Mackenzie Glass has continued to invest in the development of its product offer since the end of the now first Lockdown, in March.
At a time when glass shortages have dominated the headlines, Mackenzie Glass, has successfully built its portfolio to include more than 200 different glass types from stock – something which it says gives it the UK’s largest product offering.
“We’re not the biggest”, says Mark Herbert, Joint Managing Director, Mackenzie Glass, “we don’t do the same volumes that some of our larger competitors do, but if we’re talking ‘range’, different types of glass, I genuinely believe that we are the largest by some way.
“Nine times out of 10, we can supply it direct from stock and if we can’t, we’ll do our best to get it” he says
Global giant, NSG, sold its Pilkington Bristol business to Mackenzie Glass at the end of 2017. Supplying more than one million square metres of flat glass a year with a turnover in excess of £5m, the deal saw assets and employees transferred to Mackenzie for an undisclosed sum, Mackenzie Glass also assuming new status as the first Pilkington Regional Partner.
Despite this, the company remains an independent glass merchanting business. This means that while Mackenzie Glass’ stock portfolio is heavily slanted to Pilkington, it is not beholden to it as a single source supplier, holding product in stock from other major suppliers Saint Gobain, Guardian and AGC, amongst others.
“We’ve been very well supported by Pilkington and our other suppliers throughout the year but as everyone knows, there have been shortages of certain products, which we have been able to manage by working with multiple supply partners as an independent supplier.
He added that this meant that its stock levels have remained largely unaffected despite shortages, contributing to the growth seen by the business.
“We were aware that people were being let down on supply but we never were, which meant that we continue to be able to offer highly reliable supply to our customers”, Mark says.
A number of strategic decisions, pre-Lockdown, also played out to the glass merchant’s advantage. This included the addition of 4,500mX3,210mmm over-sized 8.8, 10.8 and 11.5mm laminate to its range. Offered in addition to standard stock sheets of 3.2mX2.5m in 6.4mm to 14.8mm laminates.
Demand seen from the commercial sector in particular, driving the increase in sales the company has seen since restrictions were eased.
The installation of a second Boterro laminate cutting table, also introducing new capacity to handle ‘super-sized’ 4.5m X 3.2m laminated sheets.
Mackenzie Glass’ has also seen increased demand for mirrored products, extending its range to includes more than 25 different options, ranging from standard 3mm to 6mm silvered; Safety-backed products; greys, bronzes, pinks, golds, champagne, black tints; and Italian Antique. 4mm-15mm satin glass is also kept in stock.
This is consistent with a strategy which has focussed on supplying value-added products to the market. “We haven’t simply added product to our range for the sake of it. We’ve tried to pick out those products from suppliers right around the globe, which deliver added-value.
“For example, products such as acoustic laminates like Pilkington Optiphon which we’ve seen a massive increase in demand for in the last year, or MirroView, MirroPane, in addition to other products like Optiview. Products which deliver increased value to our customers”, adds Mark
“The other big area for us has been in fire glass”, he continues: “In addition to Pyrodur and Pyrostock from Pilkington, we’ve also committed to a new partnership with Pyroguard, which means that we can offer a second market-leading fire-glass range.
“This has been important given the growth seen within the market and issues surrounding availability since we started back after lockdown.”
Mark argues that the shortages that have more generally defined glass supply this year are likely to continue into 2021. “The industry got caught out by the V-shape recovery and because maintenance programmes had already reduced supply.
“We had pressure on 4mm and now in autumn 8mm and 10mm, reflecting where float glass manufacturers are in their production campaigns.
“If we look ahead to 2021, further float line cold maintenance cycles are planned in the UK next year, which would limit supply at a time when demand shows little sign of slowdown. We believe that that will mean the supply chain will continue to be under pressure for much of the year.”
“That’s going to create challenges in the onward supply chain in winter and spring and highlight the value of long-term and strategic supply partnerships.”