Increased consumer demand could see rise in fabricator start-ups

Andrew Scott, industry consultant and CEO here at Insight Data, predicts an increase in fabricator start-ups as capacity problems plague existing fabricators.

Number of uPVC fabricators falling

Andrew’s prediction follows data revealed at the recent Glazing Summit conference. At the conference, Andrew highlighted a decline in uPVC fabricators, going from 1,860 manufacturers ten years ago to 1,195 today.

“In the last few of years we’ve seen the number of PVC-U fabricators dwindle” said Andrew. “Some have pulled out of fabrication to focus on installation. Others, such as Total Glass, Sash UK and Indigo Products have collapsed.”

While many fabricators have expanded production capacity in recent years, the current increase in consumer demand has seen many installers struggling to source products.

That issue has also been coupled with supply-chain problems. In turn, lead times have extended and prices have increased. Some fabricators have even turned away customers.

“Faced with ever decreasing options, some installers are now seriously considering manufacturing. The main driver appears to be better control over their supply chain” says Andrew.

“Indeed, one systems company reported that only 40% of new customers this year are swap-overs, 60% are either companies wishing to fabricate for the first time or are returning to manufacturing after pulling out in the past.

“Of course, manufacturing brings its own set of problems and requires specialist skills – as well as availability of machinery, materials and labour. However, it appears to be an increasingly attractive – or necessary – option for some firms.”

Expected growth in UK manufacturing firms

Make UK, the body that represents 20,000 British manufacturers, upgraded its forecast in June and expects manufacturing growth to double.

“Our industry is facing a unique set of circumstances with a reduction in manufacturers and increased consumer demand, as well as the supply-chain issues and rising costs that other sectors are facing. It’s no surprise then that we may see some firms turn to manufacturing themselves.”

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