The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Clearway Doors & Windows is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Clearway Doors & Windows
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
19CLEARWAY DOORS & WINDOWS LTD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Jeremy Phillips, managing
Clearway Doors & Windows Ltd head office
and manufacturing facility in Cheltenham
Clearway Doors & Windows Ltd is celebrating 35 years of
manufacturing and installing made-to-measure window
and door systems in Gloucestershire. For 30 of these
years it focused on the commercial sector. Five years ago, the
company expanded into the high-end domestic market. It now
offers a complete range of products to a wide customer base in
the Midlands and southwest. Managing director Jeremy Phillips
shares his thoughts on how Clearway has achieved this success.
Evolution is the key to survival and Clearway has certainly had to embrace this
mantra over the past 35 years. The window and door industry has changed
dramatically from the early eighties, when aluminium windows were very basic in
design with rudimentary double glazed units, to the present day when demand for
quality, choice and performance has helped to develop cutting-edge products with
Strong partnerships with aluminium systems companies, component manufacturers
and suppliers have helped Clearway to navigate this path of continuous
improvement, a task made easier with many of these businesses based around
Cheltenham. Keeping things as local as possible goes hand in hand with the green
credentials of aluminium which is Clearway’s core product – in fact, 75 per cent of
aluminium produced since 1880 is still in use today.
Having identified the potential of aluminium in both the commercial and domestic
markets some time ago, the company is now reaping the benefits of consumer
demand. The ability of aluminium frames to deliver slim, strong, energy-efficient
windows and doors in pretty much any colour or combination of colours means
& WINDOWS LTD
»Established in 1983
»Based in Cheltenham,
manufacturer and installer of
aluminium and PVCu windows,
doors and glazed roofing
»No. of employees: 30
»Operates in 8 counties in the
Midlands and southwest
»Turnover: Over £2.5million
Clearway Doors &
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | CLEARWAY DOORS & WINDOWS LTD
that demand is continuously growing.
Testament to this is the fact that, in
2013, domestic sales accounted for
less than five per cent of Clearway’s
turnover; five years later this has
increased to over 40 per cent. We aim
to reach 50 per cent while expanding
Investing in staff
Manufacturing and installing
aluminium products is still a skilled
practice and any company can
only be as good as the staff that it
employs. To this end Clearway has
embraced continuous staff training
and development. Using a combination
of in-house teaching and local training
providers has proved vital in improving
abilities and developing the younger
Our factory environment has proved to
be the ideal springboard for staff who
want to develop extra skills and in the
past few years we have seen three staff
move from the shop floor to take up
key roles elsewhere in the company.
Of course, that means that we have
constantly to nurture and train new
employees to fill the gap left behind.
Again we have had considerable
success in this area.
The skills shortage within the
construction industry as a whole is still
a very real problem faced by almost
every sector and is a concern going
forward. However, by adapting your
strategy you can build for the future.
Experienced labour “on tap” can no
longer be relied upon for recruitment,
as career window and door fabricators
and installers reach retirement. As
they disappear from the labour market
they leave a void created by neglect of
apprenticeships and a perceived lack of
glamour within the building industry.
We have to get creative if we are to
keep up the high skill levels of the
previous decades. As employers we
have to build an appealing work place
and offer career prospects. We need to
put as much effort into setting out our
stall for new employees as we do for
You have to make your company
stand out from the crowd especially
in an industry as competitive as ours.
At Clearway we have concentrated
on the basics of quality and service.
The company has grown considerably
over the past five years from a staff
of 19 to over 30. This growth has
Inside the showroom
building in Cheltenham
industry as a
whole is still a
by almost every
sector and is a
strategy you can
build for the
21CLEARWAY DOORS & WINDOWS LTD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
been necessary to cope with increased
demand. However, we have not
allowed this to detract from our
It is important to take a critical
look at ourselves – and to do this
continuously. It’s a fact of life that
things do not always go to plan and it
is vital to have the ability to deal with
any eventuality so that we can still
deliver the right product at the right
time for our customers. Whether the
job is a single door or part of a multi-
million pound commercial project we
have to perform. One area that we
have developed recently is our ability
to react quickly and efficiently to any
service issues that occur with our
products. The old adage that it’s not
the problem itself but how you deal
with it is as important today as it ever
was. Today’s consumer is demanding –
and rightly so.
Sampling customer opinion is a really
useful tool. We now regularly send out
concise feedback forms to evaluate
and improve our procedures. Indeed,
we have introduced new quality
control procedures and improved lines
of communication based on comments
from our customers. We have fixed
one problem area by splitting duties
carried out by one manager into
three separate areas of responsibility
with dramatic results. Again, we have
relied on customer feedback to let us
know that we are now on the road to
getting things right.
The next 35 years?
Perhaps this is too much of a crystal
ball challenge. However, we do have
a plan – a very simple one – to keep
investing in staff, customers and
products. The future is full of promise
for the window and door industry
especially the aluminium sector. Here
at Clearway we will continue to play a
leading role in shaping and improving
ourselves and the industry as a whole.
The factory in
Aluminium curtain wall
façade by Clearway
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.