The evolution of doors

Dan Sullivan, MD of Doorco discusses the role the composite door has played in the evolution of the door from an ‘add-on’ to an industry leading product group, and explains how the company strives to help their customers satisfy the homeowner through innovation.

Since there have been houses there have been doors, in one form or another. Many would say they are an essential part of any home, but for the window industry they have been seen as an add-on product, whereby installers would sell a houseful of windows and hopefully a door as part of the package.

Although it has always been a market in its own right, there has clearly been a switch in recent years that has truly put doors front and centre of the fenestration industry. Now installers sell doors as a lead product and might even sell a houseful of windows off the back of an enquiry for a front door.

Our family has a strong connection with the door industry spanning many years, and my career started working in the family business selling timber doors. The revelation that was the GRP composite door was an opportunity I spotted early on. At the time there was only one supplier that saturated the market, but the market was crying out for more. Starting with one container load delivered directly to our first customer, Doorco now imports (on average) 40 containers each month. Some of these go directly to our larger customers who do their own fabricating, while the rest is distributed through Macclesfield, either as a slab or fully prepped door, depending on what each customer requires.

Throughout this journey the market and the product may have evolved, but the core USPs remain the same: an external door with an unparalleled balance of security, aesthetics and low maintenance.

The world of home design is fast moving – what’s hot now isn’t necessarily hot next year. Keeping ahead of the game is imperative for any business or product looking to maintain or grow its market share, and innovation is the key. Doorco’s independence allows us to do just this. Take Links as an example: composite doors had earned their place as the ‘perfect timber alternative’ and we still sell plenty in this style. But at the same time, we recognised that aluminium was a sunrise product enjoying a rapid resurgence in the window market, so we focussed our R&D on developing a composite door to replicate the look the consumers were striving for.

Our new brochure is the next example of Doorco’s innovation. As our product range has evolved there were lots of changes to be made and this gave us an opportunity to look at not just the design but the whole concept. Doors are now a lifestyle choice and this is how we wanted to portray them.

Rather than just ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’ collections with pictures of door fronts or lines of SKUs to provide broader inspiration, we’ve created four lifestyle collections: Metro, Rustic, Classic and Deco – Doorco can provide a design-inspired door for every home in every location.

As a supplier we must sell the best products that pass all the relevant testing and exceed (where possible) all the current regulations and standards. We must offer choices that are relevant and desirable to the end user but most importantly we must help our customers to offer differentiation. Whether products or marketing support, we must do it well.

Today, it is all about service. Our recently launched customer charter defines Doorco’s promises to deliver, on time, in full and fast. We’ve been gearing up to this over the past 18 months with investment across the whole business, from manufacturing, prepping and distribution to our team and business infrastructure. By setting this charter we wanted to give our customers a clear statement that is measurable and that we can be held accountable against. There is no point in just talking about how good you are, it’s the delivery that counts.