How the City of culture can help local business

The rail industry is working together to deliver over £50 billion in a Railway Upgrade Plan: the biggest programme of improvements in rail since the 19th Century.

 

Investment

Investment is at its highest since the Victorian times and there will is a lot of work going on as the railway infrastructure etc has to be modernised to keep up with modern day living and as you can see a lot of money is being spent in the foreseeable future. Apart from work being carried out on improving railway stations the tracks, signalling etc will also be involved in this process.

Construction industry should take heed as this is a great and exciting opportunity to get involved and gain work in the railway infrastructure. To get any tenders from the rail industry is to get on the supply chain we at Howells have recently joined Railtrack as being one of their suppliers and for this we had to be Risk Approved by Achilles. This involved an auditor coming in and seeing that all our policies, risk assessments etc were bang up-to-date so we could join the list of suppliers.   All this involves us being RISQS approved (Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme) This is owned and governed by the rail industry. This has enabled us to demonstrate our capability and market our product and service whilst complying with industry standards.

Cultural Heritage

Railways have been part of our cultural heritage for nearly 200 years now and shall be for the foreseeable future.  When railways were introduced many people were actually suspicious of this form of transport, the very idea seems ludicrous now.

The first class reclined in luxury, not quite the same today but still quite plush compartments. The third class were given a rough deal though, travelling in open top goods wagons, the very idea seems appalling.  Although there have been a lot of complaints from passengers about overcrowded trains in this day and age we have still come a long way from the past, don’t you think!

There is something romantic about taking a great train journey and visiting a beautiful train station. An Ionic train station makes one feel nostalgic and evoke a mixture of excitement and wonder especially if travelling for pleasure.

Working with English Heritage

The English Heritage has listed its choice of 10 great railway stations which are certainly spectacular.  The list starts with London Paddington, and ends at St Pancras, where there is a larger than life statue of Betjeman.   Recently the growth of high speed rail has been accompanied by an interest in restoring and building train stations.  In London workers cleaned 300,000 pounds of dirt from the neo Gothic brick facade of St Pancras and restored 8000 glass roof panes.

Newcastle Central, Tyne & Wear which three arched glass roofs built in a curve It was the first true iron and glass vault on a giant scale and the ancestor of other great city station train sheds.

https://heritagecalling.com/2014/12/04/10-great-english-railway-stations/

We have some beautiful buildings housing train stations across the country, such as Bristol Temple Meads, which we at Howells have taken part in refurbishing. This was designed by the British Engineer Ismbard Kingdom Brunel, as you know is world famous.

http://www.docbrown.info/docspics/southwest/bristol/bristol01.htm

Our local station Great Malvern was designed by EW Elmslie in the Gothic style.   I have been to Malvern many times I would recommend taking a look the next time you visit this beautiful region.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Malvern_railway_station

Refurbishments

Refurbishing railway stations, beautiful as some of them are takes a lot of red tape and work behind the scenes and we at Howells have a lot of experience in station refurbishment. We have worked at Windsor Royal, Temple Meads, Melton, Mowbry., Loughborough, Shrub Hill, Stoke and Kettering.

We at Howells Glazing hope in the future to play a small part in restoring railway stations to their former glory and you could too.

 

 

 

 

Posted in General News, Heritage, Patent Glazing | Comments Off on How the City of culture can help local business

Black Country pride; Howells Patent Glazing delve into the history of Black Country glass making

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we’re a proud bunch; especially when it comes to our industrial history. Fabricating and manufacturing isn’t unusual in this area of the Midlands, and the team behind our 40 year old firm have decided to take a look into the history of the area, and our roots in the industry.

The Black Country is an area in the West Midlands generally agreed to include Dudley, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall. However, there’s more to the Black Country than just the distinctive ‘Marmite’ accent.

Howells Patent Glazing, our industry trusted patent glazing and rooflight firm, are based in the heart of the Black Country. Industry roots date back to around the 17th century, coinciding with the discovery of an abundance of coal, iron ore and clay, making it an ideal location for the birth of industry in the Midlands. In the 1960’s, the Black Country was described as the best area for glass making in the country.

Tracey Jackson, our marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “The Black Country has once again become an industry hive for most areas of manufacture. There are so many skilled people around here, who aren’t afraid of a little hard work, who make Midlands businesses so strong. We’re proud of who we are, and where we are from. Our family run firm have been based in Cradley Heath for over 40 years, and its heritage is important to us – It feels good to take a deeper look into the roots of glass making in this area”.

The development of the canal network meant that products and outputs were able to become larger as transport became easily accessible. The fruits of the local area became most relevant when the use of trees was banned in furnaces in 1615. An abundance of coal, silica and clay provided the ideal materials for glass making. Skills in the craft of glass making had to be acquired rapidly, and small scale glass makers became very popular.

Patent Glazing - The Crystal Palace

The Chance Brothers, a historic Black Country glassworks provided glass for the famous Crystal Palace building.

However, glass making on a much larger scale soon became possible. The Chance Brothers in Smethwick produced glass in such large quantities in the 19th century that it supplied the glass for the celebrated Crystal Palace. Other notable landmarks that have used Black Country glass are the windows in the Houses of Parliament, the glass used in the clock tower that houses Big Ben, and the Whitehouse in the USA.

With such rich history in the industry and glass making, it’s no surprise that the Black Country inspired the fabrication of systems to hold and support architectural glass. Long after the closure of the mines and the shutdown of steel mills and foundries, industry still survives in the West Midlands, albeit on a smaller scale.

Whilst we may not have been founded four centuries ago, our family team remain proud to have been born and raised in the Black Country. Innovation and hard work are the new resources mined in the Midlands, and show no signs of running out any time soon!

 

Posted in Uncategorised | Comments Off on Black Country pride; Howells Patent Glazing delve into the history of Black Country glass making

Will the Trump effect boost British manufacturing?

 

In the wake of Donald Trump’s US presidential win, the team at Cradley Heath based manufacturing firm Howells Patent Glazing are considering what impact the new presidency will have on the economy and our 40 year old family run British manufacturing business.

A large proportion on the UK’s relationship with the US is built on trade. Before the EU referendum, President Obama stated that the UK would be put to the “back of the queue” for US trade deals if they voted out of the EU. However, Trump stated that it would make no difference if the UK is in the EU or not, and that he was keen to strike a new trade deal with the UK. So what does this mean for British manufacturing?

Trump’s proposed trade policies aren’t as good for the UK as they seem and include a 10% tariff on all imports, which could spell trouble for the UK’s smaller manufacturers and exporters. The US is the UK’s second largest export destination, with around one-fifth of all of our exports landing there, just behind Europe who remain Britain’s largest trading partner. With a turbulent, and unpredictable trade year to come in 2017, here at Howells we believe that the effects on the manufacturing industry will mirror that of the effect Brexit had, but on a larger scale.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “With Brexit, we saw a surprising increase in homeowners and local builders taking a hands-on approach to construction by cutting out the middle man. With Trump about to take power in the US, and trade relationships uncertain, we believe that the manufacture and supply industry will see a surge in UK businesses searching for products that are made and distributed within the UK. Products made in the UK will stay in the UK, and that’s an exciting thing for us here at Howells – as a nation, we will start supporting ‘British Made’ goods once again”.

Whether our success post-Brexit was an indicator for what is to come for the British manufacturing and supply businesses after Trump’s election is yet to be seen. However, our firm remains positive, hoping that the new, self-build and ‘Made-in-Britain’ trend will start to change the way the UK construction industry makes money, with UK businesses buying from each other once again.

Tracey Jackson concludes, “It’s time for the UK to take back control of its own economy. The only way that we think that will work is for UK businesses to start buying and selling to and from fellow British manufacturing business again. It’s a good place to start”.

For more information on Howells Patent Glazing, please visit www.howellsglazing.co.uk

Posted in Uncategorised | Comments Off on Will the Trump effect boost British manufacturing?

Making Business New Year Resolutions

How to make business New year’s resolutions

 

New year’s resolutions are not just for personal needs, but also can be used for business.  Like with anything, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Looking forward for 12 months can be a helpful tool to ensure that everyone is in line with your vision for the future and helps focus the drive and direction of the company in the coming months.

 

How do we achieve this? I hear you cry..  It is surprisingly easier than you would think.  By focusing on key areas of the business, you can predict your own success.  This brief will help you select which areas to work on, how to achieve those goals and then most importantly recognizing when you have achieved them

 

What areas to select

This will depend on your business and its current position in the market place.  This is where you take a hard look at the business, together with a snapshot of the company accounts (profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow forecast), orders on the books and those pending.

By having this information you can assess where you are currently, to enable you to move forward you need to be realistic about where you are now.  Hard facts are important.

Then you need to ask yourself, if it were possible, what would you like to realistically achieve over the next 12 months?  An increase in sales, this could involve longer working hours?  Better profit margins, this could involve finding cheaper suppliers or developing new ordering strategies, such as ‘just in time’ mythologies.

How to achieve

Once you have decided which areas you wish to develop for your new year resolutions, then it is time to act.  Write down each point that you want to improve in the coming year and then break them down into small manageable steps with a time line.

For example:

Target

Find cheaper supplier, improve gross profit margin by 2%

Step one – What are you paying for stock currently                            By end January

Step two – Research the market place, get contact details for new suppliers and set up meetings  by end March

Step three – Analyse findings and compare results. By end April

Step four – Give notice if you are in any contracts and instruct new supplier (this could take 90 days) – by end August

Step five – trial new supplier and anaylse quarter data, has the change of supplier worked/are you happy.

 

Recognising success

The best way to recognise success is by looking at the impact the changes have made over a set/predetermined timeframe.  This is where setting the resolution comes into play again, what was your aim?  Then asking the question, did I meet the target I set?

If we use the example set earlier, then the target was to increase profit margin by 2% by sourcing a new supplier.  This can be drilled down into quarters, by December you should be at the end of the first quarter of changes.  What is the trend?  Can you tell from your figures whether the new supplier is meeting the price guarantee?  This should be clear from the projection versus the actual.  Also to understand whether the new supplier is a successful move, you need to look at the bigger picture, are they meeting deadlines, quality etc.  If the answer is no then the process needs to resolved or started again.

This process gets repeated with each resolution that has been agreed.

 

In conclusion, planning for a future can be beneficial and can put you in control of your business.  The question of how do we achieve resolutions is answered simply, by planning an achievable goal and devising simple small steps to get there.  If at any predetermined deadline the target is not met, then put extra resources or time to the problem and success will be just a short hop away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General News, Leads and business generation | Comments Off on Making Business New Year Resolutions

Howells Year in Review

Our Year in Review; what was good, what was bad, and what was even better for Howells Patent Glazing UK.

Well, what a year 2016 has been!  We started in a haze of bad weather, (everyone in the trade knows that snow, ice and severe weather is a roofers worst enemy!)  and then turned it all around at the end of the company year in August to be our best year for turnover to date!  What a ride!

 

The year has seen a new direction for us in the retraining of our staff.  Now, all but handful of staff are undertaking NVQ’s at level 3,4 and 5.  They have also had to undertake their functional skills in English, Maths and, in some cases, ICT at level 1 and 2 too.  This will continue on into next year, but by the end of 2017, most of the work force will have completed their current courses.

15338721_1513895041961294_5946612231747604225_n

We have teamed up with Dudley College for the training of our staff, and they not only attend for the lessons, but also oversee the exams here too.  We have had NVQ courses running in Leadership and Management, ICT, PCO and BIT.

 

It has also been a year for Charity here at Howells Patent Glazing. We have supported a bike rides from London to Brighton by one of our suppliers for the British Heart Foundation and made donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust and Melanoma UK.  We also donated to Ellowes Hall senior citizens Christmas lunch and to our local food bank.

13653435_1389203214430478_2493197403127652609_o

2016 has seen a couple of our staff beginning to starting to give blood at our nearest major blood bank in the center of Birmingham. We are super proud of them!

14517507_1456651794352286_3891410051833461345_n

Preparations have started to get ready for our very first trade show in May of 2017 at The Fit Show in the NEC – One of the biggest shows for glazing UK – where we have designed and ordered our stand to be specially built for us, have had a video recorded and are just finalizing and undertaken new testing of our product range all in readiness for this new enterprise.

14890532_1482480768436055_1079896929435126963_o

We have undertaken stringent testing of our UK glazing materials, and designed and built a new test rig for impact testing of our roofs.  Howells also commercially released our new trade range of ready built rooflights, and added new lines to the product range.

IMG_0276

Our social reach has also had a massive explosion, thanks to our new PR company Preach PR and Yogurt Top Marketing, scaling to an impressive 31157 people reached in ONE POST on our Facebook page for a contract we completed for Aldi!  We had a new strategy for 2016 and it clearly has worked.

 

2016 has had many highs, seeing many new and  existing customers continuing to love and use our glazing UK services.  These include end users of Aldi, Leeds City College, Bourton Meadow School and Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.

Leeds College

Another first for 2016 was that we started entering business enterprise competitions with the Express and Star Business awards, National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 and Made in the Midlands 2016.  We were amazed that on our first application we were shortlisted for  the Apprenticeship & Training Award for Midlands insider, Made in the Midlands and got through to the Semi Final!  We may not have won, but how fantastic it was to come so far, first time!

made in the midlands

All in all, we are really happy with 2016, everything has ended on a high, and we have so many exciting new challenges to look forward to for 2017!

Posted in Uncategorised | Comments Off on Howells Year in Review

So, just how has the US elections affected the UK

So, just how has the US elections affected the UK?

Trumping over the UK economy

by Tracey Jackson)

The world has been very involved in the recent American election battle between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, and two other candidates that no one knew about.  Both parties had their strengths and their weaknesses.

The world has watched with bated breath for the outcome and with all the copious amounts of mudslinging and character assignations, almost like a car crash unfolding in front of us, who will be selected, how will this affect us in the UK? The World?

The Independent saw Clinton winning as a negative result for Russia but that China had a really good existing trade relationship that needed maintaining.

In the run up to the election, Business and financial institutions across the World were poised for a hard ride come election day, with either result could push the economy either way.  It was by no means a done deal as opinion was divided, right up to the last vote being cast.  In the end Trump won with 276 votes and was a clear winner.

In his victory speech, Trump promised to double the US growth and strengthen the economy.  As a businessman, he says that in his experience, he has seen lots of untapped potential all over the world.  As a President, he has vowed to bring  together the US parties and have a united people.

He has a plan for see national growth and for the US to have the strongest economy in the world.  He wants to build on relationships with the world.

Following the election, US markets dropped down 900 points, which in comparison to Brexit  of 610 points, was considerably lower. Globally, our pound dropped massively following the vote, but by opening play of our markets had recovered its position.   Immediately following the result, the Mexican peso dropped nearly 13%, the Austrialia ASX 200 went down 2.1%, Japan, Nikkei 225 down 6%, China Shanghai Composit  – 1.0% and Hong Kong Hang Seng -3%.  The UK markets dropped by 2% when they opened but then recovered up by 60 points at the end of the day.  Banks in particular saw big profits by then end of the day.

 

Looking forward, predictions are for minimal growth and possible volatile markets for the first quarter of 2017.  On the subject of whether the new President is a good thing for UK business and Finance, well with promises of closer business ties with the US, it remains to be seen.

 

Information from:

Telegraph

Independent

Money.cnn

Business insider

Posted in General News | Comments Off on So, just how has the US elections affected the UK

How to keep your conservatory cosy this Christmas; Howells Patent Glazing

Conservatories make great additions to most houses, giving extra room for entertaining, playing, or relaxing in, however they’re often expensive to build and poorly insulated – so making good use of them during the great British winter can be a challenge.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “whilst brick built rooms are always insulated better than a conservatory (in the main), the added appeal of panoramic views of the outdoors, and being able to let natural light flood your home is what makes them incredibly popular. However, you don’t have to suffer in the cold. There are a few solutions to combat the cold during the winter months, and we thought we would share them with you”.

How do I keep my conservatory warm this Christmas?

How do I keep my conservatory warm this Christmas?

“How do I keep my conservatory warm this Christmas?” Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we’ve been in the glazing manufacturing industry for over 40 years, and are experts in our field. We know just how to keep the nation’s conservatories warm during winter. Here are our top tips for beating the chill:

  • Start from the bottom
    It’s a well-known fact that heat rises – and as a conservatory roof is usually made of glass, that’s where they lose most of their heat. If the flooring in a conservatory is cold (tile or laminate flooring), consider adding carpet with a thick, quality underlay. Not in the budget? Then consider buying big, thick or fluffy rugs – these will have the added advantage of being portable, so storing them in the summer months is easy.
  • Barricade the breeze
    As winter looms, so comes the wind. If the wind starts howling through a conservatory, explore and inspect the seals. Old, ill-maintained seals can erode and leave gaps for the wind to penetrate through. Often, it can be worth paying to have glazing re-sealed, or those who are of a ‘handy’ persuasion can give it a go themselves with the help of a few online tutorials.
  • Heat it up
    Don’t be afraid to invest in a heater for the conservatory. Whilst it’s perfectly safe to have a heater in a conservatory, take note; heat escapes fast through the roof. To combat costly fuel bills, ensure the only time the heater is on is when the room is in use.
  • Draw the curtains
    A conservatory is basically three walls of windows – so try dressing them like it. Often, hanging thermal blinds or curtains with a heavy weight can be the cheapest option for keeping a conservatory warm in winter. Draw them to keep heat from the heater and home inside, and open them to make use of the sunshine warming the room. This is an effective technique, and the more you can spend on great quality window dressings the better the insulation will be.
  • Check your glazing
    Single glazed conservatories are a bit like standing outside, but without the rain. Single glazed windows are unbelievably inefficient. If the budget allows, think of replacing the glazing in a conservatory with a more efficient option; such as double or triple glazed or solar controlled glazing which keeps the temperature of a conservatory regulated throughout the year.

Howells Patent Glazing are known for being a forward thinking manufacturing firm, and are regarded by many as one of the UK’s best glazing companies.  We are extremely proud of our reputation and are constantly striving to develop the business further. Giving advice on how to take care of glazing is our specialty, and we hope that in 2017 we will see a new wave of domestic clients that are keen to keep up-to-date on the advances in glazing technology.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on How to keep your conservatory cosy this Christmas; Howells Patent Glazing

The challenges of working on school buildings; Howells Patent Glazing

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we’ve been in the manufacturing business for over 40 years and worked on many building and installation challenges over the years.

We’ve decided to use our experience to take a closer look at what makes working on school and education buildings different to any other contracts, and explain how to overcome some of the more challenging obstacles that contractors may face.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “With so many schools across the country needing desperate repairs to their buildings, there are a lot of opportunities out there for firms like ours. Taking on a school project can be quite unique, especially if you have never worked on one before. We have found that every project has its individual needs, and school and educational buildings are no exception to that rule”.

 

Howells Patent Glazing have worked on numerous school buildings over the years and we believe that, with some careful forward planning, school projects can be the one of the most rewarding contracts to undertake. Here’s our list of the most common challenges when working on a school building:

 

  • Company enhanced DBS clearance – all employees that will be on site will need to have DBS clearance. From the project manager to the installers. Depending on who you intend to use to get your DBS clearance, this can take some time to come back to you, so Howells suggest starting the process of obtaining clearance as soon as possible.
  • Timings – if you are planning a school project, you need to take into account that there will be students everywhere. If you can land a project inside the school holidays, then this issue can be resolved. If not, then this is where a regimented plan proves imperative to the efficiency and success of a project.
  • Deliveries – this is important. When working on a project that takes place outside of the school holidays, deliveries have to be scheduled to arrive outside of peak times when pupils are arriving or leaving school. Congestion around school buildings makes for a challenging approach to the site, and unloading at peak times will flag up some serious safeguarding issues.
  • Age related issues – a lot of old school buildings are fitted with old systems. On their Leeds City College project, Howells Patent Glazing found that the 40 year old glazing system used steel bars, no ventilation, condensation and dangerous single glazed panels. These can be tricky to remove, and dispose of, without causing damage to the surrounding areas.
  • The Big ‘A’ – asbestos. Asbestos still presides in most UK buildings built before the year 2000, and one of the most common problems that Howells Patent Glazing have faced is the fact that they were unable to remove the asbestos. Howells now has the certification to remove asbestos, but they urge any contractor to bear this in mind before taking on any project on an older building.

Howells Patent Glazing’s experience in the glazing manufacture industry has seen us take on numerous school projects over the years, but we don’t just contract to schools. Our portfolio also includes working on other public sector buildings including nursing homes and hospitals as well as commercial property, retail, leisure and private homes. Our product range features bespoke rooflights, mono, gable ended and hip lanterns, frameless flat lights, north lights and much more.

Since 2014, Howells Patent Glazing, based in Birmingham, have experienced rapid growth with record sales and turnover increasing year on year. The increase in demand for Howells’s products and expertise is believed to be because of increased investment in some of the UK’s biggest cities, and their most recent contracts prove that to be true.

 

For more information on Howells Patent Glazing, visit www.howellsglazing.co.uk

Posted in General News | Comments Off on The challenges of working on school buildings; Howells Patent Glazing

Structural Glazing

Structural glazing systems can provide striking store front appearances, giving architects and designers the opportunity to offer unique uninterrupted glass structures without any visible framing, giving retailers maximum visual potential.

Frameless facades can be achieved by incorporating a combination of stainless steel fittings and structural glass support fins.  These facades can be created using single toughened glass, toughened laminated or double glazed units

structural glazing

Structural glass systems can provide striking store front appearances, giving architects and designers the opportunity to offer unique uninterrupted glass structures without any visible framing, giving retailers maximum visual potential.

Frameless facades can be achieved by incorporating a combination of stainless steel fittings and structural glass support fins.  These facades can be created using single toughened glass, toughened laminated or double glazed units.

Structural glazing systems, in their simplest form, are types of curtain wall systems consisting of glass that is bonded or anchored back to a structure without the use of continuously gasketed aluminum pressure plates or caps. The glass can be comprised of monolithic, laminated, dual-glazed or even triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs). The back-up structure may use horizontal and/or vertical aluminium mullions or be a glass mullion, steel blade, cable or stainless steel rod. The interior and exterior may use extruded silicone/EPDM gaskets, or a wet sealed silicone depending on the system. This system creates a completely clean, flush exterior appearance while the interior members have many different options depending on design and budget.

So why would you want to go with a structural glazing system? Structurally glazed systems create a greater transparency than traditional captured systems. There are less visual interruptions due to the lack of metal on the exterior (and potentially the interior), creating a seamless, continuous glass look. Traditional captured curtain wall systems have pressure plates and caps that can conduct large amounts of heat in or out of the façade depending on the season. Since there is little to no exposed exterior metal, there is also less thermal bridging with structural glazing, saving on energy consumption costs. Now, let’s take a look at some of the different types of structural glazing systems in the market today.

Cool Structural Glazed Buildings

Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi

Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raddison Blu Hotel , Birmingham

Raddison Blu Hotel , Birmingham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gherkin

thegerkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shard , London

shard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millennium Point Birmingham

 

Q-Millenium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howells Patent Glazing have carried out works at the prestigious Millennium Point in Birmingham installing 5000 square metres of coloured U profiled glazing.

 

Posted in Patent Glazing, Structural Glazing | Comments Off on Structural Glazing

Lead Generation…It’s a Numbers Game

How do you find new leads in the construction industry? Is there a way to accurately source new projects that are relevant to your specialty with enough information to put you in with a chance of winning that contract? Many companies and local authorities advertise jobs on procurement websites but that means spending hours creating accounts to cover each sector / local authority then going through all the results never mind trying to keep track of all the passwords / user IDs etc. To combat that headache, there are a few lead providers on the market where you can buy relevant leads in areas that work for you; Glenigans and Barbour ABI to name a couple who source local authority plus commercial construction projects. Sounds perfect; pay a small fee and have thousands of construction leads wing their way to your computer screen. Leads are then easy to sort, filter, analyse and there are teams of people there to assist with any queries you may have. Are these leads enough to bring your product to market? Can you rely solely on this information to drum up new business?

Lead generation market leaders

If you are not familiar with lead providers these are simply companies who source information from planning departments on upcoming / proposed construction projects and make the information available to people like you and me for a monthly fee. There are literally thousands of new construction leads sourced and forwarded on a daily basis. Once these leads land at your door, you can do with them as you like; call them, email them, track companies that regularly seek your kind of product. Sounds perfect and can save hundreds of man hours trying to source these yourself, but does it work?

Buying your lead pitfalls

There are of course a few pitfalls to using these lead providers. Firstly, they concentrate on large projects over a certain value. Typically only projects over £250K are researched. Other projects that fall below this value are found and listed, but no follow-up / in-depth information is communicated. For a small to medium enterprise, this can mean that the majority of leads with meaningful information cannot be applied for direct but rather watched until a main contractor is awarded and try and secure a subcontract opportunity from them.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the information sourced is all in the public domain, therefore, whether it is found through a lead provider or someone trawling through planning consent data, the likelihood is that the person listed in the contact details will have been approached by numerous other companies trying to sell their product. It certainly is not unusual to find yourself speaking to someone who has grown tired of being ‘cold called’ by eager sales and marketing people trying to get a foot in the door.

Ensuring Quality Leads

Quality of leads is crucial when relying on lead generation information. From personal experience, there were issues with  the main companies and the information they published. There were occasions where companies were listed as being awarded a specific contract when in fact they were merely listed on a framework agreement and had no idea whether they themselves would get the job.

Other issues included jobs being advertised as current but had been completed years before, or the value of the work being inaccurate.

Being efficient

There is no doubt however that using a lead provider is a more time efficient way of finding potential new contracts. Having used lead providers for some time, there is a regular stream of enquiries received because of purchased leads but experience has taught us that timing is very important when approaching new contacts from purchased leads. Our speciality is roof glazing, therefore we need to target contracts towards the end of their construction as the roof will go on last. By targeting new projects just after planning consent is granted or at tender stage, it could be that our name gets lost in a large pile of potential suppliers. However, if we contact the contractor just a few months before the forecast completion date we stand more of a chance of remaining top-of-mind and securing the business.

Other sources for gaining business

One thing does remain clear, using a lead provider alone will not secure your success. This needs to be something in your toolbox but not your sole supply of new business. Networking events, nurturing existing customers, maintaining a good reputation for word-of-mouth recommendations are all essential but don’t take our word for it. Why not sign up for a free trial? There are numerous suppliers out there such as Glenigans, In-tend and Barbour ABI. Construction Line can be used to put buyers in touch with suppliers and can also save your company valuable time when completing PQQ documents. Also remember that there are other completely free procurement websites that are useful for local authority or government funded procurement;

https://www.publictendersscotland.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/esop/pts-host/public/pts/web/login.html

http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/

https://www.sell2wales.gov.uk

https://etendering.ted.europa.eu

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

 

 

 

 

Posted in Leads and business generation | Comments Off on Lead Generation…It’s a Numbers Game