News

Inspired Glass

Dan Sullivan, MD of DOORCO talks to Glass Times magazine about how effectively managing their glass supply chain has enabled the leading door manufacturer to launch a brand new and exclusive door glass collection.  Jeyda Heselton, DOORCO’s Creative Consultant adds her unique view on the inspiration behind some of the new designs.

Inspired Glass

Delivering JIT doors is a priority for DOORCO. Whether that’s just a slab, the door in part or fully prepped and glazed doors. One thing we’ve been able to offer our customers during lockdown is the flexibility to support them in the post-Covid boom, stepping in to offer a back-up to their door production with our added-value services such as painting, prepping and glazing. We saw literally thousands more doors than usual pass through our factory in July and August. Never before has the critical role of a secure supply chain been more apparent. While none of us could have predicted this health and economic crisis, it’s been a relief to have Phil Taylor and his team managing our Business as Usual strategy, as well as working behind the scenes on creating an exclusive DOORCO Glass collection which will be launching from 26th October.

Offering something new – it’s what we do

DOORCO took the decision to widen the glass supply chain early this year with the main objective being to develop a robust supply chain for growth that protects and maintains continuity of supply, especially as customer demands become more complex and sophisticated. By making our supply chain more robust we can effectively manage our own stock and better deliver on our service promises.  We also wanted to be able to give our customers something new and something different. Working with DOORCO offers our customers the competitive edge in a crowded marketplace so we must keep innovating to deliver. Who else is better to turn to than Jeyda Heselton, our creative consultant.

A Fresh direction

During a discovery session early in January, we tasked Jeyda with creating her own collection of glass designs, some of which have you may have seen on The Pink Door Range.  Jeyda describes the creative process behind some of the new glass being launched this year: “As a true doork, it’s been absolutely thrilling to be able to see behind the closed doors of DOORCO. Early in 2020, before the world turned upside down, I met with the team to discuss ideas and I was challenged to create glass designs to complement DOORCO’s plans for the coming year. Just as I have seen the inside of a door company, I’m here to share how the creative process went – from start to finish…

“As always, DOORCO’s style is to push the limits of traditional door design which gave me the freedom to pursue some creative glass ideas. Having spent years photographing residential doors but rarely being inspired by the glass panes, I decided to start by seeking inspiration from outside (and I mean quite literally). At the start of any creative journey, I head outdoors and just walk around, staring (some would say manically) at everything in the street. It’s a process I love doing and find extremely thought-provoking. The trick is to take your time, no phone, no music and really just tune into the details of the world around you.

“As I wandered, I took photos of all the things I found visually interesting or that sparked particular trains of thought. When I got back, I uploaded them all onto the computer and started grouping them into categories. Two diametrically opposed themes stood out – natural world and manmade. Within those, the types of patterns and shapes then also fell into different narratives.

“With inspiration in the bag, I switched to sketching. Here, I marked out the shapes of glass that I knew were DOORCO’s most popular sellers. I began simply experimenting, drawing inspiration from the photos of things I’d seen around the neighbourhood.

“Once I was happy with a few of the designs, I moved onto the computer. Here I could take the designs and try out endless colour combinations. My mild synesthesia meant I got stuck on this stage for several hours, constantly swapping and changing for new tones. Eventually, I realised I was probably getting carried away so forced the laptop shut and in the morning sent some samples over to DOORCO. Admittedly, I was nervous to see what they would think – having never designed something of this nature before.

“To my delight, the feedback was really positive. We discussed our favourites and the marketing team helped to impose the designs into DOORCO doors and then worked with RegaLead to find out whether the designs I’d created would even be possible to make. Thankfully, they were!

“Two of the most popular glass designs were integrated into the new pink door range – a project where DOORCO is donating 20% of pink door slab profits to the charity, We Mind Kelly Matters.

Bold Impulses

“This glass features loud, abstract designs that celebrate human spontaneity. A huge pair of lips, somewhat reminiscent of the Rolling Stones, lies partially within the frame and large parallelograms shoot off diagonally, like a particularly confusing zebra crossing.

Straight Imposition

“Bright, geometric shapes inspired by architecture & structural design. These are overlaid with playful flicks, which represent the mischievous crossover between the natural world and manmade design.

“There are a few more designs to come which will be launched exclusively soon and added to the overall DOORCO glass collection in due course. I’m excitied to see them become reality and to hear what you think?”

DOORCO’s new glass collection, which includes some of Jeyda’s designs, is being launched to customers in November. Introducing these new designs to the collection, along with others from a wider supply chain offers an opportunity for a reliable, robust and exclusive supply of door glass for the composite door mark.

To read the full article, visit P101 of the October edition of Glass Times.

DOORCO Joins FIT Show 2020

Leading composite door supplier, DOORCO is delighted to announce their presence at FIT Show 2021 with the biggest stand to date and many new innovations to share.

Dan Sullivan, DOORCO MD comments: “It’s been a few years since DOORCO has attended FIT in an official capacity but we felt that with all the trials of 2020, it was a great time to show our support to what we believe is going to be the biggest FIT show yet.  Visitors will be even more hungry to link up with the supply chain and see the latest innovations – something which DOOCO has in abundance. We have some exciting plans in place already and we’re looking forward to connecting with customers, prospects and the industry as a whole.  DOORCO is excited to be back.”

FIT Show event director, Nickie West commented: “We are absolutely delighted that DOORCO will be taking to the floor at FIT Show 2021. Over 60% of our audience visit FIT Show seeking doors and it’s fantastic to have such a forward-thinking brand who will help to meet this demand.

“We’re always impressed by what DOORCO delivers at FIT Show, but 2021 is set to be extra special. With no industry event since 2019, we know that our audience will be more excited than ever to see the very latest products and innovation across the market, up close and in person at FIT Show.”

Dan concludes: “The FIT Show is the industry’s only dedicated exhibition and we’re determined to make the best of this opportunity to showcase DOORCO’s latest innovations and generally celebrate being back together by welcoming customers – current and new – on stand F5 at FIT Show 2021.”

For more information about The FIT Show, visit: www.fitshow.co.uk

Blank Trends

In DOORCO’s regular door trends column in GGP Magazine, October sees Jayne Sullivan go back to basics with a report on the trends the leading composite door manufacturer is seeing when it comes to door blank sales.

Blank Trends

As DOORCO is essentially a cog in the wheel of composite door market, supplying the door blank that empowers fabricators to create their own doors, we thought it would be interesting to go back to basics and explore the trends we are seeing from our core slab sales.  Although we talk about prepped doors a lot, slab only supply is where DOORCO started and still makes up around 75% of our business.  Ranging from traditional to contemporary, DOORCO has range of pre-app and blank door slabs which aid efficient and effective manufacturing.

Pre-App Slabs

The 4 Panel Pre-App is unique to DOORCO. The top two panels of the blank have already been removed as part of a new tool design, so for customers looking to make traditional styles such as Carnoustie, it offers significant savings on time and waste as no machining is required, and for a styles like Lytham, there is a removeable mid rail which again simplifies production and offers versatility from 1 door design – you can save an average of 49 seconds CNC machining time per door by using the 4 Panel Pre-App. Sales of this product make up around 15% of all doors sold in the last year.

 

Door Blanks

When it comes to door blanks for fabricators, DOORCO offers nine options plus side panels. The 6/4 Combi is one of the first DOORCO innovations introduced to the market and remains our most popular slab today. It is the most versatile blank as it allows you to create seven different door styles, as well as having a positive effect on simplifying ordering and stock. An alternative to the 6/4 Combi is the 4 Panel Blank top which is perfect for creating popular designs with a half-moon top such as Riviera or Portrush.

Moving away from the traditional panelled door, the Farmhouse – another of DOORCO’s door innovations introduced back in 2014 – is still one of our bestsellers, making up over 27% of overall sales. The Farmhouse is used to make iconic styles like the Belfry and Sunningdale, as well as one of our newer cottage designs, the Merion.  Over 25% are White/White, but we see a contemporary styling making an impact with Anthracite/White in close second with 22%.

The more contemporary blanks – Flush, Monza II and Links – make up the lion’s share of the remaining blank sales, something that has accelerated during COVID. In fact, looking at July 2019 vs 2020, where literally thousands more doors are being sold, Monza II has increased to almost 10% of sales, taking a larger chunk in a growing market that doesn’t look set to slow. We’re delighted see that these sales of Monza II, widely accepted as the benchmark for contemporary entrances, continues its upward trajectory following its launch in 2017.

The Covid Difference

While Farmhouse and 6/4 combi are still the overall bestsellers, indicating the traditional door market is still dominant, post-Covid contemporary doors – and in particular Monza II – are becoming more prevalent as overall trends suggest homeowners’ choices are becoming bolder (see previous columns).

The real ‘Covid Difference’ for DOORCO however, has been in the demand for our added-value services – painting, prepping and glazing – even from our distribution customers. Prepped door sales have risen 11% since lockdown as customers are relying on DOORCO to support those facing heightened sales and restricted workspaces.

Where next?

Looking forward I don’t see much changing from the trends we are seeing emerging post-lockdown, but DOORCO does have a new slab on the horizon that is going to be a gamechanger. Watch this space!

What do your door sales look like and are you seeing a Covid Difference? In volume and style? We’d love to hear your trends. Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

DOORCO Nominated for NFA Composite Door Manufacturer

We’re delighted to announce that DOORCO has been nominated in the Composite Door Manufacturer category of this year’s National Fenestration Awards.

The NFAs aim to reward the very best of the fenestration industry through participation of the sector, from nomination to awards – making it the fairest, all-inclusive fenestration event around.  This means it takes your vote to decide the winners!

Please vote for DOORCO if you think we:

  1. Offer customers the competitive edge with the most innovative composite door products and the widest range of designs and colours
  2. Go above and beyond to deliver good lead times with an honest approach to supporting customers
  3. Maintain a robust supply chain, even in challenging times as we’re in now.

To vote for DOORCO, please visit: http://www.fenestrationawards.co.uk/nfa2020/

Voting closes on Tuesday 24th November at 10pm.

Thank you for your support.

Brave in the new world

DOORCO MD, Dan Sullivan discusses with GGP Magazine, his thoughts on the current market and what comes next for the independent composite door supplier.

Brave in the new world

DOORCO started out 2020 with big plans. New products, new marketing, growth. Come the end of March and seemingly this all came to a grinding halt. With so much uncertainty, we debated and discussed our previous plans for hours on end: Do we continue with new product investment? Do we put it on ice? We wrote scenario after scenario, and we were glad to just be able to open our doors and unfurlough our staff as lockdown started to ease. Setting up a safe working environment for them meant that we could start making doors again to meet our customer’s demands – whatever they might be. We certainly didn’t expect the boom we saw in that first week, but it quickly became apparent homeowners were looking to invest in their homes. All those initial contingency plans were in the bin – we had not written one where the script read double digit growth!!

According to the 2020 Renovation Nation Report published in early August by money.co.uk, homeowners have spent over £50billion on renovations since lockdown, which equates to £4,035.70 per household.  The report suggests that the majority of spend (63% of homeowners spoken to) is made on making homes more comfortable because they are spending more time at home, while 27% are intending to increase the value of their home, diverting funds that were intended to be spent on travel. 40% have also admitted to ‘Zoombarrassement’ over the appearance of their homes too! While many are focusing on specialist areas – offices, gyms, bars – I think it is fair to say the fenestration industry is enjoying its share of this spending spree.

Bolder choices

DOORCO has certainly seen a rise in composite door sales post lockdown. Comparing July 2019 to July 2020, we’ve seen a 34% increase in manufacturing slab sales & 10% increase in distribution slab sales, but the detail of those sales is where it gets interesting.  Consumers are making bolder choices when it comes to design and colour. Our contemporary doors – Monza II, Flush and Links – make up 75% of that increase. Grey is still the most popular colour in this range, demonstrated by our standard Anthracite/ White slab sales nearly doubling, but we’re seeing more and more bolder colours coming through our paint line.

We’re adding some new colours too such as The Pink Door Range which is available from 1st September. Pink has always been available as a special, but it was missing from our standard and premium colour range, which is devised from popular colours. It seems its launch is right in fashion; thanks to the Hinchers (followers of Instragram star, Mrs Hinch) who have recently started a wave in pink front doors.

DOORCO’s Pink Door Range will be supporting industry charity We Mind & Kelly Matters with 20% of its sales.

Streamlining

The other big shift we have seen is the use of technology to reorganise communications.  We’re all busy so this makes sense and while those of us that work in manufacturing are ‘back in the office’ now, we’ve all had to adjust to working from home, and only technology has made this possible. Some of us that are less IT literate have certainly become more comfortable with online meetings, online ordering and the like (although there’s still no place like my office!).  Thankfully over the last three years we have made big investments in IT, so we were well prepared to support customers in their bid to carry out technical upgrades, updating content and improving integration with our ordering systems.

DOORCO is also supporting customers to streamline their manufacturing, too. Many are facing increased orders with restrictions manufacturing and staff, and DOORCO is able to offer added-value services such as prepping, painting and glazing to help ease the strain. More than 1000 extra doors went through our in-house manufacturing lines in the first few weeks in July. Customers also know that they can rely on DOORCO to deliver, and to be honest if we can’t. We place huge emphasis on stock holding, of doors, glass and accessories, and were determined to maintain our OTIF levels as best we can in these challenging times. But we’ve faced huge challenges in meeting stock expectations on all fronts, and so further work is needed for us to reach the new levels of demand post COVID. We have introduced extra shifts both here and Korea to meet demand, we are investing in more storage space for increase stock holding, and we will recruit key people to help us achieve the service levels our customers need.

Long may it continue

Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know how long this boom will continue – 2020 has hardly been textbook so far and the true fallout of a national lockdown is still to come. There have been bumps along the way and tough decisions to make, but having confidence in these decisions, your business, products and team, staying on top of trends, talking to your customers and adapting to the evolving market conditions is paramount to riding out this uncertainty.

This is why DOORCO is taking lockdown as a blip on the landscape and moving forward with the plans we set out with at the start of 2020. We’ve got some very exciting products just around the corner, including a new innovative slab that is really going to mix things up…watch this space!

Read the full article on Page 14 of the GGP Guide to Doors supplement

Security & Style

In the regular column in the September GGP Magazine, Jayne Sullivan, DOORCO’s Operations Director looks to the trends the company is seeing in hardware for its prepped doors. Obviously hardware choices determine the security, legal compliance and functionality of a door, but in parallel with the increasing importance of design, it’s the hardware that adds the finishing touches aesthetically.
DOORCO preps for any lock, hinge, letterplate or door handle configuration. We are totally impartial and led by demand from our customers, so we won’t be naming any names in this column!

Getting a handle on it
The first and foremost important aspect of a door – for practicality and aesthetics – is the way you open it. We are prepping more and more doors for hardware every month. As a recent example in July, 80% were prepped for a separate handle, and the majority were for Lever/Lever handles from various manufacturers. This may only be one month, but looking back over last year, the results are very similar. Where we prepped for a handle, the top 5 choices were identical (which make up over 84% of all the handle prepping across both periods). We posed the question to customers and the feedback was the same – Lever/Lever handles are still the most popular choice.


Putting the focus on locks, we prep for a wide variety, but the majority are multipoint systems. A big change in trends here is the growth of smart hardware, or at least locks that are “ready” for smart (we don’t know if these functions have been activated after installation). Last July, smart locks represented nearly 5%; in July 2020, over 16% & rising to top position on the lock trends chart.

Letters through the door
The largest proportion of doors we prep do not have provision for a letter box – around 35% in both periods. Whether it is for additional security, to reduce heat loss by removing the need for a letter flap or for aesthetic reasons, it seems many are moving away from in-door letter boxes. When we look to those we do prep for letterboxes, there is a definite correlation between handle and letterplate manufacturers, suggesting homeowners are looking for a more suited door furniture.


Keeping a spy out
It seems that only 7.5% of our customers’ customers need a spy hole in their door.

Looking forward
As suggested in previous columns, we are seeing an upward trend in contemporary door design, so we would expect to see the styling of hardware following the same trajectory. We’ve already reported an increase in the number of doors being prepped for a handle, suggesting a move away from more traditional door knobs. When it comes to the style of handle, we may continue to see increasing demand for contemporary pull handles, but when it comes to practicality, pull handles are no rival for the “all-in-one” Lever/Lever; the design of which is becoming more and more contemporary, with some good-looking suites of door furniture on the market.

The move is likely to be towards more advanced locking systems, which use fingertip or retina scanning to activate the lock. Smarter hardware that talks to an app and tells you if your door is open or closed has been growing in popularity since it was first launched at the last FIT Show. Pre-lockdown demand was steady, but post-lockdown we’ve seen a significant rise. We are also seeing increased demand for key-less security. Many of the products that offer this functionality are still Lever/Lever handles, although there are also handle-less options available too.

When it comes to doors, design is a personal choice, but security cannot be compromised. Thankfully in our industry, this is commonplace, so we don’t have to compromise on either.

We’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you have a favoured lock, handle or suite of door furniture? Are you seeing an increase in enquiries for smarter hardware for doors? Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

Keeping Up With The Grammers

In GGP’s August column, DOORCO’s Jayne Sullivan looks at the rising trend in pink doors and the well-timed launch of DOORCO’s Pink Door Range which is raising money for We Mind & Kelly Matters.

Keeping up with the Grammers

DOORCO has been doing a lot of work on colour over the last few months. We’re changing the paint product we use, and this naturally leads to exploring what more we can offer. Whilst we’re initially focusing on moving forward with our existing palette, the new supplier has a ‘Top 100’ list of matched colours, including many from leading colour design specialists.

One idea that was born from this colour exploration project was the new Pink Door Range we’ve just launched in support of We Mind & Kelly Matters, a charity set up by Glazerite’s John Hewitt in memory of his daughter Kelly, which aims to raise awareness of mental health and try to prevent suicide.  Pink was Kelly’s favourite colour, so she quickly came to mind when we were considering adding the new colour.  In typical DOORCO fashion, we didn’t stop at one pink door! We’ve created an exclusive collection of four doors, each one in a new shade of pink. We opted for a more traditional style, using our best-seller Carnoustie and half-glazed Lytham, but adding a modern twist with brand new exclusive glass options, some designed by our Creative Consultant Jeyda, and all produced for us by RegaLead. The design is completed with the stunning Rose Gold Sweet hardware from Brisant.

Pink – more than just a great gin!

During our review we felt pink was the colour missing from our collection, but as with every idea you must consider the commercial viability of it. Although traditionally it represents ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’, according to Farrow & Ball it’s “no longer the reserve for nurseries and children’s rooms, but a versatile palette for every kind of space, with grown-up, greyed-out shades and bold flashes of colour sitting side by side”. It’s also a pretty good Gin too!

Looking to social media we were astounded to discover that #pinkdoor has 62.k posts on Instagram and is regularly used by the growing number of influencers. Mrs Hinch (a cleaning guru on Instagram with 3.3m followers) started a new trend of pink doors amongst her ‘Hinchers’ and it’s now sweeping the UK. They’ve already taken notice of our initial posts about the collection and our customer, Xtremedoor has also picked up the trend with an increase in orders for pink doors.

We’ve already had a good deal of interest in the collection which will be available soon. If you would like to register your interest, please email info@door-co.com . We are excited to see where this goes, especially as we are donating 20% of the door blank sales from this collection to We Mind & Kelly Matters.

What do you think of pink? What colour would you like to see trending next? Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.

Glass

This month I’ve been focussing less on doors but instead seeking out excellent glass design within the frames. It’s been illuminating what I’ve found.

Let’s start out with one of the most common designs I’ve seen all over the country. I call this ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’. The glass is cut into square or diamond geometric shapes and splashed across in vibrant colours. Sometimes it’s placed above the door, sometimes within and each time it adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise plain door. Much like Elmer, a multi-coloured elephant who paints himself grey in order to blend in, only to find he’s loved as his original vibrant self, this glass design is a great way of showcasing a fun personality.

When it comes to jazzy glass design – some people go all out. I love to see examples where the glass has been used to pay homage to a particular passion of the owner (see the bird lover below) or paint an entire domestic scene (see the territorial cat perched on the window by sunrise).

On the flip side, if you’re looking for subtle design and high levels of security (perhaps you’re undertaking some serious intelligence work or maybe just don’t want your neighbours to know you’re in), there are endless variations of frosting glass design. Your imagination is the only limit here.

When it comes to coloured glass, semi-ornate patterns with flowers or circular shapes are commonly used. Whilst these can be striking, they often appear on older style doors & can look dated on modern numbers. Here’s two examples…

Personally, this style isn’t something I’d go for but I’d argue that it does suit the older style of door. On the modern door, the style of glass juxtaposes the chic encasement.

I’d suggest a modern door should come with an equally matching artistic design, which is something I’ve been working on in partnership with DOORCO. Watch this space for more details.

However – if you’re too indecisive to commit to a particular style or perhaps already have doors with plain glass, here’s a little hack. Take some fabric and fill your panes with that. Added bonus that any leftovers can be used to make a stylish face mask.

Until next time,

Chief Doork

Open letter to the trade press: stock

There’s been a lot of talk in the press over the last week about lead times and the supply chain and I have to agree that we are all creaking at the seams in this post-lockdown boom. Let’s not bury

our heads in the sand and pretend that any one of us is delivering on time, in full – no matter what investment has been made into systems, machinery, facilities, etc. But, what I think is a fair point to make is that the majority of us in the supply chain are doing their very best to deliver and agree that the most important thing is to be transparent with your customers.

DOORCO is one of those companies that has invested, across the board. We place a huge emphasis on stock and came out of lockdown with bolstered levels. We are also in the unique position that we are independent in both the UK and Korea, so we can react quicker than most.  But it’s still not enough. We saw 1000’s more doors than usual come through our prepping lines in July, a 34% increase, plus a 10% increase in distribution slab sales. There has also been a massive shift in demand, with consumers making bolder choices in style and colour – this adds even more pressure to suppliers because we move into supplying the “added value” services like painting.

As we came out of lockdown, we were just thankful to be opening up and unfurloughing some of our staff. We certainly didn’t predict this boom. We are doing all we can to keep on top of this with double shifts in Korea to get the slabs to the UK, and in the UK to make the doors and support our customers. We are in constant communication with our suppliers and customers, sharing stats and predictions, and ordering as much as we can but we are up against widespread stock outages higher up the supply chain.

I appreciate the patience and understanding the customers are showing right now. We will improve and we will improve quickly, and we all hope for the continuation of the good problem to have – higher volumes than expected.

Yours sincerely

Dan Sullivan

MD, DOORCO