Rocal Group shares its story of success and strategy for a sustainable future 

With 30 years of manufacturing experience, the Rocal Group consists of three separate specialist divisions which produce a range of products including high quality composite doors, uPVC external door panels, and bespoke plastic extrusions.

Based in an impressive six-acre manufacturing facility in North Lincolnshire, UK, Rocal has refined its service over the years to deliver excellent quality products and an unrivalled customer experience.

Andrew Speakman, Commercial Director, shares the story of Rocal’s evolution. “About 20 years ago, we started to make our timber composite Endurance door product. Stephen Nadin, Managing Director, had the foresight to push for an alternative approach and bring something new to the market. We focused on materials and getting the product right, and then worked on a marketing strategy to showcase the brand and ensure potential customers were aware of our superior quality and service,” he begins.

“From making a few doors a week, we’re now close to making 1000. Along the way, we also acquired a plastic extrusion business. The extrusion services available include flexible plastic extrusions, rigid plastic extrusions, co-extruded plastic extrusions and standard plastic profiles. Customers can also choose from a range of finishes, colors, wrapping and secondary operations. We do a lot of work in the caravan market. Business boomed, particularly because of the pandemic, as the demand for the staycation rocketed. Today, we have a turnover of more than £30 million. We’re still manufacturing insulated panels and extrusions, and our growth in door manufacture has been exponential.

“Our success in the market was recently topped off with an award for Composite Door Manufacturer of the Year, as voted for by people in the industry. We know we’ve got a great product, but to get that recognition from people in the industry is a real testament to everything we have achieved,” Andrew enthuses.

“If I had to pick one KPI measure, it would be our trust pilot rating. We’re proud to say we’ve got five green stars. It’s not simply a case of manufacture and supply either. At the point of installation, if there is a problem with the quality of the product then our team of service engineers will go out and resolve the issue. We’re now at a point where if we get a four-star review, we want to understand why we didn’t get a five. We have conversations with the installers we supply and offer advice. If we experience repeated problems with an installation company, then we’ll stop supplying them. We have several people wanting to sell our doors, but we’re very selective about our installer network.”

Rocal produces high-quality uPVC panel doors, and while this only represents around five percent of its business, the company services several partners whose customer base requires both composite and panel doors. “We want to be the business that can fulfill both requirements,” Andrew explains, “We don’t want to stop supplying panel doors and give our customers the opportunity to look elsewhere. Equally, as the panel door market shrinks and competitors drop from the sector, this leaves us with a bigger slice of the pie.

“Rocal Extrusions’ scope also covers internal work for our door side of the business. Our solid core ‘Endurance’ entrance doors come in a range of styles, designs, and finishes to perfectly complement any property. Each door includes our signature moisture barrier system which eliminates water ingress and ensures that the front door won’t warp over time. We use approximately five or six extrusion products in our own manufacturing process.”

Rocal’s door offering, alongside its hardware choices, glass colors, and internal and external finishes means that every product is bespoke. As such, the business has invested heavily in the cutting-edge equipment needed to fulfil customers’ requirements. “If the demand is there, we will continue to invest. We’re also starting to invest in the management of the machines to ensure operational efficiency and effective workflow.”

Following a management buyout in 2021, a five-year strategy plan is now being implemented to achieve the next milestones. “We’re aiming for £50 million in five years’ time. To achieve that, we need to assess our current capacity and calculate what we need to do and where we need to invest. While this strategy includes growth, it may also involve new product innovation and export to additional markets. We’ve also been looking at how we invest in people. Over the years it has been difficult to sustain our level of growth with appropriate recruitment, but we stick to our role and pay structure, and then try to build a support system for each colleague. A few years ago, we didn’t have many benefits, but have since added to the employee package with enhancements such as healthcare, ample parking, family days out, and free vending machines,” he elaborates.

As part of his role, Andrew shares that the subject of sustainability sits with him. “If you’d asked me a couple of years ago what I knew about sustainability, it would have been minimal. However, I’ve since been on a climate awareness course that has helped to focus my mind on the positive impact a business can make. I’ve joined local sustainability networks where business leaders share best practices and have fed back to the senior leadership team. Leading the strategy from a supply chain perspective, we need to make sure that we’re sourcing the right product, at the right price, that we’re making the best yield from that product and not wasting it. Regarding recycling, from glass to polystyrene, everything that can be is separated and recycled. We’ve also got a biomass burner. So, any excess wood cuts can be disposed of on site, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles hauling timber. Over the past few years, we’ve been assessing our carbon emissions, including Scope 3 and having conversations with our suppliers about carbon reporting.

“Additionally, we’ve invested heavily in solar panels which were installed approximately 12 months ago and have plans for further installation in the coming months. We’ve changed all our lights to LEDs, with sensors, and switched our company car fleet to electric vehicles. The feedback has been great. I recently got invited to be a guest speaker at a Lincolnshire council meeting to represent local business from the perspective of promoting electric vehicles. It was a great success and just shows what can be done.

“I’ve got quite a young team on site here. My job is to help get people’s careers on the right path and to help them progress. Our strategy needs to include a succession plan for the future of the business. We want to make sure we’ve got the relevant people with the right skills in place. We are probably the biggest employer in our local area, so we have a responsibility to the community as well. We have a fantastic relationship with our suppliers and work together to support local and charitable initiatives,” Andrew concludes. “Fundamentally, we want to make sure that we’re operating an ethical, socially responsible, and sustainable organization for the future.”