Ready for a brighter future

Manufacturers have not been slow in responding to the trend for colour in PVCU but, to Profile22 and Epwin Window Systems, having an effective and proactive colour and foil offering is about much more than counting the colours. Profile22 marketing manager Gerald Allen explains.

Just two years ago, colour accounted for one in five of all PVCU frames fitted. Last year, the figure was already nudging a quarter, and now it is looking likely to hit a third long before the end of the year.

As with every other industry trend, the reaction from systems companies and fabricators has been predictably varied, with some at best attempting a service-backed response and, at worst, bolting on a couple more shades to their swatch card.

However, this is a trend that was too big to approach half-heartedly; it not only had to be full-on in its offering but also backed up by factors such as high stock levels and an ancillaries range that was suitable for all systems and variants.

So, when Epwin Window Systems set out to create its new, and now highly acclaimed, Optima suite of systems from the ground up, without rehashes of old systems or preconceptions of what standards to achieve, it seemed natural that it should take the same holistic approach with its colour offering.

That began over a year ago when just as the group was preparing to start up its all new state-of-the-art extrusion hall alongside the Optima launch, it also unveiled a new £1.3million, 60,000ft2 finishing facility. This not only boosted overall production capacity by 25% across all the group’s brands but also increased the number and volume of stocked foil product to enable fabricators and installers to give tighter turnaround times, including express service.

We have also invested millions in harmonising our systems to use one common set of ancillaries so that customers can work with multiple systems from the group’s portfolio and use the same ancillaries, knowing they are fully co-ordinated and all the PVCU items are an exact colour match.

This means much less stockholding for them – and that is especially important as we have also significantly extended our ancillaries range.

We have also increased the variety of colours in response to customer demand but equally importantly, our range of colours held as stock covers nearly 90% of customer demand, including grey shades, black, cream, white woodgrain, rosewood and light oak.

And what of the future? Most systems houses and their fabricators now have their colour ranges in place, all reflecting their responses to the market as it stands but will this be enough?

We have tried our best not only to respond to the growing statistics as they stand now but also to look to the future. The growing demand for colours shows no sign of abating so the winners here will be those fabricators and installers who are fully equipped and ready for continued growth, and we aim to remain in the best position to supply all they need to make the most of this emerging market.

Of course, there is one factor that may be harder to predict. The one thing no one can guess, just as with any fashion trend, is what the next ‘in’ colour might be. After all, who would have guessed in the midst of all this blaze of vibrant new colours that the biggest clamour of the past year would be for anthracite grey?

All we can say is, whatever colour the market turns towards next, we will be ready to get it out there as soon as humanly possible.