With investment of £5M forecast for 2018, the industry-leading systems supplier looks well placed to help customers face the challenges ahead. MD Dave Jones tells us how VEKA plans to ‘brighten up’ a relatively flat market with a boost to its lamination offering.
Here at VEKA, we are looking forward to the year ahead and the programme of developments we have planned. While we remain realistic about 2018’s potential challenges, we know that – without investment – a company and its customers would ‘stand still’, and that is not something we are content to do.
In order to continue supporting our customers with the highest levels of service, and to remain at the very forefront of the industry, we are looking to invest around £5M in VEKA Group facilities, plant and technology.
The main focus of investment will be our ever-growing lamination department.
Over the years, VEKA has been celebrated for ‘leading the way’ in areas such as customer support, sustainability, security and energy efficiency. For example; with the industry’s first window rated ‘A’ for efficiency, first window rated ‘A’ for noise reduction, first BSI Kitemark-accredited bi-fold door, first dedicated PVC-U recycling plant and first BFRC-certified WER calculator. However, we have said, for a number of years, that homeowners and specifiers should be able to ‘expect’ the highest levels of quality and efficiency and make their choices based on more discretionary factors, such as style and colour. We’ve discussed this in a number of editorial features over the years, and I know this is a sentiment now echoed around the industry.
In response to demand for heritage-style windows, we developed our coveted Vertical Slider and FlushSash systems and as the demand for coloured frames increased, we unveiled our Variations collection of colours and realistic woodgrains. We have seen huge growth in this area of the business in recent years and, currently, over 33% of VEKA Group sales are foiled product.
We are in the process of buying an adjacent building to VEKA’s HQ which will allow the current 380,000 sq ft site site to expand by a further 40,000 sq ft and will enable us to potentially increase lamination capacity by a further 50%.
As well as the new building, we are investing in a new, flexible lamination line, allowing us to offer the most efficient service on the inevitable small runs and quirkier colour choices. Not only that, but the department will see the addition of another standard lamination line, a new colour changing head and a heat tunnel, alongside all our existing high spec foiling equipment.
The aim with this investment – as always – is to ensure that our customers are best placed to meet the demands of a challenging market. It’s not only about increasing the potential volume of our output, but supporting customers with flexibility and efficient service. We want to offer real, straightforward benefits that will reflect on their own business and the level of service they are able to offer to customers, whether that’s homeowners or commercial specifiers etc.
2018 also sees VEKA Group making plans for further improvements to our specialist maintenance and tooling department. Expanding our in-house maintenance department means that we can respond immediately and capably to any potential problems with our machinery (however unlikely we hope they are!) to ensure there is no disruption to the supply chain.
2018’s planned spend of £5M continues a pattern of investment, including – for example – £400K last year allocated to energy efficiency upgrades for the plant. Improved lighting, heating and high bay racking meant that our warehouse facility achieved a 25% reduction in electricity consumption in 2017.
While we’re busy with our investment plans here in Burnley, our sister company VEKA Recycling has also announced the fantastic news that it will be investing £8M into constructing one of the most advanced PVC-U recycling plants in Europe, right here in the UK!
In the face of a relatively flat market, I am very proud to be part of a Group that will continue to invest – through good years and bad – in order to see our partners succeed. Some of our customers have been with us for more than 30 years, and it’s our job to show them that we will be here for them for the next 30 years, and the 30 after that …