Support Fabrictors: Five facets for look for in your hardware supplier

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When it comes to window and door fittings, Carl F Groupco is well placed to support and advise fabricators. With distribution centres in Peterborough and Cumbernauld, the company operates nationally serving the fabrication industry across all of the UK and Ireland - including the Scottish Highlands and Offshore Islands.

Formed in 2010, Carl F Groupco Limited resulted from the merger of two long-established hardware distributors with a combined history dating back to the 1950s. Carl F Groupco is one of the industry’s few privately owned distributors, which enables the organisation to be highly responsive to fabricator requirements and industry trends.

Technical Manager John Mitchell highlights the top five facets of a hardware distribution organisation that the company feels are key to supporting the industry. With a track record totalling over thirty years in the fenestration industry, including managing fabrication production lines, John plays a key role in Carl F Groupco’s team that provides fabricators with technical advice and support.


Consultancy service:

“To have a true fabricator focus, we believe it is essential that your distributor provides a full service. We appreciate that invariably there will be time pressures relating to your order. Additionally, consideration needs to be given to your customer’s requirements and the project’s overall objectives. As such, it is essential that your hardware distributor doesn’t just stock and ship products, you need your supplier to go the extra mile with advice and industry knowledge. A distributor needs to be a lot more than merely a warehouse – we recommend that you look for a consultancy service with experienced staff who are prepared to support you over the phone or on site.”


Product advice and technical support:

“The good hardware distributor will demonstrate strong partnerships with its manufacturer suppliers. Look for product training programmes provided by the distributor for all staff that interact with customers – we believe that it shouldn’t only be field personnel that are educated in the products we supply, we ensure that personnel in every department are knowledgeable about all of our ranges. Close manufacturer relationships ensure that we are fully trained in all the products we supply - if we can’t immediately answer a question, we get answers rapidly from our partners.”


Wide ranging advice including standards:

“It is essential that your hardware supplier is aware of new / imminent regulations, standards and legislation to understand the implications and to be in a position to share the most effective means of compliance.  We are well versed in the methods of testing and we work with our customers, hardware manufacturers and profile manufacturers to assist with testing needs. Security standards, such as PAS 24, TS 007 and TS 008, evolve rapidly and it is important that customers are advised on correct hardware to ensure their windows and doors are compliant and that they pass security tests.”


An extensive product range:

“At Carl F Groupco we know that, when it comes to hardware, choice is a primary consideration - time is of the essence and you need a one-stop-shop. With one of the industry’s most comprehensive ranges, we offer over 7,000 product lines. Sourcing only the best hardware from leading manufacturers, over £3 million of stock is held to ensure a rapid response. Combined, our warehouses hold almost 1.9 million components, which facilitates the despatch of around 3,000 orders per month.”


Delivery reliability:

“But none of the above is relevant if your distributor doesn’t commit to an On Time In Full Delivery philosophy. Excellent advice, an approachable, expert team and extensive choice means nothing if you can’t order in confidence – this is a key service that should be provided by any good hardware supplier.”

John Mitchell joined Carl F Groupco in January 2006. Previous roles have included the position of Production Manager for a major PVCu and aluminium window fabricator. Since joining the hardware supplier, he has become increasingly involved in technical committees including the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB).