|GlassOnWeb.com interviews Guillerme Huguen, commercial director of Saint-Gobain Glass Europe and general manager of SGG UK.|
|GlassOnWeb.com: Is there any data regarding the European glass market that you consider particularly relevant?
In terms of glass demand in Europe 2004 confirms the trends our glass industry has been experiencing for 3 years, basically slow growth in Western Europe and booming demand in Eastern Europe. The positive change we can clearly identify this year applies to the German market : for the first time for nearly 7 years the biggest glass market in Europe shows signs of recovery. This feature should boost overall demand and help the industry sustain float prices.
In terms of product offer the pursuit of restored margin by all actors (glass manufacturers, processors, distributors) push everybody to focus more on promoting value added glasses through the supply chain: low-e, solar control, heavy laminated glasses. In this respect, 2004 will be earmarked by the sharp growth in 2 main areas : self cleaning glasses (with a strong interest in Bioclean) and decorative glasses (silvered patterned glass, laquered glass).
What does it mean to be a market leader?
Saint-Gobain Glass clearly stands as N° 1 glass supplier throughout Europe and want to confirm its leadership. For us it implies that we keep product innovation at a fast pace so that our competitors keep running behind. This year we launched Planitherm Ultra Neutral that beats all other high performance low-e glass interns of appearance and low-value.
Beyond product innovation we want to make our customers loyal to our brands thanks to superior quality and better attention to their service requirements. Thanks to our robust processing companies network we understand customers needs better than other any glass supplier. We recently carried out a customer satisfaction survey with 1.000 independent customers who clearly ranked Saint-Gobain Glass N° 1 in Quality and Service. This is our definition of leadership!
Investment in R&D is more and more important : would you like to mention some of the most significant innovations you can find in Your products?
I already mentioned Planitherm Ultra Neutral. In the same area we just launched Planitherm Total which perfectly matches the British glass processing needs : Planitherm Total comes as a toughenable soft coat low-e glass that combines all advantages of soft coats (high performance, neutrality, high light transmittance) and easiness to process of hard coats (high resistance, full toughenability).
There are plenty more I could mention. Let me tell you that our Cool-Lite range now outperforms all the other Solar Control glass thanks to major improvement we brought to these coatings recently.
Also all customers who have tried Bioclean confirm our product looks better (more neutral) and performs better than competitive products.
No doubt SGG ? the biggest glass coater in the world ? can find the requested R&D resources to maintain its leadership in innovation.
Photos: Saint Gobain
Last review: June, 2005
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