Door to a brave new world

Jayne Sullivan, operations director at Doorco, discusses the challenge of operating in fast changing markets.

Market consolidation, well-established brands disappearing, price increases and general economic uncertainty have all contributed to significant industry change recently.

This is true of composite doors too; a sector that was once the domain of one supplier with one product is now completely transformed into a sector that offers choice and innovation.

We’re proud that through innovation and investment the Doorco team has been instrumental in rewriting the composite door rulebook. Recent results indicate this strategy is working: achieving overall 2016 sales by June 2017, Doorco’s customers’ sales have been flying.

Looking at market statistics for the last six months, Doorco’s growth appears to have been bucking the trend in a market that many report has fallen back. We’re not naïve or arrogant to believe that the good times will continue regardless and we’re well aware of the negative impact of raw material hikes, political unrest and a general consumer spending slowdown on our industry. However, we’re also resolute in our belief that the composite door market – in some shape or form – will not end.

Houses will always need doors and the challenge for suppliers like Doorco is to ensure our customers’ doors are what the consumer and specifier opt for. This includes new products, second-to-none customer service; and fast lead times.
Take the composite door product itself. While traditional woodgrain composite doors are still in demand, this will not last forever. We recognised about 18 months ago that consumers were moving from traditional products to contemporary, aluminium home improvement products.

So, we started investing in Links and Monza II, arguably the most contemporary GRP doors on the market. Links is the first composite door with a non-woodgrain finish to match aluminium, while the Monza II is has a contemporary 12-panel book-matched design.
But it’s so much more than just product. We can sell 100,000 contemporary doors in the next six months, but if we can’t fulfil delivery promises to customers, there’s no point being the biggest.

So, to support our new product launches, we’ve made significant investment in all areas, from automation and machinery, to our staff and management systems. We now have the UK’s largest door slab stock holding – 30,000 slabs at any one time held in our 80,000ft2 Macclesfield warehouse and distribution hub – which means customers can rely on the fastest industry lead times and high-quality finishes, particularly when it comes to colour, which is 60% of our business.

Doorco genuinely believes that our recent focus on service, in tandem with products, will help our customers stand out and make the sales they need to be successful in today’s changing market – and, just as importantly, in the markets of tomorrow where hunger for new products and faster, better, streamlined customer service levels will continue their relentless trend.

“During the first month of dealing with Doorco, we had a major machine breakdown, which left us unable to produce any doors. Doorco machined all our work so we could continue manufacturing. MD Dan Sullivan even worked late on a Friday and Saturday, but the best bit was when we left two pallets of doors in the Doorco factory. I called him on Sunday to say we were desperate and he went into work and opened up. That’s what I call going the extra mile for your customer.” Keith Sadler, Vista Panels.

“We switched to Doorco several months ago when our previous supplier was letting us down on service. I can honestly say the service we’ve received from Doorco is of a quality that’s few and far between. In fact, we were just going to move the retail doors, but we’ve been so impressed that we’re now moving all of our commercial requirements to them too.” Jon Heyes, Director, Prescot Windows & Doors.