Fabricator Pearl Window Systems is based in Lancashire – and its straight-talking, Northern owner Jeff Walsh is committed to achieving huge growth targets for the benefit of his family, his favourite charities and also his team of loyal workers at the factory in Bolton.
What you see is what you get
Following a background in windows fabrication, Jeff started Pearl in 1999. His philosophy was simple – to recruit a team based on personality and attitude.
“Skills can be learned, but it’s difficult to fake personality,” explains Jeff. “With Pearl, what you see is what you get – and that’s why people like doing business with us.”
From small ambitions…
Jeff’s ambitions were fairly small when Pearl switched on its first machine; with an initial aim of the regular production of 50 frames per week, he focused all his efforts on creating his fledgling business and getting it established in a competitive market.
Fast-forward to 2013, and Pearl Window Systems saw its busiest year ever – manufacturing over 2,500 frames per week to become the largest fabricator in the North West.
In 2012 we changed to Liniar system, which helped to open a lot more doors for us. The Liniar product range is second to none.
So how did he do it?
It hasn’t been an easy ride – the recession saw some difficult times at Pearl, and Jeff freely admits there have been setbacks along the way. “Having good industry contacts helped us, as well as making sure we established a good supply chain,” he says. “When you’re growing, you want to be sure your suppliers can keep up, otherwise you run the risk of letting your customers down a big no no for us.”
“In 2012 we changed over to Liniar systems, which helped to open a lot more doors for us. The Liniar product range is second to none and the thermal efficiency of the EnergyPlus system makes it particularly easy to sell, as the benefits and cost savings are clear to see.”
Now Pearl is offering the full Liniar product range, its sales are still increasing dramatically year on year. The example Jeff gives is that at the time of writing, weekly sales were up a staggering 71% compared to the same week last year.
This has been helped in no small way through Jeff’s partnership network. Recognising that installers needed extra support, Jeff established the network last year and has seen it go from strength to strength. Pearl not only gives its partners access to the latest products from the Liniar range, it assists with lead generation and sales and provides software to help streamline opeations, together with electronic ordering and pricing.
Cutting edge technology
In keeping with Liniar’s reputation for high-tech innovation, Jeff has designed and implemented a clever bespoke system for product tracking, giving each worker ownership and accountability at each stage of the manufacturing process.
Progress is tracked on large screens all around the facility so everyone can see production targets and this makes for a more productive and efficient factory
A great team
None of Pearl’s success could have been achieved without a great team of people, as Jeff is at pains to point out. There’s a real ‘open door’ policy at Pearl, and Anthony and Steve, his senior production managers, have both been with the company since they were 16 years old and developed through the ranks.
“I’m a big believer in rewarding commitment, and am confident that the team I have in place could actually run the business without me,” explains Jeff. “It comes back to my initial point about recruiting for personality – people sell to people, and this is an industry where trust is critical.”With that kind of outlook, Pearl looks set to smash even its own target of 3,000 windows per week before the year is up.