Hardware general manager, Chris Pell, talks to Glass and Glazing Products magazine
Both the new-build market and replacement sector are going strong, urging fabricators to differentiate their offer in order to really maximise current opportunities, with hardware being one particular area benefiting from increased attention. GGP is catching up with one of UK’s leading suppliers to the window and door industry, Total Hardware, on market trends and their newly launched range of premium window and door hardware, Quantum.
It’s all about the detail
As we move away from the cost obsession, fabricators are once again prioritising functionality and looks, to answer current market demand. The hardware they use plays a vital role in how a window or door looks and performs, and it also has a great influence on the end-users’ perception of quality and value for money that a specific product is delivering.
Chris Pell, general manager of Total Hardware, comments: “I believe a ‘fit-and-forget’ product makes more economical sense even when targeting lower-end markets, as the cost implications of inferior quality hardware will quickly override the initial savings.”
The rise of stainless steel as a material of choice for door hardware is therefore hardly surprising, as the test of time has proven it delivers on all fronts – durability, functionality and long lasting aesthetics. Chris explains: “Homeowners are becoming more discerning when choosing their replacement windows and doors and, with so many options available, it’s the attention to detail that can make or break a fabricator’s offer.
Using hardware for differentiation
The current market is re-enforcing fabricators’ demand for unique products that can help them differentiate their offer and drive growth on value, not price. Chris said: “We noticed a growing demand from our manufacturing clients for quality hardware and decided to launch Quantum in response. This is a fully suited range of hardware that is not only great looking, but also designed with durability and functionality in mind, enabling our clients to offer unique, high quality products.
“In a tight market, it’s paramount to have a product portfolio that doesn’t just blend in. If two fabricators are manufacturing windows with the same profile system, the hardware they use can make all the difference, and help their portfolio really stand out. Fabricators are asking for highly functional, durable and better looking hardware, as well as more design options, and that’s what we’re aiming to deliver with our Quantum range.
Total Hardware’s exclusive range consists of fully suited window and door handles, friction stays, espag rods and door restrictors.
“Quantum enables fabricators to create premium doors and windows that deliver a modern, uniform look throughout their portfolio, making it easier for their installer clients to sell it to the end consumer”, added Chris.
Customer service is just as important
The value and profitability of a product is not decided solely on its characteristics, but also on the support offered by the supplier to its fabricator customers. Long or inconsistent lead times are often the reason why fabricators change suppliers, even though they are more than satisfied with the actual product.
Chris said: “We find that fabricators also put a lot of value on flexibility and our ability to react swiftly to changes in demand. Their product input is highly reliant on the end consumer and the welfare of our economy, so being able to accommodate our clients’ demand in any circumstances is key.”
In a competitive environment, finding a way to deliver value added products to the market is paramount. But gaining a competitive edge while keeping costs down without affecting the perceived value of a product is easier said than done. This is why working closely with suppliers can really help a fabricator make the right decisions to successfully market their products. Chris explains: “We react to our customers’ needs, and this was the reason behind launching our own range of hardware. They needed a product that could help them stand out from the crowd, so we delivered. Regardless of the market they target, fabricators want to improve the performance, aesthetics and functionality of their windows and doors, and hardware is crucial in achieving this goal”.
“This trend will continue over the next few years, with demand from fabricators pushing hardware companies to invest important resources in new product innovation. Flexibility will continue to play an important part, both in terms of products, as well as service, and demand for quality will maintain on a high note”, concluded Chris.
For more information call Total Hardware on 0113 243 2255