Hörmann UK has recently acquired the Fen-Bay Group, which includes the TransDek business.
Wolfgang Gorner, Managing Director of Hörmann UK, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News about what Fen-Bay will add to the existing Hörmann business.
What attracted you to the Fen-Bay Group to make you want to acquire it at this time?
There are two very important points. Fen-Bay absolutely turbo charges our service offering in the UK, giving us a combined service engineer workforce of nearly one hundred with true national coverage. Fen-Bay themselves have a very good reputation in the marketplace, they are very well established, and we don’t intend to change that – they will continue to trade as Fen-Bay.
I would describe TransDek as a hidden jewel because it is a company that has been going for many years and they produce innovative, niche high end dock solutions. The exciting part for TransDek is they have started in the last two or three years to sell their product into mainland Europe, now with Hörmann behind them we can really drive the side of the business forward. It is also a product range that we do not make ourselves, so we have gained a powerful new product portfolio which has a fantastic reputation in the UK. You would struggle to find any retailers that are not supplied by TransDek.
What will the Fen-Bay business add to the existing Hörmann business?
It gives us a critical mass on the service side, and it also augments our installation service as Fen-Bay install a lot of products. So, it gives us a critical mass which we never had before. It also gives us a valuable additional brand within the UK. Our plan is very much to promote and support the Fen-Bay brand – why wouldn’t we? The team at Fen-Bay are very passionate about what they do, and I like that. Businesses are about people and if you can see a passion within the business, that’s great. They are all very proud of what they have achieved, and I know they are equally very proud to be part of the Hörmann group. However, I have to tell everybody to keep their feet on the ground because we have a lot of hard work ahead of us – but the fundamentals are right.
What are your most recent product innovations?
There are two game changers, one is the Series 60 sectional door, which replaces our Series 50. It is the fastest industrial sectional door on the market, with a speed of one metre per second, with a comparative speed test now available to view on our YouTube channel. We are offering the functionality of a sectional door but with the speed of a high-speed door.
The other big innovation is the use of Smart and Bluetooth control. Bluetooth control allows for the setting up of one of our operators via the Hörmann app on your smartphone. The engineer does not have to work directly in the control panel, they can work remotely. The Smart control allows for remote interrogation of our doors and can alert our Service team to the number of cycles a door has completed and any operational issues that may arise.
What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?
The biggest challenge at the moment is trying to manage customers’ expectations. There is a real bottle neck in the UK, caused by an abundance of work, with simply not enough contractors out there to do the work. We are having to hold people by the hand and help them move their projects forward. We have had to be able to turn around tenders very quickly and be flexible in terms of our workforce so that we can deal with any site delays, particularly in the last 12 months. We are fortunate as we have a large skilled workforce and are able to move our teams around.
The other trend is building in a high level of I.T. and automation into our products. Everyone carries a smart phone so with the provision of our Bluetooth control and Smart technology engineers now are able to interrogate and configure the doors via their smart phones.
What are your plans to grow the business in 2022?
The challenge is to ensure we remain the supplier of choice. There is sufficient work out there so that both us and the industry could have a very good year. There are plenty of projects which have either started and haven’t come out of the ground yet or are on somebody’s drawing board. However, we don’t intend to sit on our laurels, whether it is a developer right through to an engineer, we want to show them we are the supplier of choice.
Are you a nice company to do business with?
Yes, because we are very proud of what we do and of the products we can supply. Our business model is very simple. If we look after the main contractors, the clients, and the developers they are more likely to use us in the future. You could have good products and be quite an arrogant company to deal with, but we are here to work closely with our customers and deliver the project so we will bend over backwards to make sure we can assist everyone to deliver that project on time. Your reputation is only as good as your last job.
The Hörmann academy started in 2019. Is there any news on how you are going to develop the academy?
We have restarted face to face training, albeit in smaller numbers and we have already published a face-to-face training programme for this year. Looking forward my plan is to enlarge that training facility. At the moment the training facility is shared between industrial and domestic, so we are looking to separate the two. Domestic will get its own training area which allows us to increase the space and the coverage of products for the industrial side of the business.
Our core message this year is the Hörmann Difference – what makes us different to all the other suppliers out there. I think it is the added value that we offer. One element is training, so we have invested in a fantastic training suite where engineers can take products apart and put them back together and now have plans to develop this further. It is very hands-on and extremely popular with the market.