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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Expert Comments
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Keylite Roof Windows Comment: Q1 2022

At the end of 2021, we reported exceptional demand for roof windows. This prompted most suppliers to put their customers on allocation to ensure available capacity was shared fairly across their customer base. To an extent, this may have prompted over ordering and an artificial spike in order intake.

Keylite though was able to ensure all customers received an allocation at least equal to historic sales levels, and above that, for partnering merchants to enable them to grow.

At our manufacturing site, we significantly increased production output to meet the additional demand, resulting in the backlog of orders being completely cleared by the end of Q1. Aside from catching up, underlying sales demand was approximately in line with our forecasts for 2022.

Entering Q2, the good news is that customer allocation has ended, lead times have returned to normal and stocks for the UK & Ireland market are in a healthy position. Raw material and labour availability has returned to normal levels. What could possibly go wrong?

Looking forward, there is an understandable level of concern from the trade and merchants at what the rest of 2022 holds. Inflation is taking hold and industry analysts are busy revising down their growth forecasts, with RMI in particular being reduced. There are positives however: housebuilders remain buoyant, demand for quality housing remains strong and the cost of borrowing is extremely low compared to the long term average.

As a nation we remain aspirational, while as an industry we have shown ourselves to be resilient, time and time again. Most of us have improved the robustness of our supply chains and are focused on reversing as much material inflation as possible. There will need to be further price increases though. The Ukrainian conflict has had an immediate impact on input costs, largely driven by the energy crisis. However, we will be cautious not to dampen demand and are committed to asking only for what we need.

It is simpler to comment on what has happened than predict what will happen but, whatever 2022 brings, we will continue to work hard to support our merchant partners to ensure we prosper together.