Clearview National October 2018 - Issue 203 - Page 54

PROUD SPONSOR OF DOORS & WINDOWS DOORS&WINDOWS The long and winding road » » WHEN WE THINK OF A timeline, we often visualise a journey - a linear path travelled at a steady pace. Although GEZE’s route has spurred off in several directions over its 155 years of existence, it has been the past three decades that has seen it speed toward its current destination. And, that is one of a prominent high ground of spearheading innovation in door and window control technology… The company, which began as a German craftsman’s business and was once a leading name in ski equipment (as the creators of a unique boot binding) is now the ‘go-to’ manufacturer and supplier of an exhaustive range of automatic and manual products and after sales services. All of this led to the creation of GEZE UK – this year celebrating its 30th anniversary – at a pivotal time when the boon of technology was quickly taking hold. GEZE has become a brand so synonymous with durability and reliability in the industry, that it’s strange to think that it was only 1983 when its owner Brigitte Vöster-Alber jettisoned the company’s popular ski product line to fully concentrate on door and window systems. It was definitely the right call. In 2017, GEZE had a turnover of €406 million worldwide and a £30 million turnover in the UK. The business is still a family affair – an influence which shapes its strategic vision and approach. Kaz Spiewakowski, GEZE UK’s managing director, is himself celebrating five years at the helm of the UK company. He says: “I have worked in all sorts of organisations, all have their pros and cons; those owned by venture capitalists reach a target and then get out. It’s about increasing value, reducing costs and maximising top-line forecasts, come hell or high water, then selling the business. In PLCs, if there is a profit warning, there are inevitable short-term repercussions to the company’s value etc, it all leads to a lack of stability. “Mrs Vöster-Alber is very patient person with a long- term view,” says Kaz. “I enjoy a tremendous amount of arms- length interaction with Germany. There is a natural assimilation to the parent company, the overarching strategy and our staff 54 » OCT 2018 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M counterparts, but we are given the autonomy to manage our own market.” Understanding the market, its changing needs neatly dovetails into new product development (NPD). Although the majority of GEZE’s NPD is undertaken at its Leonberg HQ, supported by defined resources, budget and testing, its UK subsidiary is given the flexibility to modify or design products where it identifies an emerging demand. Ideas are developed by the technical team or through the established PDP process which are filtered through a gateway system. Recent examples include the production of a locking bracket for the drive belt of the Slimdrive SL NT operators for sliding doors – a solution that was created out of test parts from a 3D printer, and a water-resistant underfloor operator that was devised to meet particular client needs. Technology has brought about the greatest changes in the fortunes of GEZE and that pace of change has been most significant in the past 10-15 years. There has been a digital revolution as opposed to an evolution which have been demonstrated by products such as the GEZE cockpit and range of smart ventilation products that marry the natural environment with digitisation that can orchestrate the working conditions, safety and security of a whole building. Says Steve Marshall, GEZE UK’s Service Director: “We have always been part of a very technical landscape but technological requirements now are as much about digitisation and system integration as they are about hardware. “On the service side,