Expert for Roof Windows

Jim Blanthorne

Managing Director

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Jim Blanthorne

With a career spanning 20 years in the supply of building materials to merchant and retail customers, including 14 years in a senior capacity at Metsa Group, Jim brings extensive construction industry experience to this category. Recently appointed to Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows, Jim joined the Keystone Group in 2016 as International Operations Director for the business. During this time he has led the development and implementation of ambitious investment programmes to progress and future proof the business. Central to Jim’s approach and drive is his passion for exceptional customer service, people development and operational excellence.

Keylite Roof Windows

Keylite Roof Windows was established in Cookstown, Northern Ireland in 2001, as a subsidiary of the Keystone Group. Today it is the fastest growing roof window manufacturer in Europe and one of the biggest brands in the UK roof windows market. This success is largely a result of a company which has been driven by an ingrained and intuitive spirit of innovation, continuous investment in R&D and a total commitment in putting the customer at the heart of its business.

Renowned for its award winning innovations, Keylite believes in continually adding value to the Keylite Roof Window as standard without compromise. A combination of unique patented technologies such as the Integrated Expanding Thermal Collar, Flick Fit Brackets, Unique Sash Finger Spring and recessed fit feature in every window.

Keylite offers a full range of roof windows products, designed for every size and category of building project, an extensive range of genuine Keylite Blinds, as well as roof window accessories including timber loft ladders, flashings and electric operation kits. Ongoing expansion of the range includes a range of flat roof solutions including Roof Lanterns, Flat Glass Rooflights and Sunlite systems.

The business has over 300 employees across its sites, with offices in Northern Ireland and Burton Gateway, South Derbyshire. The relocation in 2019 to brand new 40,000 sq ft office and warehouse premises at Burton Gateway greatly enhances Keylite’s ability to service and supply the UK and Ireland markets more effectively. Keylite’s roof windows are manufactured in Poland, in a 160,000 sq ft factory which has benefited from a significant investment programme during recent years, significantly improving the safety, quality and reliability of manufacturing activity.

Find out more at www.keyliteroofwindows.com or visit the Keystone Group website at www.keystonegroup.co.uk

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Keylite Roof Windows Comment: Q2 2021

Jim Blanthorne Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.

Anyone who hoped the challenges facing our sector would disappear during Q2 will have been disappointed. Throughout our industry, we continued to see strong demand with exceptional raw material supply issues.

Sales performance in the quarter was consistently high, ahead of last year for obvious reasons but also well ahead of forecast, driven by strong demand from new build and RMI. The clock was ticking on UK Government stimulus of the property market, prompting property transactions at their highest level since the 2008 financial crisis and extraordinary demand on the construction product sector. Early in the quarter, the Republic of Ireland ended the lockdown of all but essential construction activity allowing a welcome recovery in volumes from this market.

The healthy sales volume put yet more pressure on an already strained supply chain. The roof window category has a relatively long supply chain and exposure to a truly global marketplace. This brought challenges including Covid capacity reductions, shipping delays and commodities in high demand, such as timber and electronic chips, which were diverted to whichever market was willing to pay the highest price. None of the broad range of materials used in the manufacture of roof windows have been immune to supply disruption this year. Meanwhile, the substantial material cost inflation we referenced last quarter gathered pace putting an unsustainable squeeze on margins. Unfortunately, with supplier Summer shutdowns looming and consumer confidence remaining high, normality looks unlikely in the near term.

So, we hear of supply issues including product allocations and extended lead times. Here at Keylite, our operations and supply chain teams work incredibly hard to keep new stock arriving, using our relative agility to largely shelter customers from these measures. We continue with our ‘invest in stock’ strategy for raw materials and finished goods. This has enabled us to weather the disruption and continue growing. The significant investments we made in factory capacity in recent years have proved invaluable in reducing reaction time while also automating processes to ensure the highest levels of safety and quality.

We will continue investing in both stock and manufacturing capacity to support our customers in advance of what we expect to be a strong second half.