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Dan Sullivan talks to GGP magazine about the latest AMA research

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The growth in the UK residential door market as indicated by the latest AMA Research does not come as a surprise to us at all. DOORCO’s own growth certainly reflects these trends – in fact, we’ve just had the best sales month ever – and few can argue that composite doors have been the star of the show.

The report states that “composite doors have continued to take share across all sectors of the external door market” and that “it’s likely that composites will continue to gain share”. This is all great news, but the challenge for suppliers like DOORCO is to continue to innovate to maintain value in the supply chain. As an industry we need to ensure that we don’t allow products to become commoditised while they are still enjoying strong consumer demand. To this end, we have lots of interesting product developments coming out at the end of the year that we believe will further inject growth into the composite doors market.

It is always encouraging when independent research underpins your own view of the market and your company’s own buoyant sales. And in the wake of Brexit uncertainty, it’s also great to see that forecasts are positive, not just for the composite door market that directly affects us, but for the UK building and fenestration market as a whole.  Long may it continue!

Trev hits the road again aid of MADI Fundraising

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DOORCO’s own Dan Sullivan will once again be taking to the road with Guy Hubble, Joint MD of RegaLead. The road trip starts in just one week when they’ll start their adventure to Monte Carlo in the 1991, S3 green TVR affectionately known as Trev to help raise funds for The Anthony Nolan Trust. Good luck to everyone making the trip #MADIBallRally2016

Glass Times magazine spoke to Guy Hubble about the trip

 

What inspired you to join the MADI Ball Rally this year?

We took part last year and it was a fantastic experience – one we’re looking forward to repeating. The TVR – affectionately known as Trevor – didn’t let us down, and it’ll be interesting to see if it can live up to its performance this year.

 

Who is your co-driver and why?

Dan Sullivan will be driving with me again. I said last year that I had chosen to drive with Dan because he would be able to put up with me, and we happily got through the week unscathed! In all seriousness, Dan was great company and I’m pleased he has agreed to be my co-driver again.

 

What are you most looking forward to? 

I’m tentatively looking forward to an incident free journey in which Trevor continues to perform and Dan and I continue not wanting to kill each other! It will be great to see some new faces join the 2016 rally, and enjoy the camaraderie we experienced last year.

 

And finally, what are you expecting in Monte Carlo?

It’s a little difficult to answer this question, as, having been last year, I know what to expect and look forward to in Monte Carlo. What I am expecting from the entire trip, however, is more laughs, more fantastic sights and more funds raised for the brilliant Anthony Nolan Trust.

To support this worthwhile cause, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/madifundraising and help us raise additional sponsorship

 

Open Letter to the Editors on Brexit Impact

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Dear Editor,

Having spent a lot of time since Brexit talking to customers about its possible implications on our supply chain, I’m writing to set out DOORCO’s stance on the development. Fundamentally, I believe no organisation can afford to knee-jerk to the immediate financial situation, so DOORCO will continue to adopt a business as usual approach, while carefully monitoring the next few months to see how things play out.

I’ve explained to customers that the significant stock DOORCO holds right now in the UK and indeed stock currently in transit to us, has not been affected by any price increases. Neither will we see surcharges on the orders we place in the next few weeks because our Korean partners hold significant stock at pre-Brexit prices. So, as things stand we will not be implementing increases. However, we must be realistic and mindful that this situation could well change in coming months. Everything is uncertain at the moment. So many things are up in the air that could directly affect our industry – the position of Sterling, current and future trading agreements, legislative changes including employment and even testing standards and compliance. But equally, things may even out when Article 50 is finally triggered.

The point is nobody knows how things will develop. There’s a great saying here in the North – when in doubt, do nowt. It may sound clichéd, but I believe that’s what every business should be doing at the moment – sitting back, taking a deep breath, monitoring the situation daily and most importantly, maintaining two-way dialogue with customers. This is precisely what DOORCO is doing and will continue to do.

Dan Sullivan, Managing Director, DOORCO

 

Brand new brochure available

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DOORCO has recently invested in a new suite of marketing materials to further make life easier for customers. Amongst these is a brand new brochure, which made its debut at the FIT Show.

The new, 52-page publication details the company’s full range of 34 styles, including traditional designs featuring dual-glazing, arch, top and mid, half glazed and three-quarter glazing, and cottage. Also included is the collection of contemporary doors, with a flush, non-moulded door blank glazed using either the TriSys cassette, or stainless steel Inox frames. The full range of available colours and glass options for both ranges are detailed in the brochure.

Managing Director, Dan Sullivan explains: “Product quality and innovation are key to our operation at DOORCO, and our unique status as global manufacturers allows us to effectively achieve both on behalf of our customers, allowing them access to fast decision-making, and input into product development. The new video details perfectly how this is achieved, demonstrating GRP skin production and door assembly, including trimming, sizing and foam core injection in Korea; and custom sizing, CNC cutting, edging and despatch in the UK – not to mention the customisable add-ons such as glazing and painting of the doors.

“As well as a great way for us to demonstrate how we operate as a manufacturer, the new video is also in line with our rapid growth, and the even greater emphasis we have placed on our marketing and promotional activities in light of this. We invested in our bright, modern and user intuitive website last year, including an online ordering system which customers tell us is the best on the market, and this has worked in parallel with a greater social media presence. We also have a brand new brochure available, which made its debut at the FIT Show, and the video fits nicely into this new suite of marketing material, which customers are able access in turn, to help them sell.”

Meet the manufacturers yourself and take a look at the new video on DOORCO’s YouTube channel DOORCO Ltd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFMu0QC6S7E

 

 

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Saw and order with DOORCO

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Just months after the move into much larger premises,  DOORCO has made further investments to improve efficiency, with the purchase of a new beam saw.

The £150,000 investment allows the company to increase volumes and reduce lead times for prepped door customers, as Managing Director, Dan Sullivan explains: “In a competitive sector such as the composite door market it is vital that we continue to stay ahead of the game, not just from a business point of view, but in order to allow our customers to do the same. We pride ourselves on the innovative and quality products we produce as a manufacturer, but the service we provide to our customers is also of paramount importance. We are very pleased, therefore to add the new beam saw to our facility in order to further streamline our processes on their behalf.

“The saw allows us to significantly reduce the time it takes to size the doors, bringing each individual process down from two minutes to 20 seconds. This, in turn, will increase our capacity from 1,700 to 3,500 prepped doors per month. The investment not only demonstrates our commitment to the prepping side of our business, but also provides customers with the benefit of increased volumes and potentially lower lead times on their orders. The saw will be installed and fully operational from the beginning of August, and we have further investments and improvements in the pipeline for the rest of the year.”

Dan Sullivan Responds to Brexit

_DSC0279I guess the first thing I’d say is the total shock that greeted us the morning after the polls when the reality dawned that albeit it close-run, the UK had actually voted to leave the EU. The instant reaction was blind panic to find ourselves in this unprecedented situation, a reaction that has been since reinforced by the subsequent political and financial market turmoil. So many things are up in the air that could directly affect our industry – the position of Sterling, current and future trading agreements, legislative changes including employment and even testing standards and compliance.

“As an independently run UK business and one that has unique manufacturing relationships with foreign suppliers, the team here at DOORCO has taken some deep breaths since Friday. We’ve tried to realistically look at the implications of Brexit for our own business and of course for our customers. And in the cold light of day, we’re getting to grips with the immediate fear of the unknown. In reality, many things have not and will not change. We still have a great product, a team of highly skilled experienced door professionals committed to the cause, and overseas suppliers who remain completely reliant on us to sell their products in the UK. Unlike Government, we can’t quit when we disagree with a majority decision, no matter how slim the margins.

“Medium term, we will hold our nerve and position. No business can afford to knee-jerk to the immediate financial situation. We have to monitor over the next few months to see how things play out. But ultimately, in the long term, people will still need doors, and like any business that survived one of the longest recessions in decades, DOORCO has proven that we can continue to grow and prosper, with careful management and positive attitude, regardless of the political or economic climate.”

DOORCO launches corporate video

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Fast growing composite door manufacturer, DOORCO has launched a new corporate video, allowing customers and prospective customers the opportunity to see for themselves the manufacturing process which takes place behind the scenes, both at DOORCO UK and Korea, to produce the innovative designs that are delivered to their door.

Managing Director, Dan Sullivan explains: “Product quality and innovation are key to our fully automated operation at DOORCO, and our unique status as global manufacturers allows us to effectively achieve both on behalf of our customers, allowing them access to fast decision-making, and input into product development. The new video details perfectly how this is achieved, demonstrating GRP skin production and door assembly, including trimming, sizing and foam core injection in Korea; and custom sizing, CNC cutting, edging and despatch in the UK – not to mention the add-ons such as glazing and painting of the doors, which can be customised.

“As well as a great way for key customers to see for themselves how we operate as a manufacturer, the video also supports the greater emphasis we have placed on our marketing and promotional activities. We invested last year in refreshing our website to produce the bright, modern and user intuitive site you see today, in parallel with a greater social media presence, and the future will see continued investment across all areas of the business. These include further developments to the website and improvements to our already impressive online ordering system; and on a physical level, further improvements to the shop floor.

“We also have an extensive suite of marketing support available, including a new, high quality brochure, colour swatches, and a full bank of quality images which customers can access for their own marketing. The video fits nicely into our collection of marketing collateral, and we have had some great feedback on it so far.”

Meet the manufacturers yourself and take a look at the new video on DOORCO’s YouTube channel, DOORCO Ltd.

Seamless service, from manufacture to delivery

Doorco Glass News Apr 16

In an exclusive interview, Glass News’ Editor, Chris Champion, talks with DOORCO’s Dan Sullivan, CEO of DOORCO UK, and Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha, President and CEO of DOORCO Korea, at their stateof-the-art GRP composite door manufacturing facility in South Korea.

GN: Dan, you are either an avid collector of air miles or have a ridiculous penchant for Korean Barbeques! In the last three years you have visited Korea literally hundreds of times and, often, week on week. Can we talk about how, and why, it was necessary for you to invest in building your own GRP composite door factory?

Dan Sullivan: I do have a lot of air miles! My visits to Korea go back to around 2007 when I kept visiting Capstone to try and persuade them to provide me with a UK specification GRP doors. It was a long process and a matter of being both patient and persistent. Finally, when Mr Yoonshin Cha, the Vice President of Production for Capstone, was able to see me, I persuaded him to come to the UK and see the opportunity that existed. He recognised the opportunity: and the relationship between DOORCO and Capstone started. At that time it made sense to use the Capstone name to market their doors in the UK, as opposed to DOORCO.

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: I should mention that when I finally met with Dan, after about 18 months of his visiting Capstone, I was surprised to know that most of my management and workers already knew him from all his visits to the factory!

GN: Tony, can you explain the fact that you have partnered with Dan and now own DOORCO Korea?

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008, and the economic downturn that followed, meant that Capstone’s main market in the US was hit, severely. Rationalisation programmes were being talked about and the need for the Korean factory to find other markets while maintaining manufacture in China, concentrating on US specification doors. Having been responsible for building and developing both the Korean and China plants, I felt it was time for me to leave Capstone.

Dan Sullivan: Meanwhile, I recognised that the composite door, generally, would come under more scrutiny as sales grew in the UK. I always thought the specification and quality of the door would need improving, plus we needed a factory focused on UK products and designs. All the other available suppliers were focused on other markets, mostly the USA, so the desire was to build a factory designed for UK demands, and have control of the supply chain. Tony and I had formed a close friendship during the years we worked together and I kept in touch with him after he had left Capstone and I floated the idea of setting up our own manufacturing facility.

GN: That must have been a huge decision – being prepared to move from a vast company like Capstone, part of the Trinity Glass empire, to making your own doors. How could you expect to achieve that successfully?

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: Having read Mechanical Engineering at University I went to the US to Graduate School and then joined LG selling injection moulding machines. I did this as a Sales Manager throughout the USA, Australia, India and South Africa for around 7 years. I then joined Trinity Glass as a Project Manager based in Seattle and, when Trinity, who were supplying Home Depot in the US with glass, was asked to takeover being the supplier of GRP composite doors if they could guarantee to have prototypes within 6 months, I was charged with setting up the Korean factory. Within the 6 months we were producing 1,500 doors per week and I was then asked to set up a factory in China with 20 presses producing 3,000 doors per week.

Dan Sullivan: With Tony’s experience of production and with Hyun Sik on board, a chemist and expert in Sheet Mould Compound who worked for both Sungil and Capstone in GRP production for 15 years, we had a team capable of producing very high quality product.

GN: There was still the problem of finding or building a facility…

Dan Sullivan: As you know, the factory is 2 hours south of Seoul. The reason for this is that we found a GRP factory that was producing roof vents and the owner, Mr Kim, was wanting to retire. This gave us an experienced work force used to working in GRP and, while Mr Kim’s business was purely for the domestic market, DOORCO Korea was going to be purely export – something that the Korean Development Board were very keen on. When we explained that in the first week of manufacture we would be exporting 10 containers, we had tremendous help with the planning and building issues!

GN: However, this is not any ordinary GRP factory. It’s highly automated and with the capability to supply the whole of the GRP composite door market in the UK…

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: We have the capacity to make 900 door blanks per day, currently, and have the space to extend our lines as required. Technology has moved on such that modern 1000 tonne presses take up much less room and we already have seven. We have taken out as much hand operation as possible to give consistency to production. The gluing line is automated and, as you’ve seen, the foaming and trimming line is also fully automated with just one operative required to oversee foaming.

GN: That’s true. But as the door blanks come off the line, you have seven people at that station…

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: Quality Assurance is key to our manufacture and those people aren’t just putting protective coverings on the doors….this is the final check before despatch. Of the 100 staff, 35% are employed on quality checking throughout the process and this is key. As Dan says, once he’s sold a door, he doesn’t want to see it again!

GN: Everything you do is very detailed. I’ve noticed how precise each operation is and how clean everything is kept and even the quality of the components…

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: It is imperative that our quality is maintained. We are very experienced in door production and source the highest quality materials. We pride ourselves that the polymer rails have the densest PVC content on the market such that if someone chooses not to edgeband the door, the finish is still smooth. Our finger jointed hardwood is specially sourced and is an integral part of the construction, not simply timber offcuts. The GRP skins are of a thickness that every door blank that leaves the factory is capable of achieving Secured By Design. Importantly, the door specification does not change. That is essential for Dan when he is supplying to his customers in the UK.

GN: There are specific things that I have noticed such as air temperature control prior to foaming, painting of the skins prior to door construction, and even specific technology to ensure both foam and paint adhesion to the skins…

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: Both Hyun and I have experienced manufacture with different companies and we are fully prepared to research other industries to keep pace with the development of technologies. In the case of painting the skins, you have seen the two paint lines and the care that is taken. The aim is to produce perfectly painted skins and we would rather reject a skin than a whole door, hence painting the skin first.

GN: It is also clear from seeing the doors being readied for loading into containers that you are making a wide variety of door specifications – and I don’t mean door styles. Are these for specific customers?

Yoonshin ‘Tony’ Cha: We have a ‘can do’ mentality. Some of our container customers require doors for a specific purpose or contract and you can see from the door blanks that some may have a timber edge finish, a smaller polymer rail or may be much higher than standard.

If a customer wants a specific specification they are often surprised how quickly Dan can show them the prototype. It really is a seamless operation between DOORCO in the UK and Korea with Dan and me often speaking 2 or 3 times a day. Dan is in Korea this week and I’m over in the UK next week. Our staff are quite used to seeing us at either location!

GN: To move from being a distributor of the Capstone door to building a new manufacturing facility and producing your own DOORCO GRP composite door is a remarkable feat, especially as the transition has been, essentially, seamless…

Dan Sullivan: We owe a lot to our very loyal customer base who have trusted us to develop the high quality DOORCO door and get it in production. It was important to them that our normal service was maintained so that their own fabrication wasn’t interrupted, and the switch from Capstone to DOORCO was efficiently handled and I’m very happy to acknowledge and thank our customers for their support.

GN: What you have achieved, and the facility you have developed is very impressive. I feel very privileged to have been invited to see DOORCO Korea and I look forward to seeing you both on your stand at The FIT Show and to see what products you will unveil for the UK market.