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Trade Press Day 2022 (RPS): More and more “Service Friends”

Rottach-Egern / Leinfelden-Echterdingen – In 2022, the companies under the umbrella of Roto Frank Professional Service GmbH (RPS) have again achieved growth in the high two figures compared to the previous year. This was the result reported by Dr Christian Faden, CEO of the RPS, at the 17th International Trade Press Day of the Roto Group. He also expressed that he is very satisfied with the growth of the network to include new partners: “Our market coverage in Germany has once again improved substantially thanks to ‘Service Friends’, and we are working on founding a branch in Austria. We likewise have a strong position in Switzerland with two locations.” This doubly pleasing development has allowed the RPS to achieve an expected 50% growth in revenue by the end of the present business year, and is likely to provide further momentum for its development in 2023 as well.

Digitalisation improves efficiency

Dr Faden added that The RPS already boasts more than 20 locations in the German-speaking regions of Europe. All of the “Service Friends” situated at these locations are operating at very high capacity. The only sour note is that employees needed to quarantine for several days due to the coronavirus. “RPS companies make their income with services. As such, sick days represent a loss in revenue that can only be compensated for to a limited extent”, Dr Faden explained.

On the other hand, digitalisation of schedule and route planning provided a revenue boost by saving time, increasing efficiency and improving the services received by customers. “We do everything we can to ensure that fitters can make the best possible use of their working time. The added value for customers is likewise clear: Their ‘Service Friends’ arrive quickly and on time.” In future, the RPS will continue to capitalise on the opportunities presented by digitalisation for optimising business processes. “This requires substantial IT expertise, which we purchase and provide centrally for the network.”

Focus on IT security

In a time of massive attacks against IT infrastructures, this expertise is unfortunately also necessary in order to defend against cyber attacks and protect data against misuse. “Many tradespeople are left defenceless against these kinds of attacks, but our network partners can rely on professional support for issues regarding IT security.” Here, Dr Faden addressed one of the issues that regularly come up in discussions with companies wishing to sell their specialist company to RPS.

Other issues on the agenda included the question of succession, leadership and further development of the team, and safeguarding the economic sustainability of a company. “By building up a unique, performance-oriented team, the RPS is working to counteract the loss of expertise for services in the area of windows and doors”, emphasised Dr Faden. He went on to explain that offering employees an attractive, long-term opportunity in conjunction with systematic training is the ideal approach to helping to ensure that building elements in the German-speaking regions of Europe are well-maintained and repaired and remain in service for longer.  

Systematic approach to counteracting material shortages

The RPS also continuously works to further improve its professionalism in the areas of purchasing and procurement for “Service Friends”. Dr Faden cited the conclusion of frameworkand service level agreements with A-suppliers as an example of this. He pointed out that supplier monitoring, which is common practice in larger industrial companies, reduces the number of “unpleasant surprises” for network partners. Decentralised incoming goods inspection has been synchronised with centrally organised spare parts supply and material planning. This is supplemented by inventory control in accordance with the kanban system for minimum stock levels.

In his view, all of these aspects make an important contribution to ensuring that “Service Friends” are able to consistently meet deadlines and that material requirements at all locations can be met. “And if, in the worst case scenario, a bottleneck occurs with rare spare parts, we are still a network, and able to pragmatically provide help to each other.” This is why, not least in the last three years, the “Service Friends” have, in Dr Faden's assessment, performed better than many “lone wolves” in the trades.

Saving energy with thick windows

Dr Faden was optimistic in his outlook for the coming business year: He believed that it can be assumed that demand for repair or retrofitting of windows and doors will be even stronger in 2023 than ever before. “During the coronavirus lockdowns, people noticed that faulty windows or doors that do not close properly result in a loss of comfort. However, there is more at stake now. People who want and need to save energy see a draughty window as pure waste and a real cost driver.”

Since meetings of property owners in person – which were prohibited for infection control reasons in 2020 and 2021 – are now taking place, it is now also possible once again for contracts to be awarded for maintenance or retrofitting of building elements in apartment buildings, Dr Faden reported as another positive development. The fact that property owners were not permitted to make legally binding decisions in virtual meetings was initially a source of reduced earnings for RPS at the height of the pandemic.

Window and door check

“Unfortunately, not all owners and companies in the housing sector have invested in regular maintenance in the past”, Dr Faden noted. For this reason, he continued, the “Service Friends” have time and again come across windows that can only be restored to draught-free and reliable operation by replacing the hardware and sealing profiles outright.

On the 16th November – by which point attendees of the Roto Group Trade Press Day had already arrived – “Service Friend” Matthias Eberl, Managing Director of the Munich-based Pfeil und Söhne Sicherheits- und Fenstertechnik GmbH, showed a sample window demonstrating the state in which older, poorly maintained facade windows were sometimes found. “There is no doubt that in cases of such serious deficiencies, replacement of hardware and seals can help to save energy”, Dr Faden added, commenting on the striking “before and after” comparison. “However, many customers are astonished to discover how much this ‘rejuvenation treatment’ can improve operating convenience as well.”

Revitalisation for greater sustainability

By providing “revitalisation” of windows and doors, the companies of the RPS have contributed to increasing the satisfaction of tenants and the sustainability of the real estate sector, Dr Faden emphasised. “Tenants receiving building elements with glass profiles that offer an acceptable level of insulation is very much in line with the intention of the legislature. We do not want to waste heating energy, but we also want to avoid producing building waste.”

Even in cases where older windows need to be adapted to meet higher functional requirements, this can be achieved with the assistance of “Service Friends”. They also provide appropriate security hardware for most window system and every frame material, regardless of manufacturer, to repel uninvited guests, he added.

Functional upgrade

Even this kind of comprehensive “upgrade” for windows by “Service Friends” represents a low risk and investment for building owners or administrators, because this kind of work is not governed by the Gebäudeenergiegesetz (German Building Energy Act). “This produces no dirt, no plastering costs, no requirements for additional insulation in the reveal, etc. And of course no lost rental income”, summarised Dr Faden, listing the central benefits of window revitalisation.

Quick, solid solutions – implemented on schedule by trustworthy specialist tradespeople. “We are convinced that this ‘Service Friends’ business model will remain viable into the future and boasts a high level of customer focus”, explained the RPS CEO at the end of his speech. “And I myself am also certain that we will integrate more locations and dedicated companies into our network over the coming year. After all, many tradespeople want to be ‘High Performers’ and recognise the level of professionalism they could achieve as members of our service community.”