Strengths of a Local Company
You often hear big nationals proclaim to have “local support” but have you ever built a relationship with a local company to see true local support.
As the market expands and product lines increase in size and complexity, keeping installers happy is becoming more of a challenge. We are functioning in a sector that is often (but not always) sensitive to price, quality and service, so companies have much work to do to hit all three. You often hear big nationals proclaim to have “local support” but have you ever built a relationship with a regional fabricator to see just what true “local support” is?
In the current climate it is easy to get lost in a price war and lose sight of the bigger picture. As for many, complete and flexible service is easy to offer at the moment, but how do you know that the quality and attentiveness of the service will continue once the market picks up?
Dealing with a regional fabricator brings with it many advantages. As with most regional manufacturers, Window Designs Ltd has spent many years developing its product range to be able to answer the demands of any order and provide relevant accreditations. The knowledge, that this alone is not enough and the continual innovation and development of the service sees regional manufacturers embrace their customer base. This possibly enables them to anticipate change and be more flexible. It is easy to spot the companies that have developed this ethos as they are currently standing strong, while their piers are either bowing out or pheonixing.
The subject of pheonixing is becoming even more important as we see the rebirth of companies that yesterday were suffering, especially for the regional manufacturer. It is a difficult market where the target audience of a “national” is blurring with a “regional” manufacturer and it makes it harder when companies are pricing so low that they cannot be competed with, let alone are set at a level that can be sustained.
It is a practice that is seeing the “Good Guys” which are paying for their products, subsidising the “Bad Guys” that have adopted poor pricing practices which leaves them unable to take responsibility of their debt. This new trend is seeing the erosion of; the bottom line, reflective pricing and fair pricing for quality products. It has witnessed regional manufacturers to be even more inventive with their services and how they develop as a company, which has seen many of the savvier ones thrive, demonstrating their survival instincts.
Some of the personal aftercare services that Window Designs Ltd prides itself on are, fabrication* of products where an error has occurred, replacement bay cills and sealed units*, within hours, no matter who is at fault. The ability to deal with issues on site quickly efficiently, for the installer, is critical to build the trust of the customer and develop a good strong reputation. The faster the response time from the fabricator, the better.
One aspect of a regional manufacturer that Window Designs Ltd is addressing along with 9 others is economies of scale. The introduction of the Alliance of Professional Window and Door Fabricators has offered the opportunity for regional manufacturers to have strength in numbers through a co-operative.
Relationships with a local company are built on a more personal level where you can get site visits for help and advice and where you often build relationships with the people on the ground floor, not just the person on the telephone. Supporting your local community is a value that many people hold dear and look for in a company. Deliveries are local so there are less vehicles on the road and we can all reduce our carbon footprint.
Most regional manufacturers are strengthening in this current market and if they play the game right, will continue to do so when the market turns.
*Subject to availability.
First published March 2010