Connecting the supply chain

Certass TA chairman Jon Vanstone explains how, with the recent launch of Certass TA Supply Chain membership, the trade association was able to talk to government about how it can do more for the glazing industry moving forward.

Our relationship with government strengthened throughout Covid-19, and we were first in our industry to be listed on as an information resource.

Certass will be the home to those companies that wish to do more than just the basics, and in a world of great evolution, it is not hard to sell the fact that those who stand still will ultimately lose out.

To achieve the aims of Certass for its membership, we ensure that the people who work for us are unrivalled in the industry in the roles they fulfil.

Our industry is facing so much change with the loss of jobs at the end of furlough, our final exit from the EU, the change in pricing metrics within our sector, and the competence requirements for the future.

In 2021, more than ever before, every business will need to focus on what it does well and use that to differentiate itself from its rivals. Glazing fitters that create local reputations in a world of consumer reviews should be able to keep pipelines moving as long as the consumer confidence improves.

However, in times of recession often the work that is undertaken is in more prosperous areas where quality is often sought due to ability to spend and the need to keep ahead of the neighbours.

While in other areas, drivers such as government endorsements or cheap deals arise but often not delivering at the aspired ‘lifestyle’ level.

This often splits a market which, in the UK, is further confused by a common consumer perception that a quality job can be obtained at a low price. When the correction occurs across the country, as the recession starts to subside, a number of complaints from those who went for a cheap deal will cause much damage to our industry’s reputation.

With so much pressure on our industry, the manufacturers and fabricators that need clarity on lengthy horizons need to be more accurate in what they guess the environment for business to be. This is where we are going to focus our efforts as we use our knowledge and connections to help gain clarity in what can work in 2021.

If our supply chain can understand the direction of travel, then their customers are more likely to experience a service in keeping with their demands. The ability to influence and connect with those who work on policy in government not only will give insight into the future but also help lobby in areas where change should be occurring.

The Certass view will become a reflection of its members, achieved through debate on what should happen and what can be influenced, as opposed to guesses and pipe dreams.

We know that our industry needs to professionalise in how it works with other sectors and is perceived by customers and government. Too often the good work that is done is masked by some shoddy practises that gain far too much airtime as we fail to promote the positives.

We know now that Green Home Grant scheme, although good for the UK drive to retrofit our homes, will do little to support our sector. However, we should see this as a sign that more could come our way if we are structured correctly in the eyes of Westminster.

TrustMark will be firmly placed in the conscious of consumers and so those websites that aim to fill this space are likely to become less effective and sought after by UK consumers. The job of our industry bodies then should be focused on improving the trading environment for our industry and helping us develop a reputation within the UK for quality in product and service in place of what it is today.

For us, the road ahead will be a focus on raising competence standards, ensuring a differentiation for those that do and taking on a few topics which deserve questions to be asked of government and related bodies.

Our opening chats in the Supply Chain Membership have been looking at the issues surrounding the regulations for trickle vents. It is time for this to be reviewed again and already we are building the evidence and the arguments to see what can be achieved.

There is a drive in the UK to improve ventilation in homes but this needs to be met with the reality we all know to be true. I will update you on what happens next.