Image Above: Jay Patel
Jay Patel, director at Deceuninck fabricator Everglade Windows – recently crowned Fabricator of the Year and winner of the Customer Care Initiative award at the G23 Awards – explains how competing on price was always a flawed tactic, but today even more so. We report.
Deceuninck fabricator Everglade Windows operates out of Perivale, West London, and deliberately services customers within a given geographical area.
“That area is quite large, covering the majority of Southern and Eastern England,” Jay Patel, director at Everglade Windows says. “But we don’t aim to cover the whole country. We deliberately set out a few years ago to focus on areas we could easily service, to look after our customers better.”
Everglade Windows supplies both trade customers, including small builders, and larger B2B customers, including large developers and main contractors. But whoever receives their windows, Everglade’s priority remains the same: not to compete solely on price.
“We saw prices increase after the pandemic, driven by the rise in costs,” Jay says. “Rather unusually, people were seemingly very accepting of these rising prices.
“I think many in our industry took that as a sign that people were willing to pay a premium for our products, and deservedly so. The unfortunate thing is that there are too many people reverting back to what they might see as the simpler answer when struggling for market share, which is to do it cheaper and quicker.
“But all you do is cheapen the product and reduce the level of quality or service.”
Jay argues that Everglade Windows’ focus is on investing in the product and differentiating themselves from their competitors in other ways, which includes choosing Deceuninck as a systems partner.
“If everyone’s doing the same thing, then the only thing left to compete on is something like price,” he says. “Whereas, when you offer products that are better, and rarer than others, it gives you an advantage.
“You still have to be competitive, but you don’t have to get caught in the race to the bottom.
“What you need to fight for is specification. Make sure your product is the best it can be, that it’s innovative, that it gives the best security, and it is the most energy efficient. Then the right types of customers will buy those products because they can see value in them.”
Jay points to Deceuninck’s 30+ colourways from stock and Heritage Flush Sash as two key product developments that would help Everglade Windows.
“When we set out a few years ago looking for improvements to our PVC-U product range, the main things we considered were: access to colour and access to flush, because we could see that these were things that people would demand more, and that’s exactly what has happened,” Jay says.
“Today, flush casements are almost becoming a market in itself. And if you haven’t got a wide colour option, then you’re cutting yourself out of a lot of the potential market.”
This focus on premium products is reflected in the company’s attitude to investment.
“We don’t milk the business,” Jay says. “We like to reinvest in the business, to help us get to the next stage.”
Within the last five years, Everglade Windows has invested in a new Schirmer and a new quad welder, both of which the company says were the firsts of their kind in the UK.
“The welder does two jobs at the same time,” Jay says. “It’s a quad welder in the normal sense of the word, but it also does timber-look joints, which was something else we launched a few years ago.”
Everglade Windows has a second similar welder on order, and has just taken delivery of a Graf seamless cill welder.
Such investment in products and machinery would not, in Jay’s opinion, be possible if the company’s only point of differentiation was its price point.
“If you’re selling the same products as everyone else, then the only thing they can measure your product on is the price,” he concludes. “And that’s when you will naturally get caught in the race to the bottom.”