Looking for certainty

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell considers ways to steady the ship in rough seas.

Some market data, such as that released by Insight Data, points to significant areas of concern in the coming six months or so.

Separate to the issue of available work, and the worry that it may dry up come the end of the furlough scheme (which may spark a number of redundancies across all industries) is the overall financial health of companies in our industry. According to Insight Data, 11.4% of companies have poor or very poor credit ratings.

While much can be done manage the solvency of your company, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that the financial health of all businesses is a collective responsibility, and everyone has a duty not to overstretch themselves and to pay bills on time. The overall health of the glass and glazing industry depends on the wellbeing of its constituent parts; if one company sneezes, we all catch a cold. Therefore, this news – I believe – is arguably worse than what 1 in 9 vulnerable businesses sounds like.

That aside, it is also reassuring to report news where companies are taking advantage of trends not related to the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, RED Systems has formed strategic alliance with Leeds-based off-site company Sigmat.

RED Systems will be working alongside Sigmat’s in-house design teams to provide factory-installed window systems for the new bespoke housing range, as well as a number of commercial projects. The team has already created a bespoke bracket that enables products to be factory assembled.

While offsite construction was gaining popularity long before Covid-19 took hold, it could actually benefit from the effects of the pandemic: controlled working environments; fewer employees; fewer personal interactions; quicker delivery to meet demand as people move away from London; and an opportunity to design-in office space to meet individual requirements; etc.

Yes, it’s good to make the most of the current boom in demand, but we’ve still got to think about how the industry will change months and years down the line, and off-site construction is a safe bet as far as I am concerned.