A clear future for Viking Window
Established in 1996 as a joint venture between Estonian and Danish owners, Viking Window is a major supplier of wooden and wood aluminium windows and doors across a number of European locations.
The company has been at the forefront of developments within the window industry, and all of its products use vacuum-impregnated timber as its base material, increasing its weather resistance and long lasting capabilities.
Viking’s window designs undergo a rigorous research and development process before they are launched on the market, most notably at test centres in United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway. The emphasis on providing customers with the highest quality solutions has been supported by Viking receiving ISO 9001 certification in 2000, the ‘Best Exporter’ award from the Estonian government in 2003, and Enterprise Estonia’s accolade of Management Quality in the category of medium-sized businesses in 2004. In addition, the company holds both Secure by Design and the Forest Stewardship Council certifications.
“In 2000, the Estonian side of Viking became the sole owner of the business, and nowadays we primarily operate out of sites located strategically across Estonia,” comments export manager Tanel Kookmaa. “We continue to focus on maintaining high quality technology, and we believe Viking is the best producer of windows in the Baltic region. In Eastern Europe, the business is competitive with some of the biggest and best window companies in Europe.
“Our solutions are highly popular on both domestic and foreign markets,” Tanel continues. “In Estonia and Latvia, the company deals with a number of private customers, supplying them with windows and doors directly. We deliver windows across Scandinavia – particularly Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Viking also operates in Latvia, the UK and Ireland, and Japan. Across these other locations, we are supplying windows to sellers in the market, as well as builders, constructers and developers. This mainly focuses on the smaller, independent housing market, and we concentrate on providing high quality solutions that utilise strong materials, as opposed to large volumes of generic windows for big construction projects.”
The basic design that Viking has built it range upon is the outward-opening mechanism primarily used in Scandinavia, as the best means of protection against potentially harsh winds and rain. Equally, the company has added aluminium materials to its already highly durable wood frames. Tanel explains the advantages: “The use of aluminium as a material in the production of windows is a relatively recent trend, and the reasons clients like it is because it looks attractive when combined with a wooden frame. Aluminium is a ‘modernised’ material, and it is rugged so requires less care in the handling process. Wooden windows also need re-colouring after ten years or so, whereas aluminium will stay as it is for a long period. There are insulation issues to be overcome through using aluminium in frames, but it is an attractive option within the window industry. Viking has recently started the mass production of three pane glass windows, so we are supplementing the U-values of our solutions in this manner.”
To support the organisation’s presence in markets across Europe, Viking’s personnel are visible at most of the annual major industry conferences and exhibitions. Tanel elaborates on the release of a new design, and how the company will promote the launch: “Viking is in the process of developing its range of sash windows, a design that has been used predominantly in construction in the UK and Ireland. Another popular set of designs amongst customers at this time is sliding doors, used on balconies and terraces. These are available in large sizes – up to four metres in length – and incorporate wood and aluminium materials. We are attending the Interbuild 2008 exhibition in Birmingham in the UK in October, which we were also present at last year, and Viking will have all of its top-selling and new products on display.
“We are looking to consolidate our position in the markets we are currently operating in, as there are a lot of projects currently emerging in these locations,” Tanel states. “In Norway, the small housing sector is rapidly expanding, and the surveys into families that are planning on building new houses are predicting a significant surge over the coming years. There are always people looking for quality windows, and we are more than capable of providing solutions. As with any industry, there will always be a growth in competition, particularly in Eastern Europe, which has been significantly invested in over the last couple of years. The challenge is making clear to our clients that we make the highest quality window solutions on the market.”
As the window industry rises and falls, the company has maintained its commitment to quality to guarantee continuous business. As Tanel states: “Working with smaller house builders means we are not always focusing on maintaining high volume figures. The company has a positive outlook, supported by continuous investment into its range and services. Equally, we are finding that design is an important driver within choosing a window manufacturer, and we are optimistic towards the quality aesthetic stance that we offer.
“The key factor in Viking’s success is its focus on its core competencies, regardless of the conditions of the market, be it booming or in downturn,” Tanel outlines. “In a period of general relative instability with the economy of the Baltic region, a very strong home market in Estonia supports the spread of our products, and everyone is turning to Viking Window as the ‘number one’ for quality,” he concludes.
Viking Window AS
Products: Wood & wood aluminium windows and doors