Image Above: Port Street – Manchester
Established in the UK in 2006, Aluprof has grown in the UK to become one of the major players in the UK facade industry. With so many active facade systems companies operating in the UK, how did Aluprof succeed in taking a sizeable portion of the UK market? Wojciech Brozyna, MD of Aluprof UK, answers some of these questions:
So why break into the UK market when it was so well-established back in 2006?
“In Poland we have always viewed the UK as a challenge for us, we knew that it would not be easy to set up and gain projects from a virtually unknown system such as ours. We had the benefit of logistics behind us, as we were already exporting from Poland to several other European countries and believed we had a good grasp of product delivery, offering an on time and complete order fulfilment. Added to the logistics, we had won several awards for our systems in Poland and believed that our product range could take on any other system currently available in the European market at that time.
“The market crash in 2008 possibly helped us grow as fast as we did in the early years as fabricators in the UK looked for alternative systems which were a little more competitively priced. At this time we were ready with stocked product in Poland and planning two deliveries per week to the UK. As a result specifications were switched to Aluprof, we delivered on our promises and these early adopters of Aluprof systems continue to be valued customers today.”
How did you penetrate the UK market in the early days being virtually unknown?
“We decided to send a small team over from Poland, which included myself and several other employees who knew our systems very well. We then interviewed and took on a small team of enthusiastic people who could also see the benefits in our systems and services. It is these early members of staff who promoted our systems and helped us gain our first projects. The majority of the original staff are still vital members of our team today.
“To create awareness, we joined several associations in the UK and supported their meetings and events. Our approach was quite simple, we believed that our systems could stand up alongside any other system and perform as well, if not better than our competitors. We revealed the credibility of our offer which was enthusiastically accepted in the UK by specifiers and facade companies. The UK has always had a passion for European style systems and we did not disappoint!”
How have you kept up with the growth of Aluprof in the UK?
“When we were looking at the UK back in 2005, we decided that a central base for our office and warehouse facility would be preferential, so we decided to settle in the Manchester area which gave us close access to all the major conurbations across the British Isles. From our initial offices and warehouse in Norman Road, Altrincham, we moved seven years ago to a new, larger unit at Altrincham Business Park.
“Whilst we do carry some stock material in our Altrincham warehouse, most projects are supplied direct from our huge warehouse facility located in Bielsko-Biała. With just a two day shipping window, we continue to supply complete orders across to the UK on a weekly basis.”
“In order to keep up with the growth and support our customers, four years ago we started to offer fabricated product as well as systems. This has gone down very well with our customers, as it has allowed them to take on larger projects and at the same time eased their own fabrication programming.”
How have you persuaded specifiers to use your range of systems?
“We have done little advertising and have relied on word of mouth and regular presence in the press by way of PR and editorial promoting our constantly growing portfolio of projects, however, the growth would not have been possible without our dedicated, customer facing, technical and procurement teams. With their extensive knowledge of the UK industry we communicated our strengths and most importantly, met our promises of support and delivery times. We also have an experienced back office team and R&D facility in Poland who offer a package of technical support. Honouring site deliveries with our fabricators has put us in place for future work on many projects and something we have capitalised on.
“One of the growth systems in our portfolio has been our fire rated windows, doors and curtain wall systems. When we brought these systems to the UK, the market for fire rated aluminium systems was in its early growth cycle. By introducing these systems to specifiers, where there was a project requirement, has enabled us to range build with our other non-fire rated systems which offer a perfect match keeping the all important glazing sight-lines. I believe we still lead the field in this technology as currently we are the only systems company in the UK that can offer a cap-less fire rated curtain wall system, our MB SR50NEI EFEKT which is tested to EI60 and certified by Certifire warrington.
What are your future plans for the UK
“We have plans to double the offices and warehouse space this year in Altrincham to provide a showroom and media centre for specifiers. Together with this facility we also have an active office and ‘drop-in’ showroom at the Business Design Centre at Islington to support our growing number of specifiers using our systems in the South East. We also regularly interview for new staff as we continue to expand our team.
New systems are also in the pipeline, some dedicated to the UK, but you will have to keep an eye out in the media for the launch of these new systems and services. I would say that we continue plan for future growth and strengthen our position as a strong, reliable supplier despite the UK being in uncertain times.