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Trade Press Day 2021 (DST): Roof window producer grows and takes action

Velbert / Düsseldorf – The continuity of good years has been maintained in 2021 too. This is reflected in double-digit turnover growth again, a further improved profit situation and the acquisition of market shares, despite starting from a high level. This is how Christoph Hugenberg summarised the development of the Roof System Technology (DST) division during the Roto Group’s 16th International Trade Press Day in mid-November 2021. As the CEO of the roof window producer explained, the upward trend was apparent in most relevant markets.

Nevertheless, the construction industry, which had previously remained unscathed from most of these problems, is now beginning to face some issues. This makes it more difficult to predict the outlook for 2022. The greatest challenges at present are without a doubt the dramatic increase in the price of materials, including those of raw materials, due to considerable supply bottlenecks. We will have to wait and see how the “exploding construction costs” caused by this exact situation have affected private investment in residential construction. At present, ensuring Roto DST’s good delivery capability currently has “absolute priority”, as this is currently the decisive factor for customers.

Disproportionate inventory build-up

Hugenberg emphasised the flourishing renovation market as the driving force behind the roof window business. The impressive growth is mainly the result of people’s homing tendency due to the pandemic, the government funding schemes for renovation of buildings to high energy performance standards, and the fact that tradespeople are available in this sector. However, the availability of tradespeople in this sector cannot hide the fact that the distinct shortage of skilled labour in the trade industry generally limits future growth prospects in construction.

The Head of DST firstly elaborated on the core market of Germany in his detailed overview. According to estimates from BauInfoConsult, the volume of private renovations increased by 6.5 per cent in 2021. The company’s own turnover growth clearly surpassed this figure and returned to double digits. It must be noted that the retail and trade sectors have kept their stock levels disproportionately high over the last few months due to the generally scarce availability of materials. The order volumes in summer far exceeded actual end customer requirements and the installation capacity of roofing professionals. This is why the imminent flattening of the order curve is no surprise.

On the rise everywhere

Hugenberg described business in Europe as “completely positive” on balance. This is illustrated by the development in the individual regions. For instance, all Western European countries have recorded double-digit turnover growth. The market upturn is mainly based on the recovery registered after the various lockdown phases. A “significant turnover increase” can be reported for Eastern Europe, with the region achieving a new record level after already having performed well over the past few years. This is boosted by the acquisition of market shares in all countries, which is thanks to successful market cultivation.

In addition, there is a “very positive turnover trend” in all Southern European countries. The greatest increase was recorded in Italy. The above-average project business in Austria and Switzerland is also worthy of special mention. Double-digit growth is a result that has also been achieved by classic exports. The forerunners here are the Baltic countries and Spain. Hugenberg emphasised that the markets benefited from the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions. His conclusion: “We should not and will not be blinded by our success. Instead, what matters is always responding quickly and flexibly to changes in view of the challenging market conditions.”

How Roto helps customers

The CEO took the new “ProfiLiga” programme as an example when explaining and illustrating the important role of digitalisation in the producer’s customer-oriented added value strategy to the around 75 domestic and international media representatives who were either attending the event in person or tuning in online. The partner programme remains geared towards roofers and carpenters and is available to them free of charge 24/7. The digitalised offer can be accessed and used at any time via an online portal or the app.

The initiative pursues the aim of providing club members with the best possible support regardless of the size of their business and offering them comprehensive assistance with a fully redesigned portfolio of services. Providing end customers with straightforward and expert advice, unlocking new business potential and boosting profits – these long-term effects for roofing professionals are what matter. The key statement is: “The partnership with Roto is designed to help our customers in concrete terms.”

True to the motto “performance pays off”, companies can earn points to “qualify” for the three partner levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold by purchasing roof windows, equipment and stairs, including flat roof access stairs. In turn, they can freely choose from a wide range of assistance services. They are split up into the categories of digital advisory tools, training and events, marketing, VIP services and rewards.

Shared digital success

The Head of DST showcased some elements of the service package as an example. For instance, the marketing portal makes it possible to easily and quickly configure customisable print and advertising material. Access to social media and online marketing instruments also ensures a professional appearance and therefore increased visibility among end customers. The daylight selector shows builders and renovators different room situations before and after installing a roof window. Incorporated into a company’s own website, it also helps acquire new customers. The funding service, in turn, simplifies the entire procedure when using government funds for renovation projects. This boosts customer satisfaction and retention, increases turnover and profits and also creates a “tangible” competitive advantage. To sum it up, the new Roto “ProfiLiga” programme is proof that shared digital success works in practice and demonstrates how this is possible.