The challenges of developing a comprehensive hardware portfolio

In this report for Window Industries, Carl F Groupco details the on-going and challenging process of developing a balanced range of hardware and ancillary lines.

The established supplier of window and door fittings recognises that, to be successful, a comprehensive hardware package has to be provided from door locks to knockers and from window handles to restrictors.The challenging, and diverse, needs of an evolving customer base have to be addressed for a market whose requirements are increasingly more challenging with regard to added-value and innovation.

At the heart of product selection are three main criteria – quality, value and design ergonomics.

With regards to the ‘basics’, locking systems have been a long-standing established catalogue main-stay. Historically, hardware distributors tended to offer staple lines which catered for wide ranging needs and FUHR locking mechanisms remain one of the company’s best sellers. Manufacturing innovations have extended the range of locking options and, from Carl F Groupco’s perspective, the distributor should provide a wide selection of products to offer latest locking innovations and cater for all requirements. As a result, recent additions to the range include the Crimebeater for timber applications and the XL door lock designed for Carl F Groupco by Fullex -  a full PAS23/24 compliant solution, when used in conjunction with security keep plates.

Handles are also central to a hardware distributor’s catalogue. The supplier has to ensure that latest lines are available and that all options are provided. This is a particular challenge for window and door handles with different sizes and types available depending on the locking mechanism fitted, profile used and the aesthetic appearance. From Carl F Groupco’s perspective, it is the supplier’s job to ensure that all of these requirements are accounted for, and presented in literature in an easily digestible format.

Design aesthetics also play an increasingly important role in handle selection, both by the end user and by the distributor when evaluating new products. Trojan Spartan handles, for example are suited with door and window furniture to ensure a uniform and co-ordinated finish throughout a property.

Hinges are another key component of any hardware catalogue – flexibility and fast fitting are increasingly flagged as important by the market and the Midi / Patriot High Security hinges continue to be the leading door application products for Carl F Groupco. Reliability and durability are also central to selection criteria for hinges and Cotswold friction stays have been a major recent introduction to the company’s catalogue.

Complete systems

Complete system solutions are reported as playing a growing role in the hardware catalogue fulfilling the requirements of new and retro fit markets. The range of security and safety add-ons has grown significantly and increasing consumer awareness of requirements has heavily influenced customers’ demand. The result has been the inclusion of products such as the Res-guard safety door restraint and Stay Guard to provide hinge side protection from manipulation on windows.

In short, Carl F Groupco argues that the hardware distributor can never afford to be complacent when developing its catalogue.  The portfolio of products offered is under constant review to ensure that both basic and added-value lines are provided.

The company has completed its latest catalogue review and a new 228 page product summary providing comprehensive data is available via online registration at

Carl F Groupco will exhibit on stand 2-340 at the 2013 FIT Show.

600450 The challenges of developing a comprehensive hardware portfolio

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