Demand for uPVC and aluminium windows and doors destined for residential properties is still extremely strong and customers of niche manufacturer KAT go into quarter two with 8-12 week order books. This is incredible given that so many business sectors in the UK are still in shutdown and face a bleak 2021. But, with the sensible and pragmatic approach taken by the Chancellor in the March Budget, confidence across the KAT customer base and in our industry in general, is very high.
The timing is perfect for KAT to choose to invest in their Macclesfield aluminium manufacturing facility. Phil Warren, KAT MD, is keen to further develop his aluminium business and has therefore acquired an Emmegi CNC Router and Emmegi double mitre saw. But, more importantly, Phil has managed to entice back two important people to manage aluminium production, Harry Goltman, Production Manager and Dave Matuska, Team Leader. KAT manufacture the AluK system, but through sister company Stag Aluminium can also offer Reynaers, SAS Senior and Exlabesa systems.
Over the last 12 months, the KAT management team have deliberately restricted sales to the North West of England and Scotland. This strategic approach was adopted to focus effort on selling more items to fewer customers and to maximise the transport fleet, plus reduce lead times, delivery time and costs. The results of this geographically focused approach have been very positive and whilst around 25% of the previous customer base had to find a new supplier, sales have almost doubled at KAT and profit is greatly improved. Another key benefit of dealing with fewer customers is that the KAT team have got to know their customers better and can tailor their approach for every customer. Contact KAT
With this tight geographic and niche product focus, KAT has found room to successfully operate in the space between the two supply chain extremes of trade counters and super fabricators. A typical KAT customer now buys a basket of uPVC and aluminium products from KAT and sister company Spitfire Doors. Customer feedback is critical as KAT evolves and in a recent survey, strong messages came through loud and clear. Customers said they are attracted to KAT because they want a local service, they want to be able to speak to someone knowledgeable that they know personally, they want to be able to access the business leader easily and they expect a high-quality product. Price, window system and lead times are of secondary importance.
Another message that was well received is that KAT customers don’t want KAT to get too big. Learning lessons of the past, the Directors at KAT have a long-term plan for the business that caps annual turnover at around £5m. Chasing turnover is often a vanity project and the character of a business totally changes with high growth. The focus at KAT is recruit and retain high quality employees, pick the right customers and suppliers to work with and drive the bottom line through efficiency and hard work.
In line with this local sales approach, KAT is opening a trade sales counter in Macclesfield. KAT is the only fabricator of uPVC and aluminium windows and doors between Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport, so with over 200,000 very local people there is huge potential. Like in any town today, there are other trade counters around but none can offer that immediate service for a quick frame, or offer so many bespoke manufactured products from stock.
KAT also enjoys an excellent relationship with many customers in Scotland, mainly buyers of KAT market leading uPVC patio doors. The KAT patio door is renowned for excellent weather resistance and ‘fit and forget’ guarantee. Economies in distribution are made by working closely with Spitfire Doors, Universal Arches and Stag Aluminium, all Kaliber Group companies. A significant volume of group sales are made north of the border and this increases year on year. Scottish customers look to work with companies that provide a very personal service, where they feel they can pick up the phone and things will happen quickly. Excellent product quality has to be a given when customers are so far away.
2021 has started very well and optimism at KAT and across the Kaliber Group is high.
To speak to a member of the Customer Services Team, contact KAT on 01625 439666 or email [email protected]