Diss-based Glazing Vision maps out future in both Norfolk and overseas

Bosses at Diss-based Glazing Vision are hoping to capitalise on the increasing overseas demand for its products as - but are also looking to raise the company's profile closer to home.

The company, based on the Diss industrial estate in Saw Mills Road, specialises in the manufacture of specialist roof lights which can be installed in home, offices and public buildings and includes a number of high profile and celebrity clients as well as schools in Swaffham and Costessey, near Norwich among its customer base.

Last year it enjoyed a record �6.7m turnover and has opened up an office in Paris to build the increasing demand in Europe for its products. It is also looking at exports to the USA, and enjoys strong demand for rooflights particularly in central London where there has been a boom in homeowners fitting them to brighten up older properties.

Managing diretor Chris Chaney said growth had been fuelled since the company made a decision to relocate from several sites in Brandon, near Thetford, to he former Hamlin Electronics site last year.

The company, which employs 77 staff from fitters to specialist designers and research and developers, has also invested in a new paint shop which is due to open in April, while a new website is also being launched.

'The idea was to get under one roof,' Mr Chaney said. 'We were expanding and we needed more space as we had forklift trucks going down the road from one building to another. We raised the roofs and increased the size of the doors.

'We wanted to stay in East Anglia, we looked at moving towards Cambridge. If you are a manufacturing company, you have got to look at costs. There's a lot of hi-tech around Cambridge, and we are more manufacturing tech, so it was better for us to stay around here.

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'Diss was attractive because it is a busy town so the guys have somewhere to pop out to at lunchtime and we get people visiting us from London

We went for it big time – new buildings, new offices. We spent �500,000 on machinery and opening up a French office.

Established in 1994 by current chairman Hugh Callacher, as a glazing refurbishments company, Mr Chaney repositioned the company to concentrate on the rooflights business, bringing in new workflow processes to streamline the production process and the process has paid dividends with the company becoming a market leader in its field.

'What we saw was a demand for those products and looking at the size of the company, it was worth focusing all the resources on the products and the maintenance work was almost a distraction to that and I decided to let it go,' he added. 'We increased the production range and capability of the products. We brought in a different approach and we really needed a production line to cope with the volume.

Sales and marketing director Jon Shooter said that despite its growing international reputation and strong presence in London, the company was relatively unknown in Norfolk and it was looking to raise its profile among architects and the public.

'The missing thing at the moment is that people is that local people do not know we are here,' Mr Shooter said. 'I speak to people all the time. Ideally over the next two to three years we want to change that so that when you mention Glazing Vision to people in East Anglia, they say they know who we are. We are trying to build relationships locally.'

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