Does it come as a surprise that one of the UK’s largest PVCu fabricators is now offering aluminium products? Emplas’ Ryan Johnson talks to Glass News’ Editor, Chris Champion, pointing out that aluminium is not actually new to the company at all!

“We have around 30 years’ experience in aluminium products.” Explains Ryan. “We have been providing aluminium products for commercial projects from our factory in Nottingham for a long time so this is not new to us.”

Interview with Ryan Johnson

What is new is the investment in purpose built premises to now provide fabricated products for Emplas’ installers. Again, this is not entirely new and Emplas has offered the F82 bifold from AluK for a little while, in fact since 2019, but now they have worked with AluK to select a range of products for Emplas to make available to their installers. The F82 was their first step into supplying a trade aluminium product and it was all about getting used to a new product and working with AluK.

Emplas’ experience is important and Ryan emphasises that they didn’t want to be a fly-by-night PVCu fabricator who thought they’d like to do a bit of aluminium….they have the skills and the knowhow to do things properly. Now that range is being extended: the F82 was a high end bifold with good U values, slim sightlines and appealed to a range of customers including the new build sector. Now there is the BSF70, Aluk’s leading bifold for a number of years and is a robust trade-like bifold. Then there’s the 58BW which is a slim aluminium window, originally designed as a sort of Crittall replacement window and they are doing a flush window alongside that. Then there’s the Patio and Emplas has had a lot of interest in that, and orders are already going through for patios now. Also there is a residential door offering so the company is covering a good range of aluminium and giving their customers a range of options. Why this range particulary? Emplas canvassed their customers and worked closely with AluK to pick out a suitable range. The work with AluK was invaluable in examining trends, their best selling products and their forward plans, cross referencing all that against what Emplas’ customers had indicated as being their preferences.

Can Emplas provide the high level of service that their PVCu customers have come to expect and enjoy? Ryan explains that their EVA system allows tracking of products, invoices, pricing, ordering and so on across all the Emplas product range. Add to that that deliveries are already going out to their customers of PVCu, so the system is already in place for aluminium too. It makes it easy for the customer: it comes on the same lorry and all the functions of pricing and ordering is identical to the PVCu products.

How important will aluminium be in turnover terms? Ryan is budgeting for around 5% to 10% of turnover initially. Will it get to 50%? Very unlikely and it all depends on the market, but Ryan is realistic in that PVCu is their main product but they will follow the trends and opportunities that aluminium offers in the future. They want to offer quality products and, as he says, Emplas won’t be a bottom feeder!

Is this about attracting new customers? It’s clear from what Ryan says that the main aim is towards their existing customers and giving them additional products to sell, but there is an opportunity for new customers who want quality aluminium products to add to their portfolios.

Ryan Johnson always tells it as it is: he’s straightforward and doesn’t duck any questions and is well worth listening to….he’s also worth watching as lockdown has added to his hirsute look. Good news: hairdressers are back at work, Ryan!


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