Leinfelden-Echterdingen - (rp) “The coronavirus crisis hasn’t managed to slow us down yet. On the contrary, our expectations for the current business year have actually been exceeded.” This is how Christoph Hugenberg summarised the development of the Roof System Technology division (DST) during the 15th International Roto Trade Press Day at the start of November 2020. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the roof window producer reported, this is reflected in greatly improved turnover figures and earnings compared to the previous year. One reason for this is the significant growth of the renovation market in German-speaking regions. In order to maintain this positive trend, even with the coronavirus pandemic expected to last long into next year, Roto has to, however, “always deliver top performance in all areas”.
According to the latest studies, a decline of a good 2% is to be expected for global construction development in 2020 due to the coronavirus. With regard to construction volume, Western Europe above all experienced a more pronounced decline predicted to be -6.9% compared to other regions around the world. According to surveys by the B+L Institute, new construction is declining in particular. Experts are not expecting to see an upward trend in the completion rates of single-family houses and apartment buildings in Germany until 2022 at the earliest.
Success despite the general trend
The situation in the renovation sector could not be more different: according to Hugenberg, this market – which is relevant to Roto DST – is benefiting in particular from the tradespeople capacity that has been freed up. For this reason, it has been possible to further improve the encouraging economic development at the company which was reported in previous years. For Germany, this means double-digit turnover growth, which the external finishing segment plays a major role in. In Western Europe, there is a significant trend towards online and direct sales, which is putting professional sales channels under extreme pressure. This is why we have scaled back our own activities. By contrast, the Head of DST is very happy with business in Eastern Europe “once more”. A high single-digit turnover increase has been recorded here.
The single-digit rise in Southern Europe is also considered a success. Firstly, this growth bucks the negative market trend, especially in Switzerland. Secondly, Italy is also experiencing positive development despite shutdown of construction activities lasting several months. In the classic export business, it was ultimately possible to speak of a good result in Ukraine, Portugal and the Baltic states and to maintain the turnover level from the previous year on the whole despite two months of border closures. Hugenberg: “In the next few weeks and months, it will be important to secure these strong foundations to cope with the difficult market conditions and changes. Close incorporation of our sales partners in their respective countries plays a major role in this.”
Positive “ProfiLiga” result
In the second part of his presentation, the Chairman of the Board of Directors explained to the specialist journalists from Germany and abroad who tuned in via livestream what the complete focus on benefits for customers will look like in future under changed circumstances. Under the title “From the amateur league to the Champions League with Roto’s ‘ProfiLiga’”, he firstly gave an overview of the most important milestones of the customer club, which was founded in 2006. The range of services to provide added benefits to members cover express delivery and support with professional corporate identity and branding through to an in-house training programme and a shop with a rewards scheme.
The lean management workshops and the “RotoQ” pivoting window launched in 2015 also generated a positive response. Roof windows, which are popular with builders and renovators, meet the demands and requirements of professionals down to the last detail, which is ultimately what makes them so successful. The support services are currently geared towards assistance with networked devices, lead management and digital marketing. These are topics that have come to the forefront partly because of the coronavirus pandemic and partly because of the possibilities afforded by modern technology.
New service package for new challenges
“Customer expectations are increasing alongside the changes we are experiencing,” continued Hugenberg, naming 24/7 accessibility, professional digital consultation and tools, and simple communication as examples. Changing legal and social conditions, for instance with regard to funding programmes, documentation obligations or security provisions, call for a partner that can help adapt to these changes. “For us, this was and is reason enough to present a completely new, six-part service package. From 2021, it will create real added value in day-to-day work for our professional partners,” announced the Head of DST. His aim and conviction are as follows: “We are creating a crucial market advantage for market partners, therefore ensuring a strong joint performance.”