Bohle’s Managing Director Dave Broxton explains why communication is key when the market recovers.

Now we have a new government, does that mean a wand has been waved and we will see the brakes removed from the economy and we will all benefit from booming business?

Unlikely, but we are almost guaranteed five years of stability, which should give people the confidence to invest – whether homeowners, organisations with property portfolios, or the public sector. And we will be watching carefully to see how new policies (a new approach to planning laws for example) will affect stalled projects.

Demand picking up?

The general election aside, we are coming to the end of a particularly difficult period. While Q1 was remarkably slow, demand did start to pick up in Q2. All eyes are now on the second half of the year, where we should see several positive things happen at once.

The signs are that inflation will continue to level off near the Bank of England’s target rate of 2%, which should pre-empt a steady reduction in the Bank’s interest rate, thus driving down the cost of borrowing. The expectation is that this should kick-start the housing market (coinciding conveniently with the regular uptick in activity in Q3), which typically drives an increase in home improvement projects.

At Bohle we don’t expect exceptional growth; all the indicators are that the market will be slow until the end of this year. At the end of April, the CPA forecast a ‘construction recession’ this year, and a 2.1% growth in 2025.

What does that mean for us and our customers? Well, the obvious takeaway is that confidence is returning to the market. Exactly how and when we’ll feel the effect of that in the construction and home improvement industries is up for debate. What is more clear, though, is the need to be prepared.

There is mounting evidence from industry analysts, such as the CPA and ONS, that those firms most likely to be hardest hit are those with a narrow field of expertise.

With this in mind, we are talking to our customers, to ensure that we are following the same journey they are, and to offer opportunities they may not initially see. For example, there is steady growth in the demand for internal partitioning and internal sliding doors, which is a market sector that is accessible to window and glass companies.

Our easy-to-install, yet incredibly high-value MasterTrack internal sliding door system has been an inspiration for customers who have wanted to bring more light into internal spaces, while partitioning off living areas.

Designed to accommodate glass thicknesses between 8mm and 12.76mm and maximum weights of 150kg, MasterTrack can be either be wall-mounted or ceiling hung. Capable of being installed in as little as 10 minutes thanks to an easy-to-use clamp system, it is suitable for home improvement and light commercial sectors.

MasterTrack also uses a patented hydraulics system and a double-sided spring to slow the door in a single, ultra-smooth operation.

And a stand out product at the 2023 FIT Show – which still remains popular today – is our FrameTec 2.0 glass partitioning system, because it was designed and built to support fast and cost-efficient installation using a modular design and easy-fix system.

If homeowners are installing bi-folds that bring in more light, they will be interested in opening up the interior, and the FrameTec 2.0 system creates that opportunity, offering installers excellent margins in the process.

The right conversations

We value face-to-face events, like the FIT Show, because it gives us that opportunity to talk to existing and new customers. This is why we held an open day at our showroom and training centre near Manchester earlier this year. It’s all well and good designing and manufacturing new products, but they need to be a) suitable for your customers’ projects, and b) you’ve got to train your customers on how to install them.

And having these conversations early can help head any future challenges off at the pass. For example, as expected, we are still seeing some pressures on the market thanks to imports from the Far East.

But we know that price is only part of the equation. Our field sales team stays close to our customers, and they know that quality remains paramount, as does a secure supply chain from Germany – we’ve seen what can happen when long-distance supply chains start to break down.

By keeping those lines of communication open, we can respond to market conditions swiftly and decisively, which is what will help us – and our customers – make the most of the opportunities when the market picks up again later this year.

For more about Bohle’s product and service offer, including the latest Home Improvements brochure, visit www.bohle.com  email info@bohle.ltd.uk or call the customer services team free on 0800 616151 for more information.

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