When we speak about innovation, we tend to assume that innovation is the introduction of new products into the industry – but it’s more than that. The definition of innovation is a new method, idea or product. It’s time to think of innovation on a bigger scale, not forgetting new products but highlighting the impact of other sources of innovation as well.
We’ve reached a critical stage in the industry where good enough is no longer good enough – and companies are further harming the economic climate with sustained undercutting of the competition in their bid to try and be the cheapest. In fact, most homeowners are paying significantly less for a full set of windows and doors and it’s to the detriment of the entire industry. The consumers of the tech age are knowledgeable and with companies like Apple and Samsung showing profits growing despite hefty price tags, it shows that knowledgeable consumers understand that products which are worth having are worth paying for – and the investment put into our products by industry leading systems companies is worth every penny. The question is – what does the future of the fenestration industry look like and how is it affected by investment in innovation?
We look at a systems company who’s embodying innovation in the right way – Liniar. Speaking with Liniar’s Group Managing Director Martin Thurley, he said, “Innovation is at the very heart of everything we do at Liniar and it goes a long way beyond research, development and the launch of new products. Thanks to our comprehensive investment initiatives, Liniar’s innovation extends beyond our product range and touches every part of the business.
“Investment includes an enriched apprenticeship programme which brings young people with fresh ideas into the business, new machinery that’s efficient and top specification, ensuring our products are of consistently good quality, a comprehensive environmental management programme ensuring that the products we produce are sustainable and safe for the surrounding ecology – and all of this feeds into enriching our current workforce.”
Liniar’s investment initiative touches all the points of true innovation; thoughts, ideas, methods, practices and products. For the coming decades, systems companies who invest in these areas will be front runners on the success and return on investment scale. When we have an educated customer base who has become accustomed to gadgets with all the bells and whistles, manufacturers have to look beyond the norm to come up with products that satisfy their needs. Customer behaviours suggest that in the near future, homeowners will be looking into products which tie into the ideology of the ‘smart home’. Doors and windows which lock using apps or standalone products, as well as products which are sustainable from green companies.
The world around us is changing and has been for quite some time. Long before the documentaries on the impact of single-use plastic, plastic’s reputation wasn’t a great one. Liniar is working hard to change perceptions of unsustainability when it comes to PVCu. Part of its innovation initiatives includes methods of manufacturing which are not only environmentally safe but have some of the lowest scrap rates in the industry. 25 years ago, Liniar was already leading the way by designing and manufacturing part recycled decking, fencing and plastic piling ranges to utilise its scrap instead of sending it to landfill – and other companies are finally catching the recycling bug.
The future is bright – companies are launching products which meet the demands of consumers with fingerprint and smart technology, as well as products which are eco-friendly and energy efficient. Only time will tell if we see more systems companies following Liniar’s example when it comes to investing in innovation across the whole of the business.