Increase in fabricator start-ups predicted

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

His prediction follows data revealed at the recent Glazing Summit conference, where he highlighted a decline in PVC-U fabricators – 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. Some have pulled out of fabrication to focus on installation, others, such as Sash UK and Indigo Products have collapsed.”

While many fabricators have expanded production capacity in recent years the current increase in consumer demand, coupled with supply-chain problems means many installers are struggling to source products, with lead times extending and prices increasing. Some fabricators have even turned away customers.

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

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.”

At Insight Data we track the activities of over 15,000 companies across the fenestration sector.  This data is an extract from the full Insight Data Report 2021, which will be available shortly.

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