How to ‘brighten up’ the market

With investment of £5 million forecast for 2018, Veka’s MD Dave Jones explains how the company plans to brighten up a relatively flat market with a boost to its lamination offering.

We are looking forward to the year ahead and the programme of developments we have planned. While we remain realistic about 2018’s potential challenges, we know that – without investment – a company and its customers would stand still, and that is not something we intend to do.

To continue supporting our customers with the highest levels of service, and to remain at the very forefront of the industry, we are looking to invest around £5 million in Veka Group facilities, plant and technology

The main focus of investment will be our growing lamination department.

Over the years, Veka has led the way in customer support, sustainability, security and energy efficiency, including: the industry’s first window rated ‘A’ for efficiency; first window rated ‘A’ for noise reduction; first BSI Kitemark-accredited bifold door; first dedicated PVCU recycling plant; and first BFRC-certified WER calculator.

However, we’ve always believed that homeowners and specifiers should be able to expect the highest levels of quality and efficiency, and make their choices based on more discretionary factors, such as style and colour. We’ve discussed this in a number of editorial features over the years, and I know this is a sentiment now echoed around the industry.

In response to demand for heritage-style windows, we developed our vertical slider and FlushSash systems and, as the demand for coloured frames increased, we unveiled our Variations collection of colours and realistic woodgrains. We have seen huge growth in this area of the business in recent years and today more than 33% of Veka Group sales are foiled product.

We are in the process of buying an adjacent building to Veka’s HQ which will allow the current 380,000ft2 site to expand by a further 40,000ft2, and will enable us to potentially increase lamination capacity by a further 50%.

We are also investing in a new, flexible lamination line, allowing us to offer the most efficient service on the inevitable small runs and quirkier colour choices. This is on top of another standard lamination line, a new colour changing head, and a heat tunnel, alongside all our existing high spec foiling equipment.

The aim is to ensure that our customers are best placed to meet the demands of a challenging market. It’s not only about increasing the potential volume of our output, but supporting customers with flexibility and efficient service that they can pass on to their customers.

2018 also sees Veka Group making plans for further improvements to our specialist maintenance and tooling department. Expanding our in-house maintenance department means that we can respond immediately to any potential problems with our machinery to ensure there is no disruption to the supply chain.

2018’s planned spend of £5 million continues a pattern of investment, including (for example) £400K last year allocated to energy efficiency upgrades for the plant; improved lighting, heating and high bay racking meant that our warehouse facility achieved a 25% reduction in electricity consumption in 2017.

While we’re busy with our investment plans here in Burnley, our sister company Veka Recycling has also announced that it will be investing £8 million in constructing one of the most advanced PVCU recycling plants in Europe – right here in the UK.

In the face of a relatively flat market, I am very proud to be part of a group that will continue to invest – through good years and bad – in order to see our partners succeed.

Some of our customers have been with us for more than 30 years, and it’s our job to show them that we will be here for them for the next 30 years, and the 30 after that …