Tuesday 6th March, 2007
Nick Brown – Hot Seat
How did you get involved in the glazing industry?
My first involvement was with VELUX Roof Windows, whom I represented as National Sales Manager. This was my first experience of the benefits that space and light can bring to a home and as the range tends to be sold via timber merchants was a stepping-stone into the industry.
How do you relax?
Having spent the last two and bit years at Ultraframe, I haven’t had much chance to relax recently. We’ve had a great deal to do and whilst we are pleased with the progress we’ve made, we still have some way to go before we can truly relax.
If I can find some spare time, then it is dominated by my family, attempting to get fit and the armchair support of Everton FC.
What was your best business decision?
I can’t prove it yet, but I believe time will demonstrate that the Design Software strategy we are following will be my best business decision yet.
At Ultraframe, we believe that our customers should be able to choose their preferred design/manufacturing software to meet their own unique needs. We should then be able to provide support for that choice using “data squirt” technology so that manufacturing or electronic ordering of complete roofs designed to postcode specific structural guidelines can seamlessly link to their (or our) back office processes.
In this way we get the best of all worlds. We have choice and complexity at the front end, if we want it, yet we maintain simple back office functions facilitating efficiency, accuracy and high levels of customer service.
We have yet to complete the project fully, but we have proven our capabilities with RoofWright and we are working closely with First Degree Systems and PST as you read this article.
What was your worst business decision?
Not recognising the market’s will on Ultraframe’s product development. It took too long for us to accept that we should be driving evolutionary improvements through our Classic range rather than revolutionary totally new solutions.
Who do you most admire in business?
Richard Branson – I love the way he manages to combine fun with his business activities.
What is your ideal holiday?
A villa in the south of France with family, friends, great food, fine wine and nothing to do but enjoy them.
If you could change one thing in the conservatory industry, what would it be?
I would like to see consumer’s perceptions of the glazing industry as a whole improve. I deal with highly professional retail installation companies daily and it is a shame to see that the man on the street is still wary of the clichéd ‘double glazing salesman’. Ultraframe has introduced initiatives such as the Ultra Installer Scheme and Certificate of Authenticity to try to give peace of mind to potential conservatory buyers and our partnerships with front-end software companies will help to further enhance the image of this often-misunderstood sector of the industry.
What advice would you give someone entering the conservatory industry?
I would advise them to take a look around and research the products and services available to them from each of the key players in the market. I believe that the outstanding products and support services we have on offer at Ultraframe speak for themselves and this is demonstrated by the loyalty shown to us by our customers and the encouraging amount of new business we have acquired recently.
What is the best thing about your job?
I relish the challenges that my role offers to me, day in day out. The market is a much tougher place than it was several years ago, but to myself and the team at Ultraframe this means that we have to work harder, think SMARTer and ensure that we are equipping our customers with the very best to enable them to succeed.
What football team do you support?
What would be your desert island disk?
I suppose, if I’m allowed an album then it’d be Queen’s Greatest Hits Volume I.