Nine months in and Paul Duffy is a Managing Director who is looking up. And that’s not just because the business he’s in charge of is one selling roofing solutions.
His plan to re-energise the long-established Onduline Building Products is shaping up well with the company on a trajectory for future growth.
The company’s lightweight eco-friendly roofing system is used worldwide for agricultural, industrial, leisure and DIY applications.
While maintaining a profitable position, sales in the UK in recent years have been solid rather than where they could be, said Paul.
“The good news was that while the business had been losing market share, it wasn’t to direct competitors,” he said.
“It happened because we had not been in touch with customers enough. They were beginning to forget us as no-one was consistently calling on them.”
Paul has addressed this by reshaping the UK team, making a series of new appointments and, in March, establishing a revised structure. All this alongside introducing a fresh, sales-led strategy.
The changes included the newly-created role of Head of Marketing and exploring digital routes to market.
“We needed to get better at telling the Onduline story, to increase brand awareness and our exposure in the marketplace,” he said.
“Also, for our sales team to re-engage with the roofing merchants and specialist distributors who sell our products.”
Paul added: “Onduline has always had strong indirect relationships with many of the National and regional builders’ merchants through our supply partners, where our quality products have been used for many years. This channel remains a priority moving forward.
“We have aspirations to further strengthen our relationship with the merchants by increasing the product range available for merchants to distribute through their supply channels.
“We would very much like to support the merchants through their dedicated buying groups in partnership with our key supply chain partners where possible.
“Where our existing supply chain partners are not currently operating, we would be happy to work direct to support merchants further and increase the range of Onduline products available to them.”
A key selling point of the roofing system is that it is made from 50% to 60% of recycled materials.
Paul said: “Compared to many other roofing products we have one of the best carbon footprints in the industry.”
When Paul took up the Managing Director position, he brought with him over 20 years’ sales experience in the construction materials sector.
One other area with ‘huge opportunities’ is under-roofing for very low pitch applications. The underlay system is installed below tile, slate or shingle roof coverings, creating an independent secondary weatherproof roof.
“It means the pitch can be as low as 12.5°,” said Paul. “It has BBA (British Board of Agrément) certification and is starting to attract questions from architects and specifiers who are recognising the benefits, as well as the green credentials.
So, with a new direction established, Paul has laid the foundations for a resurgent Onduline in the UK. He said: “The objective is to achieve sustained and profitable growth and stay ahead of our competitors.
“We’ll do that by reaching the right customers, that means reinforcing our core markets and developing new ones.”