According to the National Federation for Roofing Contractors, in the final quarter of 2020 41% of roofing contractors reported a strong recovery in workload and 29% of firms confirmed a rise in enquiries. With this in mind, Stuart Stockley, Managing Director at Klober Group, shares how the business plans to help the industry succeed, as the country edges closer to a post-pandemic future, despite the fact all manufacturers have struggled to meet demand due to worldwide materials shortages.
Over the past 12 months, the roofing and construction industry has had to adapt. The impact of coronavirus has been felt by all, and the roofing sector is no exception. Through these uncertain times however, lessons have been learned and once more we are emerging stronger.
Traditional ways of working have continued to be challenged across the sector. A digital-first approach is being taken to ensure that accessing products, information, completing purchases, and arranging click and collect deliveries, can all be done safely and remotely.
Following Klober’s new website launch in 2020, more tools continue to be added to improve the way customers of all sizes can find support. Since this digital transformation, we have achieved our goal to help customers more easily access our product data. As a result, this has improved how quickly merchants and online businesses can find out about, list and effectively sell our products. These learnings have also supported Klober’s operations in Europe Furthermore, Klober will be adding to its roster of online resources in 2021, including Product Selectors to provide smart product guides, along with online training to help in the education of roofing contractors, and of merchants who are there to provide great service.
Accelerating investment into our customer service, and making it even easier to do business with Klober, has been one of the more positive outcomes of the “new normal”. So, while the majority of our colleagues are working from home, the quality of support has not faltered. We’ve been able to establish more efficient ways of communicating with our customers via mobile, desktop and dedicated hotlines. Underpinning all of this has, and will always be, our excellent people. To this end, we have made sure to keep investing in our teams.
As well as new ways of working, the industry has had to adapt to changing roofing market trends — most notably a rise in refurbishment projects. According to analysis of local authority planning data commissioned by Santander, there were over 60,000 applications for extensions and conversions from UK homeowners during the 13 weeks of the initial lockdown in 2020. To support both refurbishment and new build projects, Klober has continued to be a source of support and advice for customers. In 2021, more products will be added to our ranges to further Klober’s presence in the sector, beyond our traditional pitched roof heritage and linking customers to our wider portfolio categories, including flat roofing.
It isn’t just about what is happening in the UK, but also how our relationships globally will be imperative to the success of our industry in 2021. This relates back to Brexit, and how the country must still find ways to forge relationships with the rest of Europe, and the world, to mitigate the risk of supply issues. We are already doing this by utilising our reach across several different countries of production. Originally founded in 1960 in Germany, Klober now operates worldwide and it is this globalisation of our brand that will help to ensure security for all our markets, including in the UK.
Raising the roofing standard is what our industry must continue to do. Greater collaboration to address skills shortages, improving the environmental impact of construction, and delivering on government build targets, are all part of this. Klober is committed to being part of the solution and, together with the rest of the supply chain, we know we can strive for better in 2021 and beyond.