Listening to Rob McGlennon’s dulcet tones you could almost be persuaded by anything he says, and without realising you are having your leg lifted! But the MD of Deceuninck UK talks an awful lot of sense and is very open about his company’s performance and the difficulties we have all experienced over the past year. Rob is a glass half full kind of guy and is a firm believer in playing the cards as they are dealt, whether it’s Covid, Brexit or anything else that is thrown at us. As ever, he is well worth listening to as he talks with Glass News’ Editor, Chris Champion.

November time and thinking of budgets? How do you budget for 2021? Will next year be good or bad? Rob McGlennon has strong views as, as he says, everyone is currently punching above their weight and Deceuninck has experienced volumes never seen before. Vaccines are on the horizon but we’ll have this virus around for some time but his view is that we’ve learned how to cope with restrictions and how to provide safety for our staff and customers, so 2021 will be more of the same. His belief is that we are well positioned within the fenestration industry to remain working safely.

And does that mean Deceuninck are planning for growth in 2021, as they do every year?

As Rob says, bad news seems to be good for our industry! Everyone was forecasting a serious downturn post March 2020 and what have we got? Customers with full order books and installers who usually work on a forward order book of two months now booked out until Easter 2021. According to Rob it is looking positive for next year and it’s worth listening to his take on house prices, interest rates and what homeowners will spend their money on in the coming year.

Amongst all this, Brexit is still there although it has taken a back seat in newsworthiness. Deceuninck, with its bosses in Belgium, must be looking at Brexit with more trepidation than most. However, Rob McGlennon has firm thoughts on a deal being done and is looking at the Brexit issue positively. Rob has a very sanguine view that we are all in business and the politics are left to the politicians – there is nothing we can do about it and will simply have to work with what is placed in front of us. But has the threat on import and export duties and putting plans in place slowed Deceuninck’s development plans for products? It seems not.

Is colour and flush sashes still the big sellers? And where does colour now rank against the white finish? Over six years colour, in production terms, has increased from 30% to nearer 70%. Where does that stop and will we in the UK mimic Europe where 70% colour is the ceiling?

Operating the warehouse much like a supermarket, Deceuninck picks stock from the shelves and replaces that stock continuously. Has that been difficult? Has it been difficult maintaining resin supplies? Over the past five months Deceuninck have been up, year on year, by 35% so Rob admits it hasn’t been easy to replenish stock. Teamwork and experience has proved more valuable than automation at Deceuninck and when they hit a difficulty they work through it, always remembering that the customer is king.

30 colourways from stock. Has Deceuninck managed to maintain this? Rob is very open about the pressures on keeping to lead times and even more investment is being made as growth is fully expected to continue in 2021. And new products – will we see new products appearing, generally, in 2021? Will Deceuninck have anything new? The answer to that is very clear and that is that will be no surprises as they work closely with their customers and produce what their customers need. No rabbits out of the hat!

Recycling? How does that work and how green can we become as an industry? Rob McGlennon is very positive about the way the industry is going and emphasises how we, as a country, need to get back to being positive about everything and especially the future.

And what of the next 5 years? It’s all looking good for the fenestration industry. Rob believes that industry consolidation is at an end and it’s all about looking forward. Rob McGlennon, for one, is pleased to be in this industry rather than other industries that are struggling through these difficult times!


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