Andrew Cross – Marketing Manager of Klober, looks at growth areas for merchants in the roofing sector and what prompted the company to sponsor the BMN ‘Best training initiative’ award this year
The opportunity for Klober to become a sponsor of the 2017 BMN Awards was one which the company was glad to accept in support of its commitment to a growing network of stockists.
Pitched roofing continues to show a trend of healthy growth, particularly in relation to areas such as dry fixing, lead-free flashings and airtightness accessories. As a result, with the enormous amount of products on offer there’s a huge amount for merchants to know. As well as being kept aware of anything new, they need regular information on what has changed and how legislation may affect the products they sell. This is just as true of long-established brands for which innovations in technology, manufacturing techniques and raw materials provide the means to make ongoing improvements. Understanding how and why products are used also tends to have a positive impact on sales so provision of training free of charge is a something that Klober has committed to providing for a number of years. This takes place either at its Castle Donington HQ or in-branch so, not surprisingly, the decision to sponsor the ‘Best Training Initiative’ award was unanimous.
For mainstream manufacturers like Klober, research and development doesn’t stop with the launch of a new product. Improvements made to improve existing lines are often minor but no less important and can affect features such as durability, flexibility, weather resistance, dimensional stability and colour retention. The company’s ability to carry out in-depth technical research stems from the fact that it has access to testing facilities in Germany which are considered to be the best in Europe. As a result, products can be expected to withstand the widely varied and extreme weather conditions encountered throughout Europe.
Such continuous assessment ensures that long-established products such as Roll-Fix® have always provided consistently high performance. The development process ultimately involves interaction with roofers prior to a final launch to ensure that each and every development meets with approval. Once launched, subsequent training sessions put products to the ultimate test as those who will either sell, install or specify get the chance to use them.
Innovation in underlay technology
Innovation has always been at the heart of Klober research, enabling products such as the air-open underlay Permo® air to maintain its position as the market’s most ‘breathable’ membrane. Air-open underlays ventilate a roof space without supporting high level ventilation, in contrast to the dozens of BBA-certified vapour permeable products which, while effective, cannot always offer the standard of performance required by the NHBC and British Standards.
The launch of the only vapour permeable underlay specifically for use below the minimum pitch recommended for a specific tile or slate is also one which has established new sales opportunities. On extensions where existing pipework or windows define the pitch this therefore guarantees that the same tiles can be used as those on the main roof. Permo extreme RS SK2 has to act as a weatherproofing layer in its own right and this makes it makes it ideal for plain tiles which would otherwise need to be laid at 35-40⁰. This added value for builders and roofers has resulted in more than a million square metres of the product being sold to date.
Extension of roof ventilation heritage
Klober entered the roofing market more than 50 years ago and as part of the Braas Monier Group has to fulfil high consumer expectations of its products. Feedback from merchants and installers confirmed that its package could be extended and as a result, a comprehensive range of vents has recently been introduced for use in wall and floors. It includes through-the-wall vent sets, weep and face-fit vents, interlocking airbricks, liners, extensions, converters and ductings. Designed for both new build and renovation use, products are available to provide general background ventilation or be used with fires, central heating and plumbing applications.
A large proportion of Klober products now have a history of proven performance, something which is critical for any product but particularly one such as a lead-free flashing. Those on offer vary dramatically and have given lead manufacturers ammunition to describe them as all as ‘generally low in performance’. Some have no backing adhesive at all and only those with a high quality facing and backing adhesive such as Klober’s Wakaflex offer scope for stretching by 40-50%.
Point of sale
A clearly critical facet of trade counter promotion, PoS design is a key feature of Klober’s 2017 marketing activities. Products such as Wakaflex are benefitting from considerable user recommendation and sales are forecast to see a further boost with every branch that trials the new PoS being developed for it. Sponsorship of such a high profile event can only draw further attention to such work and the training that Klober provides and we are keenly anticipating this year’s entries.