Cornwall Group Toughens Up 
To Be Match Fit

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Trade News

Cornwall Group is on target to invest £2 million in Forward Glass by the end of June, including a new toughening plant, which reflects the group’s determination to be ‘match fit’ for when the economy is expected to pick up by the start of 2025.

Cornwall Group acquired Birmingham-based Forward Glass in December 2023, including the 100,000ft2 site it occupies. The company employs more than 90 people, and supplies single toughened, processed glass and stock to the trade. 

“Forward Glass already has three tougheners, but they are approaching retirement,” Cornwall Group’s chair Mark Mitchell said. “It is our policy to invest in all parts of the group so that we remain efficient, and that we can guarantee the very best product quality.

“We should have the toughener installed at Forward Glass in Q1 2025, with a second scheduled for Q3 2025 elsewhere in the group.”

Mark said that the market remains volatile, but it is important for the group to be one step ahead in terms of investment.

“I don’t expect to see the market picking up significantly before the end of this year,” he said. “Compounding that, I also see some distress, with some companies suffering cash flow problems.

“I think the trend for some parts of the market to compete on price is coming home to roost, because a drop in orders has left them nowhere to turn to. This will lead to some casualties, which should release some volume back into the market, but I think it won’t be until Q2 2025 until we see a significant upturn.”

Cornwall Group is also investing in the people and skills at Forward Glass, including new workwear and breakout rooms for colleagues.

“The people at Forward Glass are very experienced, and we are keen to tap into that knowledge,” Mark said. “So we will be extending our very successful apprenticeship programme to the site in Birmingham, with the first apprentices employed by Christmas.”

Finally, Mark explained that a recent spring clean at Forward Glass in Birmingham has left the company feeling much lighter as a result.

“We’ve been clearing out the archives at the site in Birmingham, which has been very therapeutic,” he said. “Since we are an IT driven company, we are moving away from physical files. So, it made sense to clear out all the old paperwork that had built up over the years. All 10 tonnes of it!”

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