To mark the new year, Roto More had an informal ‘round table’ conversation with Roto Western Europe’s sales team leaders to see how they view the year ahead. In the chat and on this image from left to right, are:
- Vesa Nenye – Head of Customers and Markets for UK & Ireland
- Gerry Claassens – Head of Customers and Markets for Benelux
- Søren Milter Nielsen – Head of Customers and Markets for Scandinavia
What has been positive for Roto Western Europe in the last year?
Gerry: In Benelux, we have supported our fabricator partners in transitioning from Roto NT to Roto NX hardware for Tilt&Turn. We aim to make it as smooth as possible with all the training and support. The fabricators who change to Roto NX appreciate it because they now can make larger sizes with heavier weights. They get the logistics benefits too from minimal parts, plus selling points like TiltSafe security, so they are ready for the future requirements in the market.
Vesa: On a group level we know Roto had an excellent year internationally with more acquisitions and an overall increased turnover. In times of uncertainty, people will go to or stick with dependable partners. Roto’s position as a private company with a high credit rating and a track record of holding steady through events like the 2008 economic crisis and Covid, give very strong reassurance to our partners that we are rock solid and dependable. Many are pleased with how reliable and competitive we are.
Søren: I can agree with all that. For Roto, instability in a mature and consolidated market such as Scandinavia causes big fabricators of windows and doors to search for and partner up with a supplier like the Roto Group, because we ensure high quality products: Roto hardware, Roto gaskets, Roto accessories. On top of this stable supply from our production and warehouse facilities in Europe.
The focus on sustainability in Scandinavia has increased in the last year, and it will grow even more in the coming years. This fits well into the Roto Group strategy around sustainability.
2023 was a difficult year for fenestration in all markets, was it not?
Søren: The first half of the year actually ended well, but then we could see that construction demand was falling. Governments in the Scandinavian markets are expected to introduce measures to support the renovation market in the building industry during 2024. If these policies are implemented, then the construction industry in Scandinavia expects the forthcoming year to be more stable.
Vesa: When I went to the Glazing Summit in the UK, they were saying that it was the first year that the number of fabricators and windows being made is declining. When we speak to fabricators, the ones that are doing well are often gaining customers because their competitor closed down.
Gerry: Here in Benelux the construction industry suffered from delays due to projects being postponed, so there have been fewer new buildings and more of a focus on renovation. We have tried to make this a positive by taking the opportunity to implement new products with our fabricators. The benefits of these products will put them in a stronger position when the market picks up again.
Are there any products that you think will be of particular interest to your fabricator customers this year?
Gerry: We are very strong across all product groups now, with door products and sliding systems just as important to Roto as window hardware. I believe two products we launched in 2023, the Roto Safe Tandeo door lock with automatic locking and the Solid B butt hinge programme, will be significant in our market this year. For timber manufacturers who want to use Patio Inowa, we are working in collaboration with tooling supplier Leitz and our Roto Group colleagues at Deventer to bring a package that is designed for the needs of the Benelux market, combining hardware, weatherseals and tooling.
Søren: I just mentioned the Roto gaskets, which I should say are made from TPE, which is not only very precise but 100% recyclable, so it is a perfect choice for window manufacturers and building specifiers who want to maximise sustainability. Although Scandinavia is predominantly an open-out window market, Tilt&Turn is growing and our concealed options are the most popular here. Our market is of course dominated by timber frames and we have a wide range of Roto products for this material. Patio Inowa is perfect with its tight weathersealing and accessibility. The recent launch of the Inowa 400 series makes it even more versatile in terms of sizes, so this will be a key product in 2024.
Vesa: Well, I know Roto is going to announce a number of new products this year but I can’t really say anything specific about these yet. I can say that I see great potential for many of the products we launched or revised in the last few months, such as Tandeo auto door locks and Patio Inowa 400, which is now the premium sliding option. For fabricators using any material, if you are looking for ways to meet the Lifetime Homes standards in the UK, we have many products that allow accessibility and ease of use. Patio Inowa 400 in the sliding segment and also Patio Alversa PS Air Com version for a tilt and slide with tilt ventilation all controlled from one handle. In the area of accessibility, we will definitely have something new and very interesting, which you can see up close if you come to Fensterbau.
What message would you give to fabricators as a reason to look at switching to Roto in 2024?
Gerry: I can do this by staying “on message” with our group marketing and say that we can help you improve in four areas: Efficiency, Comfort, Security and Design. With Efficiency, we can save you time and money because our hardware systems make production faster and simpler. Comfort provides benefits to your end users with convenience and clever functions on your windows and doors. Security is an area where we excel because we can help you meet all of the burglary protection standards. Design is another selling point, because our engineers aim to provide the best aesthetics inside a building, with hardware concealed or blended to the room with coloured handles and cover caps. We also help by being compatible with slim frames and large window sizes.
Søren: Coming from an “overheated” market in Scandinavia in recent years, fabricators of windows and doors are looking to upgrade their product platforms. I would say that the Roto Scandinavian team is always ready to assist you at an early stage of your development process. We can support you by helping specify the correct Roto hardware, Roto gaskets and Roto accessories. We are ready! <smiles>.
Vesa: It’s a difficult time right now, so one of the best things you can do is surround yourself with reliable partners that will give you all the support possible in their area of expertise. Local authorities are stretching out their replacement of windows in social housing, but they will need to be replaced eventually. If you are using Roto then you can be ready to meet all of the standards that will be required for these projects.
Roto is still investing significantly in product development. We can help you meet all requirements – not just now but for the next decade and beyond.
Finally, are there any trade fairs coming up this year that you would recommend fabricators attend?
Søren: Yes, Fensterbau. For me this is the chance to show partners from Scandinavia all of the Roto products up close and in person. I would recommend it to any fabricator from any country because it is an unmatched event anywhere in Europe in terms of what you can see there. The Roto stand will be as big as ever and you will be able to get close to every current product and a lot that is new in Roto hardware, Roto gaskets and accessories.
Vesa: For sure, Fensterbau is now more popular than ever with visitors from outside Germany and when you visit you can see why. I would recommend this to any of our UK and Ireland fabricators. You will learn a lot and Roto will make you very welcome.
Gerry: Absolutely I agree about Fensterbau, I think it will be a really good edition this year with what Roto will have to show. Here in Benelux we also have Polyclose in January, so if this interview gets published before that, I would say this is now by far the most significant trade show for Benelux, and we have some very strong products on show.
- Roto at Fensterbau: https://ftt.roto-frank.com/int-en/company/fairs-and-events/details/fensterbau-2024/
- Book for Polyclose here: https://roto-more.com/nl/roto-exposeert-op-polyclose-2024/
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