‘Cloning’ the success of Solar Norvik
When Solar Fabrications Holdings (then Solar Group) was formed in May 2020, the focus was to develop the different businesses under the Solar ‘umbrella’ and assess how they might evolve.
Now, nearly four years on, the company is investing nearly £500,000 in new machinery at its Huthwaite site.
The Group’s three businesses include Solar Calibre Doors and Taylor Manufacturing, both based in Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, and Solar Norvik, based in Barnsley.
Between them the businesses cover the trade and commercial sectors, producing GRP and timber composite doors, the new build developer and social housing markets, manufacturing and installing window and door products.
Taylor Manufacturing is a PVC-U and hybrid aluminium (Warmcore) window and door fabricator, also producing a range of windows and doors to support Kömmerling’s sales of finished products into the trade market. All are now said to be in sustained growth after a period of consolidation – but the real ‘good news’ story lies with Solar Norvik.
Solar Norvik specialises in the new build developer market and, despite the challenging market conditions, has succeeded in bringing on new developer customers and expanding its operation.
In 2021, Solar Norvik operated on 15 – 20 developments but this has now grown to 35 – 40 sites, achieved by expanding its existing developer customer base, working with new developers and re-engaging with former customers who had left them when the Synseal and latterly Aperture businesses were faltering, before Solar Group completed the acquisition of the business assets and reinstalled operations in Huthwaite.
Solar Fabrications Holdings managing director, Gareth Jones, commented: “The Solar Norvik success is down to the team in Barnsley, which is very well run and managed under Ian Connell, and they have a strong ethos of excellent customer care.
“As they supply and fit both windows and doors, they take the worry of supply and delivery away from their customers. And we have a great production team in Huthwaite, which gets the product out of the door in a timely fashion and is able to cope with the stop-start nature of development sites.
“We are now looking to clone this success story and repeat it,” he continued. “
We have recruited a new business development manager, Andy Smith, who joins us from a well-established new build company and has a wealth of experience in the sector. He is tasked with setting up a team that will work from Huthwaite down the M1 corridor south, to mirror what the Barnsley team has achieved in the north. They created the blueprint, now we are going about implementing it further south.”
To support this expansion, Solar Fabrications Holdings took advantage of the sad demise of two other fabricators, purchasing their machinery, an investment of nearly £500,000. When fully commissioned this will produce 2,000 frames per week from Huthwaite, occupying roughly 150,000ft2 of the 500,000ft2 site.
Gareth continued: “It is exciting to be talking about expansion and growth in the business which is very much on the back of new build.
“The country needs new homes; even despite the current economic challenges, the sector has to grow, and we want to be ready to serve that market. As we all know, this currently isn’t the case in the trade and domestic side of the market – I think most of us are finding it tough – but you only need a change in interest rates, or a tax break, to restore consumer confidence and give the industry a boost. This is about balancing enthusiasm, realism and optimism.”