The employees of SIG Roofing are key to its success, whether customer-facing or working behind the scenes. SIG believe strongly in investing in the right people, with the knowledge, experience and qualifications in the market it serves.
So, in a series of articles we want to introduce them to you, to showcase their value and the part that they play. First up is our Commercial Director…..DUNCAN WINTER.
Duncan Winter was made Commercial Director for SIG Roofing and Exteriors in November last year. He may be relatively new to the role, but he certainly isn’t new to the roofing market having started life ‘on the tools’ as a roofer 18 years ago.
Duncan Winter came from a farming family in Lincolnshire and moved into a career in roofing quite by chance.
After a number of years ‘on the tools’ he took up a role in contractor training with a company called Flex-R where he developed through various roles until it was sold to SIG in 2015. By this time Duncan had enjoyed time both training and selling for the business and ended up as General Manager at the time of the acquisition.
Duncan looks back fondly to those training days, especially when he worked on-site with contractors demonstrating Flex-R products and how to do larger roof spaces. He remembers roofers, in the early days of their trade, that wouldn’t do a roof larger than a dormer that now won’t do a roof smaller than 1000 sq ft., and he still remains in touch with a number of those contractors today.
The Flex-R business, which specialises in flat roofs, grew year on year and the SIG acquisition was a bonus to that growth. It took Flex-R fifteen years to get to a £9m turnover at the time of the take-over and, with the SIG investment and support, the management grew it to £29m by 2022.
Flex-R has always traded as an independent business, albeit part of the SIG Group, and for the next two years after the acquisition, Duncan continued to work as its General Manager. It was a great fit with the SIG Group, Flex-R have exclusive UK distribution rights for their products from their US supply partner, and these products are still very much in demand, despite a generally decreasing market in flat roof installations.
By 2017 Duncan’s role had grown to include the management of the SIG Design & Technology division and this was followed by responsibility for SR Timber and SIG Industrial Roofing, both specialist areas that, according to Duncan, required support more than management.
Duncan’s role was changed again in 2020 with a focus on the SIG Specialist businesses, like high-temperature insulation and glazing, which helped further broaden his general business knowledge. All the experience he has gathered, he believes will help him in the challenging role he faces as Commercial Director for the SIG UK Roofing & Exteriors Division.
What is the Commercial Teams challenge today?
SIG Roofing & Exteriors has a UK turnover of C£400million and they are more than double the size in turnover of their nearest competitor. They have 105 roofing branches spread and servicing the whole of the UK and these branches truly support their local customers, stocking products that are in demand locally so they can be delivered to site at speed.
So, as the Commercial Director for the Roofing Division, how can he improve that performance?
“I will continue to support the Flex-R, SRTimber and Industrial Roofing businesses, but my day-to-day role and focus is on SIG Roofing and that is all about continual improvement.”
New products have to be proven to be successful in this market, rightly so when any failure comes at such a high cost. So the focus for the commercial category team is to think longer term and work closely with our supply partners, to build strong relationships, with a goal to be the first to market with new product innovations.
THINKING LOCAL BUT BUYING NATIONAL
The commercial team can constantly improve efficiencies by working more closely with the SIG Roofing MD’s for the North and South. Here the goal is to balance a strategy of acting as a National business with strong buying credentials, which in turn benefit the local market.
A large business can overcomplicate its offer and we want to keep it simple. There are four key areas of the SIG roofing business, Insulation, Roofline, Flat Roofing and Solar, and the commercial team need to help the branches sell the whole basket. An average pitched roof lasts 50 years and a flat roof 20 years, so we have very few chances to sell all the products for that roof for that one sale. Our target is to support our branches to improve their ratio of supporting our customers with all that we have to offer.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
Growing our support by investing back into the industry. Encouraging people to come into the roofing industry as a career choice. It is a valuable skill, a trade, and SIG wants to support that. SIG are members of the NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) and the commercial team attend relevant meetings where we will be actively increasing our support with projects that benefit the future of the industry…..
“Once in the roofing industry, people rarely leave and I’ve met some great characters. I’m really pleased that I started ‘on the tools’, those early lessons I learnt have been very helpful throughout my career.”