Essex Trade Windows recently switched to aluplast as its profile supplier after its previous systems partner failed to keep up with demand.
The trade fabricator, which was established in 2007 by experienced industry professional James Bracegirdle, moved to new premises in 2021 as part of a strategy to increase output and offer more flexibility to its customers.
But, despite new machinery and improved infrastructure, production slowed as supplies of window profile failed to keep up with demand.
“We put a lot of effort into that move,” James said. “We increased the floor area to about 9,000ft2, and we now have the capacity to manufacture about 200 windows a week, but our previous supplier couldn’t supply profile quick enough. They were literally holding us back – even though we had been buying from them for 14 years.
“While we were going through a period of really high demand, the systems company actually started rationing what we could receive – at one point down to 30% of the volumes that we ordered.”
Switching to Aluplast
Essex Trade Windows supplies many small businesses across the south east. These are companies that avoid high volume work, and instead install fewer high value products which command a bigger margin.
“Because I have lots of smaller customers, rather than a few big accounts, I can’t easily reduce everyone’s volumes,” James said. “It was at the point I realised I needed a new supplier who could meet my demands while providing the quality I had become accustomed to.”
Switching profile supplier is no easy task for any window fabricator, but James took advice from some of his customers and selected three to research in greater detail.
“aluplast quickly became the obvious choice because of its headline features,” James said. “For example, their Ideal 70 profile is clearly high quality, and they have a significant strength in colour.
“About 30% of what we do is colour, so it is important that any systems company we choose can supply colour on the same lead times at standard white, which aluplast can. And a lot of their colours, such as the woodec foils, are available from stock, which gives me the confidence to sell a wider range of products to my customers.
Flush Sash Windows by Aluplast
“My customers also appreciate the Ideal 70’s environmental credentials. The homeowners my customers service tend to be in the upper bracket, and put sustainability close to the top of their desired features.”
Profile supplied by aluplast is made from ecotech, which maximises the amount of recycled content in a profile’s design, without affecting performance.
ecotech uses a ‘dual-extrusion’ process that uses two extruders in parallel to push recycled and virgin polymer through the profile die at the same time. This ensures that recycled material is only used in the internal webbing, remaining isolated from the external wall, with virgin polymer used to provide the external wall of the profile. This gives a pristine finish to the surface of the window.
“The flush sash casement pretty much sealed the deal for us because we were already starting to win a lot of business in that market,” James said. “It looks the part in heritage properties, especially with its slim 58mm sightline sash.”
Other design features include a choice of standard and heritage deep bottom rail, and options for mechanical jointing, which combine to create a strong match for a traditional, 19th century timber sash. It also suites with both the Ideal 70 and Ideal 4000 profiles, minimising stock for fabricators.
James explained that while the product easily won him over, there are other elements of the partnership that are just as key.
“It is refreshing to be dealing with a multi-national company – aluplast helped with the programming of all my machinery, including a prepping machine, corner cleaner, automatic saw, and bead saw. And director Ian Cocken and area sales representative Hussain Abdulkader, who we deal with regularly, are both straight-talking guys. They will go out of their way to tackle any issues that may crop up.”
This supplier/fabricator relationship has increased in importance in recent years, as companies up and down the supply chain re-evaluate who they buy component parts from, according to James.
“While we have suffered from some poor decisions made by a previous key supplier, we are also seeing window companies turn to us because some of the larger fabricators in our region are not looking after their customers,” James said. “As the market contracts, and more companies chase fewer high-value jobs, now’s not the time to lose sight of your customers’ value.
“So, we decided to limit our output to about 150 frames per week, because we know we can comfortably manage that without taking on lots of new staff. And it gives us the tools to look after our customers with an excellent product range.”
For more information about aluplast, call 01684 273401, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aluplast.co.uk.