Total Installer recently spent time with the Made for Trade team at its new Wynyard HQ in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, to discuss the Korniche brand and hear how bold business decisions and keeping design and innovation central to the business’s core values has seen the company go from strength-to-strength.
There’s an awful lot to like and see on a tour of Made for Trade’s stunning 210,000ft2 Wynyard HQ; the modern showroom showcasing its Korniche brand products; break-out areas and café-style canteens that wouldn’t be out of place at a tech giant’s HQ; a fully furnished gym with changing and shower facilities to keep staff active and help attract new workers in the area; but one thing that really stands out and sets Made for Trade apart from most other ‘fenestration’ businesses is the number of product engineers and designers within the offices – there’s a lot more of them!
It’s a point that was picked up by Commercial Director Andy Jones, a recent addition to the Made for Trade management team, soon after his arrival. On our tour Andy explained: “The thing I noticed very quickly is the number of engineering staff is different to the sector – it’s testament to the importance of engineering and product development to the business.”
As with most trends in companies, this engineering focus comes from the top at Made for Trade. Chairman Richard Gaunt explained: “The heart and soul of the company is engineering. Everything we have done and are going to do in the future is to be that one step ahead. We’re not just copying what someone else has done, we’re trying to better it.”
And he’s put a management team in place to ensure this aspiration is realised. Managing Director Bradley Gaunt , Technical/Engineering Director Ashley Gaunt and Operations Director Chris Wann, all have engineering backgrounds, bringing experience from various sectors into the business.
Doing things differently
It’s a different way of doing things, but the management team at Made for Trade aren’t concerned about doing things differently or making bold decisions. It’s quite the opposite really; the company has changed and developed its areas of focus to get to where it is today, notably taking the decision to close the domestic sales and installations side of the company to focus solely on the trade in 2016. Richard explained: “We realised we were doing too many things. You can’t really concentrate and have all these plates spinning – you need to make sure one doesn’t fall off.”
But 2016 was a key year for Made for Trade and marked the year the business growth really started to accelerate, prompted in no small part by the launch of the Korniche Aluminium Roof Lantern, which really took hold the following year.
The Korniche Roof Lantern embodies everything that Bradley, Ashley and the team at Made for Trade want to put out into the market – it’s engineered and developed specifically with the trade and installer in mind. It’s quick to install and arrives as a kit with full, easy to follow instructions for the installer, reducing the potential for delays on projects.
With no cutting or silicone required within the roof structure, Made for Trade says the Korniche is the go-to lantern, offering plenty of margin for the installer and a stunning product for the homeowner.
Whilst words are one thing, Made for Trade were willing to showcase the ease of installation and put their mantra of ‘Glazed in seconds, fitted in minutes’ to the test at the FIT Show, inviting installers to have go and see for themselves against the clock!
Korniche Bi-folding door
With the Korniche Roof Lantern going down a storm with installers and homeowners – it’s believed to account for over 50% of the lantern market – the team at Made for Trade were in no mood to stand still, and despite already offering the Smarts Viso-fold door and introducing the Visoglide Plus door in 2021, the team launched the eagerly anticipated Korniche Bi-folding door that year also.
As you’d expect, the Korniche Bi-folding door boasts a number of innovations to make life easier for the installer, whilst also ensuring a better product for the homeowner to live with. Security is one area where the Korniche Bi-fold excels, with clever details including a unique new shoot bolt handle with an anti-back drive element. As a result, even if left unlocked a forced entry attempt can’t rotate the handle to open the door – the team say this kind of reliable, robust touch will sit at the forefront of fenestration security in 2022.
Other innovative design touches include sealed bearings in the stainless-steel wheels, and lateral rollers residing in a unique pivoting axle that allows the wheels to follow any misalignment in the stainless-steel tracks underneath. The team say the doors have been rigorously tested to glide effortlessly with class-leading smoothness for years to come.
Making life easier for the installer, Korniche Bi-folds also feature a ‘world first’ – a unique and patented clip-in internal glazing bead which the team say will be the standard by which all other systems are judged. As another industry first for Made for Trade, the mechanism uses an outer section of traditional powder coated aluminium to match the surrounding sash, yet with the high tolerance to work as the clip-in bead element. Thanks to the high precision materials and manufacturing tolerances with no wedge gasket used, the result is that beading time for the installer can be reduced to a matter of seconds per sash.
Furthermore, a unique deglazing tool is supplied with each kit that engages down the glass line to remove beads quickly and easily in a couple of seconds, enabling glass to be removed without risk of damage to the powder coating finish of the bead or sash.
With these two fantastic products available under the Korniche banner, coupled with the recent official rebrand and continual focus on product development and innovation within the company, the question has to be what’s next?
Whilst letting on the company is looking into supplying glass and taking control of their transportation and delivery – two massive undertakings – the team also announced they have two new products at “FEED” (Front End Engineering Design) stage, but they’re keeping tight-lipped on what they might be! One thing you can be sure of though is they will be ‘disruptor’ products, offering key benefits for both the installer and the end user. As Chris Wann explained: “We intend to develop the best products, provide the best service at the best price. The best products don’t necessarily mean the ‘Rolls Royce’ of everything, it means the best products for our customers, and I like to think we’ll continue to do that.”
And that’s the key – offering solutions that make installers’ lives easier and perform well for customers. It sounds so simple, but it’s what’s seen Made for Trade grow from a company with 73 staff and £8.3m turnover in 2016, to a team of 275+ staff with an expected turnover of between £45-£50m turnover this year – so watch this space!