How to avoid having to be a psychic credit controller

How do credit controllers keep things running?  How do they control the risk to the company?


quarter one insolovency for uk


Companies ceasing trading

With new government statics in for the first quarter of 2016 the trend for companies ceasing trading does not seem to abating.  Government figures show 3,694 companies entered insolvency in the first three months of the year, 3.6pc lower than in the same period during 2015.



new companies

Companies starting up

Couple that with new company start ups, there are well known statistics that show that at least half of all start up businesses fail within their first 5 years, this coupled with the fact that some of these now also restart new companies, sometimes pre-empting the fail of the currently trading company and this compounds the job of the credit controller.



Controlling the risk

Trying to control the exposure and risk of a company these days falls onto the already stressed accounts department of the company.  It seems that the credit controller now also needs to be a psychic and have abilities of fortune telling!


Cash flow forecasts demand that the credit controller be ahead of the game where finance is concerned and at the tip of their fingers know what cash is due in at any point.  If they only had to deal with expected payment dates as agreed on contract starts, that would be easy, however they are constantly now playing catch up with customers finding more and more convoluted ways of avoiding payments.

Mitigating the challenge

There are several ways of mitigating the challenge of non and defaulting payments, firstly, the most important of all, for cash sale customers/non account customers ask for a deposit with order as this will cover the basic expenses outlay and then insist on full payment before or on delivery of cleared funds.  Cleared funds are very important, as some payment options require 3 to 5 days to get through the banking system.  If a customer wants to pay on the day, cash or fast payment into the bank or credit card are  the only options that should be considered.  If there is time, the BACS/CHAPS or cheques can be considered.

Credit card payments need thought as if a deposit is taken by card and then another payment type is received for the balance, should the customer complain or reject the goods upto 6 months after delivery, they can have a FULL refund from the credit card company.  This is given to them first on complaint and then you have to fight to overturn the decision.

Customers and credit accounts

For customer having or wanting credit accounts, there are a few rules that must be followed.  Never overextend the company by offering credit to any one customer that is more than 20% of your overall yearly sales.  If this customer should default in payment for any reason, the impact on your business would be catastrophic.  Next, you must credit check every customer to determine the credit worthiness of their company.  Never extend more credit than it says on the report and never more than you can afford to lose, should the worst happen, but these will need to be monitored regularly as things can change on a day to day basis.  If you have enough in your budget to allow, having debt insurance is definitely the way to go.  This works on a company to company basis (not private indivuals) and the insurance company not only monitor the risk of the company for you, but they also step in to chase doubtful debts and best of all – pay out when the company defaults!

Check our our website here



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Funding help for construction projects

Funding asssistance

Construction right on your doorstep

So, you may be thinking, “Why does this matter to me?” Well, because the funding has been increased by £62B, including a £15b increase for the education sector. This matters to us because here at Howells glazing, especially this year we have dealt with a lot of School projects.



Our most recent projects include manufacturing 2 canopies for the client Neville Special Projects for Biggleswade Academy, a lantern roof light for the client Sewell Construction for Leeds University of Fine Art and a glazed canopy for the client HOC UK Ltd for St Marys Magdalene Academy.


There’s also great news if you’re a SME just like us. Small Medium Enterprises can access local funding to invest in their company. After researching into this there are two main ones for Dudley Council. The first one is called the Mezzanine Loan Fund which has £56m to invest. SME’s can have up to £2m invested into their company. The great thing is, this is only available to SME’s in the West Midlands. To gather more information, contact Finance Birmingham on 01212334903.


The second source is the Black Country Reinvestment Society Loan which will invest between £10k – £100k to business’ of up to 250 employees and a turnover not exceeding £5m per year. Brilliant for SME’s. To gather more information, contact BCRS on 08453138410.



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Sheffield Cathedral Regeneration

Sheffield Cathedral Regeneration Blog

As visitors to Sheffield will know there is an  impressive Cathedral.  It is a Grade 1 Listed Building located in the centre of Sheffield and it is without doubt the most impressive building in the whole city.


Like many churches it has stories to tell.  William de Lovelet built the first church on this site and established the township of Sheffield through to the newly refurbished and welcoming building it is today. Howells Glazing were lucky enough to install one of our Hexagonal rooflights pictured below.


 Pictures: Sheffield Cathedral Regeneration 

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Many events are held in the cathedral one of which was a – Royal Party

On 11th June Saturday the cathedral marked the Queen’s 90th birthday with a special celebration.

A ‘Kings and Queens’ banquet was held for 90 people over 70 years of age who had been nominated by members of the community to honour the contribution they have made in the community over many years.

The banquet  included music from a Piano Trio and a Gospel choir and each

The banquet will include music from a Piano Trio and a Gospel choir and each person  received a rose as a sign of God’s love for them. Guests will also received a complementary booklet entitled The Servant Queen And The King She Serves.


Sheffield Redevelopment


Within the city centre is an area of important buildings including Sheffield Town Hall, City Hall, Crucible Theatre and the Winter Garden, high quality public spaces including the Peace Gardens, Barkers Pool and Tudor Square, and commercial and shopping activity.

It also includes other new developments such as the 4-star St Paul’s hotel, new offices and the Millennium Square. This is known as the Heart of the City.

The Gold Route

This is a complex group of projects, providing a high quality environment for public places and spaces in the city centre. The Gold Route runs from the railway station to the University of Sheffield.

The journey from Sheffield Station to Devonshire Green via the Heart of the City (updated January 2011)


The Steel Route

This is a major proposal of the City Centre Master Plan which seeks to create a high quality, pedestrian friendly route from Moorfoot in the south to Castlegate and Victoria Quays in the north. It will complement the Gold Route and will be built to a similar high standard.

Upper Don Valley

This is the area from Rutland Road to Hillsborough to the north-west of the City Centre and includes Penistone Road, north Neepsend and the Claywheels Lane area.

Lower Don Valley

This is the area from Lady’s Bridge to Tinsley, including Darnall, Attercliffe and areas along the Sheffield and Rotherham boundary. We are working closely with colleagues in Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, recognising the similarity in landscape and the common opportunities and issues that exist in the neighbourin

Sheffield Regeneration

We are working to support the regeneration of our great city, by developing its public spaces, supporting our local neighbourhoods and making them great places to live, support the generation of investment through business and help protect and enhance our green environments in Sheffield.


  • thePorter Brook, theRivelin and the Sheaf. 61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space Sheffield is well known for its steel production.  Due to steel production the population increased tenfold but sadly due to international completion in iron and steel there was a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of mining in the area.
  • The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield along with other British cities. Sheffield’s gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £9.2 billion in 2007. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.[5]



The city is in the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley,, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.[6] There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city,[6] and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.[6] The city has a long sporting heritage, and is home to the world’s oldest football club.[7]













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Brexit and the Construction Industry

How does Brexit affect the construction industry?

Before the EU Referendum, the business of construction was a good industry to get into because of the excitement and they pay! Now that Britain have left the EU what does this mean for the people who are currently in the construction industry because they have relied on the EU for their businesses.

A survey carried out by Smith and Williamson has “found that only 15% of construction executives favoured a UK exit from the EU”. This survey has showed that most of the construction industry need the EU to make their business successful and the EU is their main way of making good money.

Skilled Foreign Workers

It’s not just the companies that are in trouble, it is also the people who actually work there. They are now unemployed and have no way of using their skills in a job that they loved, but this also means that jobs will not happen as quickly because of the shortage of skilled workers. However, this is in some way good for employers because if they already have the skilled workers can increase overall annual profits.

Import and Export of Construction Materials
You do not need to be in the Construction industry to realise that the Britain as a company rely heavily on the EU for their Materials and their trade. Now we have left the EU, we can all believe that our trade to the EU will decrease, so we have to find a new way of making materials or find a new country that will be willing to trade with the UK, so that we can continue building new things.


It may not be all bad though because now not as many people from the EU will come to England to seek work due to Brexit. This will increase the population of the EU and would therefore need to start trading with the UK to supply for all their population which will give the UK more money. Also if company owners will not need to pay as much into wages for their staff because there will be less people looking for jobs so this overall will increase annual profits. A survey carried out by shows wages for bricklayers working in London have hit £25 an hour due to the current skills shortage, and before the referendum analysts predicted wages would rise further if Britain voted to leave, so we can see that if we leave the EU, it would not be that bad for us and would affect the EU more.


Survey by Smith and Williamson –

Survey for builder’s wages –


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Howells Patent Glazing collaborates with Pilkington United Kingdom Limited

Our West Midlands manufacturing firm, Howells Patent Glazing, are pleased to announce our collaboration with Pilkington United Kingdom Limited to offer their new solar control product, Pilkington Suncool One 60/40 to our customers!

Howells Patent Glazing collaborate with Pilkington UK Ltd to offer new product to clients

Howells Patent Glazing collaborate with Pilkington UK Ltd to offer new Suncool product to customers.

As the latest addition to the Pilkington Suncool Range, Pilkington Suncool One 60/40 is an off-line coated mid-range solar control product with a thermal insulation U-value of 1.0 W/m2K. It has been designed for use in commercial and high-end residential settings, to reflect heat back into the property and improve thermal efficiency. With the benefit of medium solar control helping to keep the building cooler in the summer, a comfortable indoor temperature is maintained all year round.

Gary Howells, sales director here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We have been using products from the Pilkington product portfolio for over 30 years now for many reasons; they have a quality product, they always meet our time sensitive delivery dates, and have a fantastic back up customer service. We were really excited when they brought out the new Pilkington Suncool glass, as this was something we knew a lot of our customers have been calling out for – solar controlled glass, that lets in the maximum amount of light possible. With a lot of other solar controlled glass, the tint needed on the glass interrupts the amount of natural light entering through the glazing into the building. The new Pilkington Suncool glass resolves this problem, and we are excited to be able to offer it to our customers”.

As the entry level product to the full range, Pilkington Suncool One combines excellent low-e properties with medium solar control performance. This makes it the ideal solution for smaller commercial projects, or those with flexible specification requirements, as well as in premium residential properties.

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we are known for being a forward thinking manufacturing firm and are regarded by many as one of the UK’s best glazing companies in the industry.  We are extremely proud of our reputation and are constantly striving to develop the business further, pushing for another record year, for the 3rd year in a row.

The full Pilkington Suncool™ range is designed to help to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions of a building the whole year round.

To find out more about Howells Patent Glazing, and how we can help you, visit our homepage at

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Glazing UK; Howells Patent Glazing’s focus is on employees

Undertaking workplace NVQ’s are an important part of addressing the UK skills shortage, and it’s something that our Midlands based manufacturing firm, Howells Patent Glazing, have introduced to the entire workforce this year. Glazing UK; It’s more than just windows…

According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, whilst employment levels have increased, there is mounting evidence of stalling productivity growth that could hinder the current economic recovery as employers are unable to optimise their performance. The need to address structural skills and employment challenges, particularly in youth employment, is also something that the UKCES flagged up.

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, a family run business, we are dedicating 2016 to improving the skills of our whole team, including management level employees, to help address the UK skills shortage. Ensuring that the team is fully qualified means a lot to us, and at Howells we believe that our continued success is down to our commitment to the welfare and constant improvement of our dedicated staff.

Image L-R: Debbie Willetts, Company Secretary Howells Patent Glazing, Kurt Jacobs (Midlands Business Insider) and Tracey Jackson, Marketing Manager Howells Patent Glazing

Debbie Willetts, company secretary at Howells Patent Glazing said, “As a member of the team who is undertaking our new training programme, as well as organising it, I can honestly say that I am extremely proud of everyone’s progress here. Our staff have welcomed the new training courses and I have had the pleasure of seeing them all flourish and their confidence grow as a result.  I understand, first hand, that it is a very big step to start a new learning journey, especially having left education many years ago. I have recently started a coaching and mentoring course in addition to my Leadership and management NVQ to help support our team”.

Currently focusing on staff on the production line, from operatives through to management level, here at Howells Patent Glazing we have taken our staff from Functional Skills Level 2 all the way through to Level 2 NVQ Diploma’s in Business Improvement Techniques. We believe that there is still a desire for people to gain valuable skills and join manufacturing firms like ours. Whether it be steel manufacturing, gates, or glazing UK, there’s an industry out there that needs to continue to train it’s employees. Glazing UK homes, businesses and providing outstanding solutions to architects and developers is our passion, and our team are a huge part of it.

For more information on us, visit our homepage here for glazing UK >

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Extending your living space, without compromising your existing home or garden?

You want to extend your living space, but do not want compromise the available space in your existing home or garden?


Sound familiar?  Add in the budget scenario and you have a potential recipe for disaster…


What if there was a solution that offered you the potential to do all these things but also offer a flexible approach to internal or external living space?

marketing photo 3 Greenways (5) Greenways (4) NATURAL STRUCTURES-PIC5

We have been making canopies for years and they have proved to be very successful not only in private homes, but also in commercial applications.  The exciting change comes from the ability to offer a stand alone self supported canopy that stretches out from the rear wall of your home, but then with an addition of bi folding doors to one or two of the sides weather proof them.


This makes the best of both worlds!  You can have alfresco dining OR an enclosed weather proof space in one installation.    2 for the price of 1.


Who doesn’t like a great deal

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Window Cleaning Tips

When I’m cleanin’ Windows….


So, what’s your favourite hobby? I’m a fan of extreme window cleaning myself…..


0000 window cleaning



Image from

Some people go to extreme lengths to make sure their windows are clean. If extreme window cleaning isn’t your thing, how about some old fashioned window cleaning tips? Am I the only one whose mum would clean the inside of the windows with vinegar and newspaper? They might have had a Mr Muscle sparkle but the house smelled like a chip shop. A more practical glass cleaning tip is to clean one side top-to-bottom and the other side side-to-side; that way if you have any smudges you’ll know which side it’s on.

Luckily with our roof glazing you can opt for self-cleaning glass. Sound like witchcraft? It’s not, and here’s the science bit…..


00000 glass picture for blog


The Pilkington Activ™ Range: A Two Step Cleaning Process

After years of development, Pilkington Activ™ is the world’s first self-cleaning glass to use a microscopic coating with a unique dual-action.

The first stage of the cleaning process is “photocatalytic“. In this stage the coating reacts with daylight to break down organic dirt.

The second stage is “hydrophilic“. Here, instead of forming droplets, rainwater hits the glass and spreads evenly, running off in a “sheet” and taking the loosened dirt with it, also drying quickly without leaving streaks.

If the thought of spending endless hours cleaning windows puts you off building a new conservatory or installing skylights then self-cleaning glass is precisely what you need. View this demonstration video to gain a better understanding of how self-cleaning glass works with the forces of nature to keep your glass cleaner.

Reference; Pilkington;


So don’t be put off having a rooflight, orangery or conservatory roof fitted. Speak to our estimators about the benefits of self-cleaning glass. And don’t balance on the side of a building to clean your windows. It probably won’t end well.


Contact us on:  01384 820060

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Bespoke rooflights off the shelf

Known for being a company who never stand still, the team at our family run Midlands based manufacturing firm, Howells Patent Glazing, are pushing for a record year for the 3rd year in a row. We hope that our latest product launch, a new stock roof sized roof light, will contribute to sales growth and the firm’s biggest year for turnover yet.


Our new slim line roof light bar, which offers thermal efficiency, is a great way to harness the liberating power of glass, bringing light and space into any environment without compromising on style and design. The bar was developed by the Director of Howells Patent Glazing, Gary Howells, and the process involved using innovative design technologies, structural engineers and several trial makes.

Tracey Jackson, Marketing Manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We seemed to be having a lot of requests for bespoke roof lights, in similar sizes, where the builder had flexibility in the actual finished size.  These all seemed to be unvented and in standard colours of white /grey, single or dual colours.  We developed the slim line roof light bar to cater for this demand from builders and have recently launched our new roof lights to market with great success.  Our new slim line roof light has all the aesthetics of our original standard design, but is lighter as it uses a slimmer bar, which in itself gives improved light”.

The sales team here at Howells Patent Glazing believe that our latest product has proved to be a great option to those with tight turnarounds, but still requiring a ‘made to order’ product.  Aesthetically, it is similar to our firms bespoke range, but as it is ready built in more popular sizes and thus cuts down on the manufacturing time, but still makes a bespoke rooflight.

Dave Bennett, Sales Director at Howells Patent Glazing said, “Our customers are loving our new product and have been placing a lot of repeat orders since we launched it to market. We carry the stock, so that our customers do not have to”.

Want to know more about our services, glazing options and our new ‘stock-sized’ rooflights? Take a look around our website



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Awards for Staff training in the West Midlands

We  thought it would be nice to publicize the benefits of nurturing people/staff even after formal education has ended.
At Howells Patent Glazing , the family business, we believe in educating our employees and with 22 currently having inhouse NVQ training on different courses ranging from IT level 2 and 3, Improving Operational Performance Apprenticeship Level 2 and 3, Engineering level 3, leadership and management level 2 and 3 and BIT (Business Improvement Technique) NVQ. These are not the only courses we offer to the staff as there are other more specialist bespoke courses too. It just shows that you must never sit still as an organisation
We are so excited that this has been noticed and we have been nominated with 3 others for an award for staff training in the West Midlands, by Made in the Midlands via Insider magazine:
Apprenticeship and Training Award
The Apprenticeship & Training Award recognises the manufacturing business that has done most to further the cause of apprenticeships in the Midlands.
For achievements between March 2015 – April 2016.
This follows our change in direction 3 years ago with our rebranding and development of our core values in Fairness, Making a Difference, Personal Growth, Recognition and Enthusiasm
We restructured and developed a new management team to drive through the changes to each department. and have never looked back.  With the help of the Growth Accellerator (government business development program) and Black Country Growth Hub we have managed to put 50% onto our turnover in the last 3 years.
This success could only be achieved through our commitment to change and the value that we place in our workforce.
made in the midlands
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