Making the move to installer-only

According to industry figures, around one third of installers in the UK are currently fabricating their own products. However, as market conditions get increasingly tougher, more and more companies are looking to consolidate their customer offering and are transitioning from fabricator/installer to installer-only. Glazerite reports.

Though family-run Heavers of Bridport had initially considered switching to an installer-only model four years ago, it wasn’t until the start of 2018 that they took the final decision to exit fabrication entirely.

A Dorset-based business installing PVCU and aluminium windows, doors and other glazing solutions across the south west, Heavers was first established in 1956, and is now run by two of the founder’s grandsons.

“We have always fabricated our own products, including timber, aluminium and PVCU windows and doors,” director Luke Heaver said.

As a smaller fabricator, Luke and his brother Ross were becoming increasingly concerned at the impact of Brexit, as well as rising prices.

“We have always prided ourselves on delivering a good balance between quality, price and performance, so we were very reluctant to have to push higher prices onto our customers,” he said.

With the start of a new year feeling like the right time to make the move, Heavers began the task of finding a supplier they could trust, and who could deliver the Veka products that appealed most to them.

“Though we visited two Veka fabricators, we knew immediately that Glazerite was the right partner for us,” Luke said. “They’re a big player in the UK and they really impressed us with their work processes. Even though they produce thousands of windows every week, their facilities are spotless.

“We also felt they could easily fulfil our needs and, with recent investment, they clearly have a scope for growth that matches ours – a big factor when it came to choosing who we could work with.

“The thought of reinventing ourselves was scary, but Glazerite was with us throughout, supporting us with advice on business areas like human resources when we needed it. We were concerned about the impact not manufacturing our own products would have on customer perception, but there has been no negative impact on us at all.”

Heavers works on a mix of projects across Dorset, Devon and Somerset, ranging from traditional to contemporary.

“Glazerite’s range of products include those we’d never have been able to manufacture ourselves and that makes a real difference on specialist jobs,” Luke said.

Now its 24-strong team is looking ahead to a new era, and have already made full use of its 3,500ft2 factory space, with the creation of a customer centre. Due to open in January 2019, it is believed it will be one of the biggest in the region, giving customers the opportunity to see and interact with the Veka, Halo and Solidor products it offers.

Glazerite director, Jason Thompson, said: “Fabricators focus on making quality products that the end customer wants, and are well-placed to be able to react to consumer trends. That means we can help installers take on even non-standard jobs, and support them with short lead times and nationwide deliveries tailored to suit them.

“We can also help with business support in areas they might not have resource in, such as HR, IT and marketing, allowing our customers to focus solely on delivering the very best installations.

“We find it an extremely rewarding experience, and those installers we’ve helped so far are now reaping the benefits.”