Clearview South November 2013 - Issue 144 - Page 88

CLEARVIEW EXCLUSIVE businessnews What does it take to outperform two recessions? Clearview caught up with CDW’s Managing Director, Jerry Webb, to discuss how the company has manoeuvred relatively unscathed through two recessions, focusing on how they reacted post 2008… “When you’re busy running a business that employs over 70 people across the whole group, like we do at CDW Systems in Gloucester, you can easily get lost in the day to day operations and not focus on the vision of the company and how to react to economic conditions that are essentially out of your control. History has taught us recession is a reality, from the post Napoleonic depression to the current day economic struggles, we haven’t yet found a way to escape the schizophrenic highs and lows in our economy. Which is why when Gordon Brown said he’d abolished boom and bust I was sceptical; and burying your head in the sand is not an option. Essentially, in this cyclical format, we’re all going be affected so it becomes about how you react and adapt to the conditions. new products to market that are relevant and can help installers distinguish themselves ahead of their competition. As a matter of course we launch one new product each year, our most recent being the highperformance, thermally insulated Confort 160 (C160). Investment By the end 2008, in the UK, manufacturing output declined by 7 per cent and despite some recent positive signs it’s been a long hard slog. Adapting and changing In our industry this equalled lots of change. Many companies folded; some phoenixed and there were mergers and acquisitions as things re-aligned. Here, at CDW Systems, we have experienced relative success during these difficult times. And it’s not been by chance that during the recession, in February this year to be exact, we posted record trading figures, with turnover reaching £600k during this month alone. Throughout the recession things have been good, spurred on by a buoyant aluminium sector we’ve experienced demand right across our product range. Low-interest rates So what’s been the secret? Because relying on the growing aluminium sector isn’t enough. You still have to recognise and adapt to growth markets. At the lower end of the market the saturation of cheap credit saw mass markets such as standard 88 NOV 2013 white PVCu windows diminish, whereas low-interest rates and a sluggish housing market has seen more wealthy homeowners stay put and invest in their homes with added value products. We’ve had a bi-folding door boom, aluminium has emerged as a growth market and highend products have captured the attention of the market. Successful companies recognised