First published in Windows Active, April 2015.
There are probably hundreds of valid explanations for why the world’s best businesses achieve what they do. But one thing is certain – their success can teach us in the door and window industry a thing or two.
Take online giant Amazon. It continues to boom with UK sales of more than £4 billion, despite having been dragged over hot coals by the media and politicians in recent months. Why do so many of us continue to buy from Amazon? Probably because the prices are usually competitive, the range of products is enormous, the order process is simple, their after-service promise is relatively dependable and their delivery options are superb.
In a nutshell, we can easily order good products that we want, have them delivered when we need them and if anything is wrong we can easily access after sales care.
Let’s apply this to our industry. How many of us offer this same proposition to our customers and how many of us honestly have the right supply chain partners in place to make this a reality?
In my experience with Morley Glass and Glazing, every ounce of effort invested in getting our supply chain right has paid back ten-fold. Price is important, yes – and anyone who says otherwise is being disingenuous. But buying solely on price is not actually what most of us do.
Like many UK manufacturers, we constantly face the challenge of products which are attractively priced at lower price points, primarily due to the fact that they are made outside Europe where labour is cheaper. But we are staying competitive for lots of other reasons and our sales growth is relentless.
Operationally we have worked on the efficiency of our manufacturing processes so we are well set-up. But that’s only part of the story – an equally important dimension is how we choose our suppliers and the quality of our relationships with them.
By working closely with the likes of ScreenLine manufacturer Pellini S.p.A. in Italy and Glassolutions Saint-Gobain here in Britain, we have put firm agreements in place, based on mutual respect and shared business objectives, to shrink lead times and do that thing that Amazon does so well – get the best quality products to the market which are competitively priced in the shortest possible time-frame, on time as planned.
And we’ve backed all this up with the final part of the jigsaw in providing an after-sales service that every customer knows they can depend on. In fact we now stock more ScreenLine integral blinds spares than anyone else in Europe. We focus on this because we always put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and understand how important it is for them to deal with any call-backs quickly. This is our contribution to a strong, professional supply chain which ultimately delivers the very best to customers.