Are you choosing the right supplier?

When you specify products, you should also be taking a close look at the supplier, according to Fraser Caithness, our Sales Director at Glass Express Midlands.

The correct glass specification will have a big impact on the success of a project, from the desired aesthetics through to performance, including insulation and solar gain, according to Glass Express Midlands’ Sales Director Fraser Caithness. But choosing the right supplier will also play a key role in that project’s success.

“Using glass suppliers as valued glass businesses is massively important,” Fraser says. “I believe that when you specify products, their value is improved significantly if the supplier you’ve chosen can also add value.

“Glass Express Midlands is very careful in terms of how we select a supplier. For example, we buy from UK sources wherever we can. Not only because that helps in terms of a shorter supply chain, but the bigger glass companies are based here in the UK.”

Like all glass processing companies, Glass Express Midlands is aware of the many cheaper glass options that are available in the UK, especially as the global demand for glass has dipped over the past year to 18 months.

“We avoid this source of cheap glass, mainly from a quality perspective,” Fraser says. “By working with the main UK manufacturers – as well as some of the bigger European sources – you are not only getting access to their high-quality products, but also their significant investment in research and development.

“We have an open dialogue with them, and they regularly come to us with new products and new opportunities – things we can bring to the market for our customers’ benefit, such as low-e glass, solar control glass, modern laminated glass, anti-reflective glass, and toughenable mirrored glass.”

Fraser points out that the ultimate beneficiaries of this relationship are Glass Express Midlands’ customers and their clients.

“Architects and specifiers spend a great deal of time choosing the right glass, so that it is both aesthetically pleasing and high performing,” Fraser says.

“We are responsible for ensuring that they have the widest choice possible, and that through us, they have access to market-leading research and development.

“Not only that, but our technical team is on hand to offer the necessary support to ensure that the project is completed without a hitch – something that isn’t always on hand with suppliers of cheaper alternatives.

“And because we have those connections at the upper end of the industry, we can act proactively by providing our customers with technical updates via CPDs and seminars.”

Ultimately, Fraser says, it’s about being able to provide exactly what is required, rather than offering alternatives.

“Where architects and specifiers are already talking to the specification teams of the large glass manufacturers, then we can offer complementary technical support,” he says. “So, when our customer comes to us and asks for a particular product, we can say ‘yes, we can supply that,’ rather than trying to switch them over to something else.”

Architects will also benefit from a sustainability point of view if they partner with the right suppliers, Fraser says.

“Reducing your impact on the environment, and building in sustainability measures into every project, is a key concern for all our clients,” he says. “And it is something that resonates clearly with our suppliers.

“For example, Glass Express Midlands’ sustainability strategy is constantly being updated, and it currently includes a cullet return scheme where all our offcut glass is returned to the manufacturer to be recycled. This significantly reduces the amount of energy needed to produce the glass, as well as reducing the amount of raw material used.

“The leading glass manufacturers are also looking at new and innovative ways of reducing the embedded carbon in their products, including using renewable energy in the manufacturing process.

“Together, these measures allow us to deliver innovative products with lower carbon footprints, which our clients can build in to their own low-impact projects. This is something many other suppliers cannot offer.”

Fraser says that by choosing the right supplier – as well as the right product – glass is more than just a component part of a building.

“Glass is so versatile and, by choosing the right supplier, it is more than just a component part,” he concludes. “You have access to industry-leading opportunities.”

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