Professional Builder puts the questions to Richard Gaunt of Made for Trade on the latest developments in the business and the product range.
Q. It’s been two years since we were up at the factory in Stockton on Tees to present our highly sort after Charles Godfrey Award for innovation in respect of your new Korniche Roof Lantern. Little did we know then what was in store for us but, despite the considerable trading difficulties, you seem to have managed to maintain a really strong presence in the marketplace throughout 2020. How is business currently holding up for Made For Trade?
A. Since winning the prestigious Charles Godfrey Innovation Award, the Korniche Aluminium Roof Lantern has outperformed the lantern roof market, winning many more design awards with increased sales week on week. The COVID-19 effect meant production halted in April and May. However, since production restarted, sales to date have accelerated to such an extent that the Korniche Lantern’s sales are now 30 per cent up on the same period a year ago.
Q. What do you think are the overriding factors behind the product taking the market by storm given that there are a number of established competitors out there?
A. Great design features and precision engineering mean the Korniche Aluminium Roof Lantern can be fitted in minutes and glazed in seconds… with no silicone sealant required in the body of the lantern. Why? Because the manufacturing tolerances are so tight that it fits together snugly so water can’t get in, and if by any slim chance it does the internal drainage comes into play and guides it to the outside.
Added to that the aesthetics are pleasing to the eye, so all in all the Korniche Lantern has really disrupted the market and set new standards.
Q. Back in 2018 we recall you had ambitions plans to move to a purpose-built factory out of town. Has this now come to fruition and what impact has it had on manufacturing capacity?
A. To keep pace with the increased demand the company have moved the Korniche Lantern production process into a new larger 35,000sq ft unit specifically designed and set up for lantern production only. This is in addition to the 11,0000 sq ft production facility and new company headquarters acquired last year for the record breaking Aluminium Bi-fold door and the new Korniche Aluminium Bi-folding door, which will be ready to hit the market in January/February 2021.
The new facilities have meant the company has been able to quickly expand production to meet the ever growing demand, and continue to develop and improve the customer experience, nullify raw material shortages, with higher stocking levels and with a new fleet of delivery vehicles controlling deliveries to our customers.
Q. One of the most obvious consequences of the pandemic appears to be greater demand for more space within a property for day-to-day living and, of course, working from home.
Work seems to be plentiful right now for those builders who specialize in extensions and conversions, and your product offering certainly appears to offer a perfect solution to those looking to meet homeowners new aspirations?
A. Yes, the market has really changed, the glazed extension has taken the place of the traditional conservatory for the end user. So, when the system company Aperture went into administration earlier this year – our supplier of the Global Conservatory Roof – future supply issues loomed large. We therefore took the decision to withdraw from the traditional conservatory market as year on year it is losing market share to the brick built glazed extension.
Over the last few years, the major issue with glazed conservatories is that they are generally too hot in summer and too cold in winter whereas the glazed extension can be fully insulated, providing all year around comfort. The glazed extension becomes part of the home whereas the conservatory is always a separate addition and usually not part of the home central heating system. As well as further enhancing house values the glazed extension offers far more usable family living space, particularly when it incorporates the kitchen it becomes a kitchen dining lounge space. So, all in all, it’s a better option that always includes a bi-folding door or patio door – bringing the garden closer – and a Korniche Lantern, which allows more natural light to flow into the room.
Q. We understand you have some big plans for 2021. Can you enlighten us as to what this may entail?
A. To complement the success seen with the Korniche Aluminium Roof Lantern and the Bi-Folding Door Made For Trade will have a new product coming to market early in 2021 and to house the production we are taking another 50,000sq ft of factory space. This new unit is sited a few miles from our Wynyard Park site, again with easy access to the A19 motorway.
MFT are very positive that the Korniche Lantern, Bi-folding Doors and Patio Doors supplied to trade counters up and down the country will continue to play an important role in the building products supply chain, and continue to be a very important role for the foreseeable future in the UK construction industry.
For further information on Made for Trade visit https://www.madefortrade.co/