With a history spanning over half a century, Carl F Groupco understands that to succeed and expand in the UK’s hardware sector, it is essential to be professional in business services and proactive in product development while prioritising customer relations above everything else. In this article for Glass and Glazing Products magazine, Managing Director John Crittenden expands on this philosophy explaining the importance of providing a consultancy service and describing what this means in practical terms:
“It would be easy to assume that, as fittings suppliers, we are just ‘box shifters’ with a website, catalogue and a call centre but the reality is far from that. Of course, ‘box shifting’ is part of what we do, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg – we work with our customers to source products to fit their specification requirements, we advise on relevant standards, we assist manufacturers in development & testing and we pride ourselves on our On Time In Full delivery promise. In short, we position ourselves as consultancy partners for our customers.
With one of the largest ranges of big brand hardware names, we hold over £3 million of stock and over 1.95 million components for next day delivery. With distribution centres located in Peterborough and Cumbernauld, we operate on a national scale also supplying Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
We believe in providing tailored packages and we back this ethos with a catalogue of over 7,000 lines from leading manufacturers: this enables us to select from a huge pool of products to precisely meet our customers’ needs.
Within our door hardware category we offer lock solutions for standard residential, timber, composite, French, bi-fold, patio and electronic doors. We also provide door handles, cylinders and hinges plus emergency escape solutions, security add-ons and door furniture. Additionally, our own brand SmartSecure suite of solutions addresses demand for new generation electronic door locking and access control.
Catering for all window hardware requirements, we distribute locks, handles, stays and hinges along with remote window control systems, tilt & turn solutions, reversible gearing and security add-ons. To ensure a comprehensive selection, our catalogue extends to ventilation products, consumables and tools to relieve the burden of sourcing from multiple suppliers.
A Complementary Catalogue:
Every line in our catalogue is carefully sourced to complement other products; this enables us to provide packages to meet testing requirements, for example PAS 24. Of course, presenting the details of all these products and ensuring our staff are knowledgeable of all our lines is a challenge, but it is something that we rise to extremely well as an organisation. Our in-house sales staff are all trained to a high level in our hardware and this team supports our external Regional Sales Managers who are also highly educated in our product ranges. This means you have conversations with people who are experts in our lines, they know the questions to ask and they are able to tailor a solution to meet your precise needs.
Technical support is an important element of our consultancy service and throughout our history we have invested in going the extra mile regarding advice and assistance for our customers. This ethos is endorsed by Trombé, specialists in architectural design, structural glazing and extensions. Trombé selected us as a supply partner and have incorporated SmartSecure into their minimal frame sliding door system which required changing the usual fitting process to maintain the aesthetics of their profile. They were particularly impressed by the willingness of our technical team to provide guidance at every step of the process.
Offering expertise in standards and legislation is another area that positions us as consultancy service providers. We take the pain out of hardware purchasing and, as part of this philosophy, we ensure our products meet local standards: Glazpart’s 5000EQA is an excellent example as it supports The Building (Scotland) Regulations, which increased the required ventilation (EQA) for habitable rooms.
We also ensure that we understand the standards that impact hardware and we share this knowledge. One particularly significant development has been Document Q and continuing enhancements to security testing - for the benefit of our customers we have ensured that we are au fait with its implications on the UK’s hardware market.
Our main objective at Carl F Groupco is to set ourselves apart with the evolution of our catalogue to provide what is probably the UK’s widest range of high quality window and door hardware components. Equally important are our service and systems – yes these are an overhead and yes, it means constant training and investment, but we believe these are essential to differentiating our offer and supporting our remit of providing comprehensive consultancy support.”