Liverpool city region window and door maker Warwick North West has seen revenues rocket to £12m and is now looking to accelerate growth further by targeting the social housing sector. Tony McDonough reports
Window and door maker Warwick North West says it sees growth in the social housing sector as key to accelerating its own growth.
Greg Johnson, managing director of the Bootle-based manufacturer, has overseen significant revenue growth since taking over the helm in 2021, with revenues rising from £10m to almost £12m.
Now despite fierce cost pressures faced by the business, including the cost of glass alone soaring by 43%, Greg believes with continuing tight control of costs the business can continue to prosper in 2024.
He says Warwick North West is ready to invest up to £500,000 in new machinery and fleet vehicles adding the firm will look to create new jobs next year.
“We have been analysing industry data,” he said. “Figures from construction insight specialist Glenigans suggest an improving economy in 2024 which fills me with optimism for the coming year and beyond.
“Despite sales in the window manufacturing industry falling by 23% in 2023, Glenigans believes there will be a modest growth of 4% in private housebuilding in 2024 and 11% in 2025.
“And a figure we have taken particular note of is the forecast that the social housing sector will grow by 7% in 2024. We are increasingly becoming the ‘go-to’ window firm for social housing builders.
“There is a chronic shortage of affordable homes in Liverpool city region and a number of housing associations are looking to address this. We are providing them and their contractors with quality, and affordable, windows and doors. It is important that spend stays in the city region.”
Greg took over Warwick unexpectedly in late 2021 when his father, Brian Johnson, was diagnosed with cancer. Brian had run the business since 2008 and a decision was taken to promote Greg to managing director.
In October Greg told LBN he initially felt overwhelmed by the responsibility. He had spent several years learning the ropes from the shop floor at the insistence of his dad. He knew the business inside out, but it was a big step-up nonetheless.
“Those early days were tough… no amount of technical knowledge can prepare you for the huge burden of responsibility that suddenly lands on your shoulders,” said Greg.
But with the support of the “wisdom and experience” of Warwick’s management team, he soon grew into the role and has since thrived in the role. In November that achievement was recognised when Greg was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Downtown in Business Livercool Awards in Liverpool.
He added: “Being recognised for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ is an honour – the achievement is testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team at Warwick North West, and I would like to express my gratitude to Downtown in Business for their support.”
Greg added Warwick was also excited about growth in the aluminium market. He explained: “We manufactured aluminium windows for the first time this year and turnover on aluminium products currently stands at £1.2m at the end of month eight.
“Our aluminium range will allow us to explore other avenues next year such as regeneration projects on heritage sites across Liverpool city region.”
Warwick is also looking to take advantage of the continued push towards net zero carbon and high energy efficiency standards for residential buildings.
Its new investment will be focused on increasing output of manufacturing its innovative window system Modus. This can achieve lower ‘Uvalues’. The Uvalue is a critical industry measure. The lower the number, the better the window’s insulation performance will be.
“A seven-chambered system (compared to most six-chambered pvc window systems) coupled with a triple glazed unit gets us to the low Uvalue that can achieve the Government’s 2025 future homes standards,” said Greg.
“The upgrade of our vehicle fleet will allow us to increase load size and load weight to accommodate for the additional weight in glass.
“The machinery will make us more efficient and allow us to increase capacity potentially by 20% to accommodate for the further increase in sales to housing associations and regional housebuilders.”
In terms of recruitment Greg says Warwick will continue to work with two Merseyside-based workforce development organisations, Nobody Left Behind and Inside Connections. These will ensure the company offers opportunities to people from all sections of the community.
Greg added: “We continue to look to 2024 to further our work in the community, grow our charitable donations to local worthwhile causes.
“We will continue to support Everton in the Community with their mental health within the construction industry initiative, work with local colleges and universities to give an option for young people to gain a skillset and a career within manufacturing.
“2023 was great for raising our profile. But in 2024 we need to consolidate ourselves as much more than just a window and door manufacturer.
We need to use our platform to be an example to other larger companies and organisations. It’s important to me, and to our team, that we do business in the right way. Of course we want to make money – but we also want to make a difference too.”