profine

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 profine is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.profine-uk.com

1PROFINE |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2021
Managing Director Gareth Jones
profine UK, Huthwaite,
Nottinghamshire
Profine is a wholly owned subsidiary of profine GmbH,
a German-owned global processor of PVC. Its primary
business is the manufacture of PVCu window and door
system extrusion for sale to window manufacturers across
the UK, marketed under the name Kömmerling. Since
May 2020 it distributes from a manufacturing facility in
Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire. Managing Director Gareth Jones
explainsmore.
It would not be possible to review 2019 without referring to Brexit and the impact
the prolonged implementation has had on our business.
We import over 11,000 tonnes of PVCu profile from Germany per annum, which
more or less equates to 15 articulated vehicles per week. Thankfully, due to
the plethora of information from government on possible changes to customs
regulations, we were able to adequately prepare in this respect.
We increased stock levels in March in preparation for a potential no-deal Brexit,
which could have led to potential delays to our inbound materials. This came at a
cost, as, in addition to the impact on our cash reserves, extra warehousing capacity
had to be secured.
We sell profile to over 300 customers, and while all of these are window
manufacturers, the majority are family-run, lifestyle businesses. The nature of
window manufacture means that it is not possible for these businesses to switch
supply in the short term. We therefore carry a greater responsibility to serve these
customers in the knowledge that failure will affect their livelihoods.
FACTS ABOUT
PROFINE
»Managing Director:
Gareth Jones
»Established in 1984
»Based in Huthwaite,
Nottinghamshire
»Services: Manufacture of PVCu
window and door system
extrusion
»No. of employees: 170
profine
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| PROFINE
The other short-term impact to the
business has been the volatility of
exchange rates. With more than
90 per cent of our cost of materials
purchased in euros, the fluctuations,
however small, can significantly affect
our bottom line and cash position.
Forecasting, therefore, has been
achallenge.
The lesson in all of this is to remain
flexible, and as we look to the medium
and longer term, we remain open to
the transfer of production to the UK.
This would represent an investment
of over £10 million and an expansion
of our employees from 41 to around
170. We are therefore anxious to
understand how trading conditions will
look in 2021 and beyond.
A new focus on marketing
It is fair to say that the business
underinvested in marketing in the
years leading up to 2019.
The brand name, although
synonymous with high-quality
products, needed rejuvenating.
With our customer base requiring
reassurance that we have a long-
term commitment to the UK market,
we embarked on an extensive
marketing campaign, which proved
extremelysuccessful.
As a result, we collected two industry
awards and, more importantly, new
customers. We now have a recipe for
the upcoming years, and 2021 will see
further marketing, targeting indirect
customers and consumers.
2020 and Covid-19
Despite the immediate challenges, we
take comfort in some stability being
restored to the political and economic
environment. We look positively to
the future, and with continued focus
on sales and marketing activities, we
expect to grow our market share,
which currently sits at around ten
per cent. This will hopefully build a
platform for further investment in the
UK, bringing production to our shores
and creating further employment in
our region.
Lamination of PVC
profiles in Huthwaite
We now boast
a full
manufacturing
facility in
Huthwaite,
Nottingham-
shire, and we
are in the
process of
transferring
production to
the UK
3PROFINE |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2021
Like so many businesses, we closed
down in March 2020 as a result of
the Covid-19 pandemic, with all of
our customers ceasing the installation
of windows and doors. We took
advantage of the furlough scheme
and timed our return to operations
in line with our customers, beginning
to see sales development from mid-
Mayonwards.
What has followed has taken the
whole industry by surprise. Yes, we
expected a surge in demand, bolstered
by increases in disposable income
and the slim prospect of international
travel, but sales have been in excess
of 40 per cent above 2019 levels,
and the whole industry is gripped by
a strained and failing supply chain. A
nice problem to have, given the pain
suffered in other sectors.
Fortunately, however, our group
took the brave decision in the midst
of lockdown to acquire the assets
of a competitor that had gone into
administration. We now boast a full
manufacturing facility in Huthwaite,
Nottinghamshire, and we are in the
process of transferring production to
the UK, finally removing the burden of
whatever risk a no-deal Brexit poses.
In these unprecedented times, we
have almost trebled our turnover and
grown our workforce to almost 170,
re-employing many staff who would
otherwise have been made redundant.
A commitment to CSR
Recently, our group has embarked
on a CSR campaign entitled
#kömmerlingbetterworld. This is a
global campaign that supports a wide
range of causes. In the UK, we rotate
our chosen charity every two years,
and we currently support Children
with Cancer. A series of events are
planned with employees, customers
and suppliers to raise funds. While CSR
projects can be looked at cynically as
PR opportunities, our CEO and owner
truly wishes to share the success of
the business with those less fortunate,
and, as such, this goal remains integral
to our company culture.
On the environmental level, the design
of our products has energy efficiency
at its core, and every installation of
Kömmerling windows and doors has
a positive impact on the environment.
Furthermore, PVCu windows and
doors, when replaced, can be fully
recycled, and in 2019, we invested in
a facility to process the material in the
UK. We therefore have a sustainable
long-term future.
Finally, with our business and others in
our industry performing well, we are
uniting on measures to bridge the skills
gap. Over the years, we have lost many
experienced personnel throughout the
industry, and we are working hard to
encourage more younger people to
consider a career in fenestration – a
career path which provides a huge
variety of opportunities.
It has been an incredible 24 months.
With Brexit uncertainty, followed by
the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK has
faced unprecedented challenges. Yet,
as we look to the future, we can be
truly proud of the manner in which
we met obstructions and ultimately
secured our business, when perhaps
we were least expected to.
The design of
our products
has energy
efficiency at
its core, and
every
installation of
Kömmerling
windows and
doors has a
positive
impact on the
environment
#kömmerlingbetterworld
Corporate Social
Responsibility

www.profine-uk.com

This article was sponsored by profine. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.