Windows Active talks to Dan Sullivan, MD of DOORCO, for an insight into the composite door market, the business and 2020.
So how would describe the status of the composite door market?
I think it’s fair to call the composite door market mature now. And in any mature market, where competition is rife and choice abundant, there’s an increased pressure on suppliers to innovate to try to keep one step ahead of market demands. But what innovative suppliers like DOORCO try to do, is drive new demand for new products and solutions, opening up markets and opportunities for themselves and customers. In effect, they tell customers and end-users what their demand and desire could and should be. Such investment in innovation offers a refreshing and much-welcomed approach to mature markets hit by race-to-the-bottom pricing.
One of things DOORCO has helped do, is make composite doors firmly seen as ‘designed’ product. What were the biggest trends you saw in 2019?
Without doubt the two biggest areas of demand are colour and glass. Both offer the homeowner the chance to personalise their homes effortlessly. Whether on a new build development or in the middle of a row of identical Victorian terraces, the front door is an easy option to add differentiation.
2019 was definitely the year of colour for composite doors and another year of double-digit growth over the previous year, with more sophisticated choices being requested, pointing to the impact on retail sales Composite doors is now having.
When it comes to glass and glazing, a third of all our prepped doors are now sold with glass. We’ve just overhauled our offering, introducing more suppliers and styles fit for 2020.
These figures both represent the shift towards design as a key driver, and it’s not uncommon that the “designed doors” highlighted as hero images in our marketing are the biggest sellers.
DOORCO is very service driven – what are you seeing as the biggest service trends emerging?
Going the extra mile, providing the customer with more products and extra services. Our prepping business now makes up 40% of our overall business, breaking month on month records, and our bespoke glazing service is a big contributor to that growth. We deliver expert service and fast lead times, and we’re working towards a fully operational Just In Time (JIT) ordering service which is central to the future of DOORCO.
JIT is ambitious. Can you expand on what this means for your customers?
Thanks to the likes of Amazon, with Prime/ same day delivery service, consumers want everything as soon as possible. We’re surpassing our five-point Customer Service Charter (which, at the time, promised market-leading lead times) with a move towards JIT. Rather than customers tying up investment in their warehouses, DOORCO is taking the responsibility. We’ve developed systems which integrate/partner electronically with customers’ own systems so we can use, for example, their own barcodes from the point of order. Not only does this make a significant difference once the door arrives at their own facility, we’re able to provide real time information through manufacture and delivery.
How does DOORCO look today and what’s next?
We’ve been working very hard to strengthen all areas of our business for 2020 and beyond. We made significant investment in our team structure with the recruitment of several industry respected people and experts in their particular fields. Plus, our investment in apprentices paid dividends in 2019 with the development of two rising stars in Finance and IT, and with more to come in 2020, we’ll continue to balance the experience and youth ensuring future development across the team.
We’ve also made other changes to our business infrastructure – IT, transport, prepping and manufacturing have all undergone further investment and expansion ready for the next stage of service deliver, i.e. JIT.
This also forms the platform for our big 2020 plans.
So, there seem to be some hints here at big plans, please elaborate?
The DOORCO ethos is to keep evolving the product offering and 2020 is set to be another pivotal year with the introduction of brand-new products providing us with huge sales potential. This will also see us push a review of branding and marketing, as some of the new products will give DOORCO the opportunity to compete in market sectors currently limited on choice. The plan for 1 to 3 year growth is to top £30 million revenue.
Brand-new products, tell us more…
Not at the moment I’m afraid John, but it will be a game changer! One thing I can mention is our new/revised composite fire door offering SureFire. The return of composite fire doors after a 2-year absence, almost feels like having a brand-new product! It will provide further new sales opportunities for DOORCO, and though sales may take some time to gain momentum, there is potential large volumes with a small network of customers experienced and trusted in this sector.
All I will say is that we are a composite door supplier and always will be. But, as the market continues to evolve, we will adapt to continue to provide the best customer experience. DOORCO is a robust, dynamic, future-proofed business, with the energy to continue to drive the market forwards: something we are determined to do.