas customers which provides a brand new, up to date website heavily subsidised by Emplas. PRODUCT INNOVATION After the break Stephen Laing of Pilkington AG took attendees through the latest innovations in glass and triple glazing, and announced free retail literature courtesy of Emplas. This was followed by Kris Matthews of First Degree Systems, who took guests through the benefits delivered by Emplas’ £100,000 investment earlier this year in new online ordering, instant quotations and order tracking software and systems. The final speaker of the day was Tim Clemmett, Business Development Manager, Distinction. He gave an overview of the buoyant composite door market, highlighting the offer and retail support a ?Z[X?H?]??\??Y\????Y?[\\???]\??]?H?]?[\\? ?\Y?H??\??]H???????\?K?????[\\???Z?[XZ[[???[\\????Z???[NL?? ???????L?? B??