October 9th, 2017 - Beth

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After 40 years of being European even the most ardent of ‘Brits’ has become somewhat cosmopolitan, even if it is mostly characterised in their consumption of German or Belgian lager or Spanish wine. We have come to accept food and consumer products that bear the names of the most exotic countries many of which we will be hard pushed to locate on a globe; the world, as they say, is a village and, generally, that is to the good of all of us.

However, there is still a touch of pride in finding products that in the supermarket carry the Union Jack or which bear the legend ‘Made in Britain’. And, as well as good old-fashioned patriotism, it makes commercial and, actually, environmental sense too. The fewer miles components travel the more local jobs are created and of course, the lower the cost in literal and environmental impact terms.

During a visit to the Ballymena factory of Apeer, ostensibly to see the substantial investment that had been made in the factory and systems, it became clear that through a continuous quest to reduce cost in combination with maintaining control over as many processes as possible, Apeer composite doors are almost 100% sourced and manufactured within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In this day and age that is a remarkable feat. And one that will stand them in good stead as we roll inexorably towards separation from the European Union and whatever that holds for us as a nation.

“We have always pursued the goal of total control over our manufacturing processes,” explained Apeer MD Asa McGillian, “but a finished product is only as good as the components that are used, a potential weakness. We have found that sourcing from UK suppliers allows us a closer relationship with them that has resulted in a greater degree of control over what goes into our doors.”

The main component of every composite door is, of course, the slab. Apeer produces these from scratch in house using GRP skins but which have been developed by the company to offer exceptional strength and durability compared to those generally available in the marketplace. “We use our own secret, highly developed resin transfer moulding processes that use three layers of glass fibre to produce skins that are exceptionally strong,” explained Asa. “We combine the skins with a solid high density foam core to produce the best performance in the market for composite doors. It guarantees exceptional resistance in cut-through security tests, outstanding U values and, crucially, no warping or bowing, peel back, or delamination. In short, installers can fit our doors without fear that they will be called back because of inherent faults that essentially were built in during manufacture.”

Having such control over quality also ensures 99% on time and in full deliveries, even during weekends: “We keep a substantial range of standard colours and styles in stock but even for bespoke colours, because we paint in house, deliveries are extended just by just two days compared to standard items. We have invested more than £1 million in the past year in our factories to ensure we remain efficient in such ways, which in turn also allows us to be very competitive.”

The UK-centric commitment to production offers the greatest protection against the volatility in exchange rates, something that will continue to plague those manufacturers dependent upon importing products and components from overseas: “We have always sourced locally and the benefits that we are now enjoying as we face Brexit are a tremendous bonus,” admits Asa. “But it allows us to continue re-investing and our focus now is on supporting our customers with great marketing, including a new website incorporating the Apeer design and quotation Doorbuilder programme. And of course, a calendar of 12 homes shows this year produces hundreds of leads for our customers,” he added.

Asa is enjoying himself as he enjoys the positive returns of a more aggressive stance in the marketplace: “We want Apeer to be seen as the ultimate full door package,” he says. “Products that perform and which may be installed with confidence and backed up by exceptional customer and marketing support.”



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