Strength in numbers
Formally launched in February 2021, the Clarison Group is made up of four market leading brands in the field of building envelope technologies within the UK and Ireland. These brands – Alucraft UK, Alucraft Ireland, EAG and Williaam Cox – retain their own management teams and collaborate as a group under the leadership of a team led by CEO Mark Oliver, and supported by the private equity group Elaghmore. As a result of the shared knowledge, capability and expertise of its brands, the Group is able to offer full design, fabrication and installation of unitised and stick curtain walling, windows and doors, rainscreen, architectural glass, reinforced concrete, brick slips and more, as a full ‘through the wall’ façade solution.
With the amalgamation of these businesses, the Clarison Group is today able to boast combined annual revenues of close to £100m, 450 employees across six locations, the industry’s largest factory footprint in the UK of 25,000 sqm (plus additional 20,000 sqm of storage space), and the country’s largest domestic production capacity, equating to approximately 430,000 hours.
“There are three main reasons why I was attracted to becoming the CEO of the Clarison Group,” Mark says. “The first is that the UK’s façade industry is large and fragmented, with scope for consolidation and room for some large professional domestic players to emerge. The second is that this is an industry that I and many others see as one that is likely to undergo significant change in the coming years – particularly in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower enquiry. It is a highly legislated and technical industry, which is having to adapt to changes in these areas. Other changes to be expected are a continued transition to offsite production and the need to meet the 2050 Carbon Net Zero Commitments. With change comes opportunity. Finally, the third reason is that the four companies that have come together to form the Group are already high performing businesses with strong, respected brands.
“The combined companies make the Clarison Group the strongest domestic player in the UK and Irish markets, offering a solution to customers that have – in the past – had to look to continental Europe and Asia for support on larger, more complex projects,” Mark explains. “The structure of the Group allows for the vertical integration of design and fabrication, the ability to share capacity between companies, and to become involved with projects at an earlier, pre-construction phase. The lower carbon footprint achieved by domestic production also results in more sustainable solutions for our clients.”
Much of the Group’s success is derived from the people side of its various businesses. Therefore, ensuring that it has engaged teams is of paramount importance, and is an area where significant investment has been made in recent years. “It is crucial to have a common purpose and associated values that help everyone to feel that they are heading in the same direction,” Mark states. “In this regard, in 2019, Alucraft in Ireland defined ‘Guiding Principles’ for its team through a Continuous Improvement project whose team consisted of senior managers and various employees. The project culminated with the development of eight Guiding Principles, which had broad employee buy-in from the outset due to the collaborative nature in which they were formed.
“The project also highlighted the need for an engagement platform to boost internal communications, which were previously fragmented across the office, factory and site-based teams. Alucraft also recognised the need for a centralised portal to host the new ‘Reward and Recognition’ awards, which had been deployed alongside the rollout of the Guiding Principles. The rollout of a workplace engagement app was kicked off in early 2020 for the Alucraft and Williaam Cox teams in Ireland, Poland and The Philippines. It has since been embraced for deployment across all of the Clarison Group companies and it will be launched in the UK and Spain in Q2 of this year.”
The tool has amplified the Group’s community spirit, grown a culture of recognition, and bridged communication gaps between senior management and employees. “It has been a valuable resource to our HR department who have utilised the platform to carry out regular pulse surveys to track employee satisfaction – especially useful throughout the past year when remote working became the new norm,” Mark adds.
As a newly formed Group, 2021 will see it developing its Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategy for the next three to five years, as well as ensuring that its business units continue to grow and provide excellent customer service. This will happen alongside continued investment in its different businesses. Recent examples of this include Alucraft UK’s purchase of a 3000 sqm manufacturing facility in Rotherham in February 2020.
“The UK and Ireland market for glazed façades is currently worth over £4bn so, at £100m turnover today, the Clarison Group’s market share is below three per cent. With our investment in Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DFMA) processes, our advanced manufacturing facilities, and the industry-wide need for off-site manufactured solutions, I believe that there is plenty of opportunity to increase our market share and become a £150m Group in the coming years,” Mark concludes. “That is provided we can do so in a controlled, risk managed and profitable manner.”
The Clarison Group
Services: Building envelope solutions and architectural glazing