Ask the Expert: IG Elements

IG Elements is a company that prides itself on taking its role seriously within the production chain. Liam Kelly, Managing Director at IG Elements shines a light on what the company has to offer across the house building landscape.

What is the company ethos/guiding principle?

At IG Elements, partnership is at the very crux of our business. We don’t see ourselves as a supplier, we are a partner in creating a finished product. I think this ethos has driven our success – we are committed to the customer and we take our role in the production chain extremely seriously. As part of The Keystone Group, our guiding principles are those of Innovation, Fun, Quality, Technical Expertise and Commitment. These were voted for and endorsed by our staff and are lived out in everything that we do as a company.

IG Elements GRP Process

What sets IG Elements apart from its competitors?

The level of support we provide to our customers is above and beyond anything our competitors offer. We take time to understand our customers and their requirements, their build process and how we can partner with them to ensure the smooth running of this process for them. We constantly seek feedback – positive or otherwise – and work to ensure we are always bettering ourselves and the service we provide. We liaise with the build teams at every stage of the process, from our pre-start meetings right through to aftersales support. The feedback we have received from customers has resulted in the provision of Site Support Packs to address the needs of our customers onsite, and Minor Repair Kits which negate the need for call-out charges for smaller onsite issues.

What specific area/product are you most focused on investing in?

We are focused at present on our moulding techniques. We are moving away from our traditional practises towards a more futuristic technique, which will bring a greater level of consistency to our products.

How do you show your commitment to the natural environment?

We recognise that conducting our business in a way that minimises environmental impact, promotes positive interaction with the community and accords with sound ethical standards brings benefits to all concerned. We understand that sustainability must be at the forefront of operations and methods that we utilise to achieve these goals include sourcing of sustainable materials from ethical suppliers, working with the local community to provide opportunities and manufacturing energy efficient parts while minimising waste during the production process. 50% of our products utilise FSC certified timber and we are committed to minimising our waste packaging.

How do you minimise inefficiency within your manufacturing processes?

Due to the nature of our offsite construction techniques we naturally minimise the inefficiencies which can be associated with onsite construction. Our move away from labour intensive open moulding towards a more automotive approach will decrease our inefficiencies even further. Our aim is to produce 50% of our output in this way by 2020.

What is your most popular product? Why?

Entrance Canopies are our most popular product. The skills shortage is well documented and these products remove the need for skilled work onsite. We provide a range of flat, apex and curved canopies to suit a range of house types – I think the variety we provide helps make these a really popular product.

Entrance GRP Canopy IG Elements

What complexities arise with each different style of dormer?

There are a number of complexities at play when it comes to installing dormers. We have to negotiate a range of different roof angles and pitches, varying sizes of windows, differing situations – bedrooms, bathrooms, offices etc. We also have to ensure we keep abreast of any changes with legislation regarding thermal efficiency and ensuring compliance with these. As dormers form part of the fabric of the building they need to maintain the same thermal efficiency as other parts of the fabric.

What has been the company’s biggest success to date?

Our ability to cope with our massive growth has been our biggest success. The growth we have experienced over the last three years has been exponential. We have had no less than a 40% increases year on year over the past few years and we are delighted to be moving in this direction.

What has been the company’s biggest challenge to date?

With this growth we have experienced some challenges in terms of production and the service to customers have become accustomed to. We have addressed these issues by the opening of a new factory which has tripled our capacity, the provision of our Site Support Packs and our Minor Repair Kits, all of which have helped to reassure our house builder partners of the seriousness with which we take their projects.

How does quality and innovation appear within the business?

As with all member companies at The Keystone Group, innovation is at the very core of what we do at IG Elements. We are committed to improving our offering and to being ahead of the market when it comes to new quality products. We are ISO 9001 and 14001 certified and are constantly striving to keep abreast of developments in the marketplace.

What is your opinion of the current level of training within the industry – how could training be improved across the sector?

The level of training has been a particular issue for the composite industry. Traditionally there have been no apprenticeship schemes available for our sector. Government funding has extended to various other sectors and we have suffered as a result in terms of attracting staff to come and work with us. Thankfully there is light at the end of the tunnel with the government’s new commitment to the sector as of this year.

How do you encourage customers to place their trust in your business?

Our commitment to providing the best service to out customers, to the partnership that we provide throughout the process and our ongoing support all come together to mean our customers can have total faith in placing their business with IG Elements. We have dedicated to each stage of the process, ensuring that customers know exactly where they stand in terms of cost, delivery and after sales support.

Would you consider IG Elements a forward-looking company?

Absolutely! We are committed to our 2020 vision and in our move towards this we have invested heavily in our new premises, to a raft of new staff and to improved services throughout the business.

How will the business look in five years?

We will continue to invest in the business to ensure our growth remains as strong as it has done over the last three years. In five years the business will have doubled in size and will have diversified into other composite materials. We are currently looking into a range of garage doors and sewage systems which will see our portfolio of products increase significantly.

Seanan McNulty IG Elements

A day in the life of a Production Planner

Seanan McNulty IG ElementsManufacturing production planners are responsible for the planning and smooth running of production processes in a manufacturing company. They draw up a schedule of work, which is agreed with the production manager or director. But what does a Manufacturing Production Planner do on a day-to-day basis?

Seanán McNulty is Production Planner for IG Elements. We asked her to take us through her typical work day.

Tell us a bit about your typical day from start to finish

When I first started at IG Elements, I was in the Technical department working closely with Solidworks and product design but I now help out with Production on top of this.

My role is to ensure that the production output from the previous working day is booked in to stock to enable logistics to plan runs for each unit. Scheduling deliveries for out completed products.

I begin with calculating the sales value for each day, comparing against target values for the month. This gives the production staff an insight into to their progress by month.

Another important part of my job is to plan the weekly schedule, taking many variables into consideration: customer requested date, mould usage, size of mould, value of each unit etc.

Planning the schedule includes ensuring urgent or priority jobs are pushed through production, making sure we aren’t behind on production and that labels are printed for each unique unit for easy picking for logistics.
Additionally, on a day-to-day basis, I liaise with the production team, sales order processing team and customer service team to prevent any issues or errors from occurring in production and liaise with external suppliers to ensure we get our product on time for the customer.

I also get daily updates on how production is looking, and how the next couple of days within production may look.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love learning new things every day, such as getting to know the (Microsoft) Nav System better. I mainly use NAV for access to LIVE orders in order to schedule the daily production correctly and booking correct units in to stock.

I was never a part of a production team before this job, so I’ve learnt priceless information about how the department functions.

I also enjoy the responsibilities involved with the job, working closely with various departments within the company and working with the team we have here at IG Elements. The people here make the job that little bit more enjoyable.

Why did you choose this career path?

I’ve always been associated with some part of the construction industry from a young age. I really enjoyed design when I was at school. Design is exciting and refreshing and this is why I went down the engineering route.
On top of this, I wanted to put my stamp on a very male-dominated industry and show others that women can be a part of any industry they wish, to help wipe out stereotyping!

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

Working closely with the ever changing production demands is a big challenge in my job, as well as figuring out systems that suit our production team best to ensure things run smoothly on the shop floor.

Benefits of Offsite Construction

Focus on Offsite

The offsite construction sector accounts for 7% of total construction output in the UK, worth over £1.5bn to the economy. Offsite technologies have the potential to address some of the most persistent challenges facing the industry, including the demand for new housing and the low carbon agenda.

Political pressures to construct affordable quality housing have prompted the first moves towards prefabrication. With the UK requiring 250,000 new homes to be built each year to meet demand – and just 141,000 constructed last year, offsite construction offers a clear solution.

Skills shortages coupled with an ageing workforce have driven private housebuilders to look at offsite solutions.

Advantages of Offsite Construction

Benefits of Offsite Construction

The ideal first step to experiencing the benefits of offsite

IG elements produces a range of offsite components designed to deliver real benefits to the house builder. Our new name reflects that builders can now source specific building elements from us including dormer units, chimney stacks, bay roof or door canopies and surrounds.

By taking the joinery and construction of these elements offsite and by using the latest GRP composite technology we are able to offer the builder a highly efficient alternative to traditional methods.

The main benefits widely accepted from offsite elements include;

  • Speed of construction
  • Build quality
  • Consistency of appearance
  • Enhanced thermal efficiency
  • Reduced working at heights

Managing Director, Liam Kelly commented:

As the housing market is driven towards offsite solutions for construction we have evolved to meet this demand. With our advanced manufacturing capabilities and improved services, we aim to help house builders experience the benefits of offsite”.

IG Elements Logo

IG Elements, the new face of IG GRP

IG GRP, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of GRP Building Components has changed its name to IG Elements marking a start of a new chapter for the company. The new corporate identity represents the company’s vision for growth and expansion of their offsite capabilities over the next decade, and beyond.

IG Elements New Website

As well as a new name, the rebrand will include refreshed packaging and literature for end users, and a new website to provide enhanced customer service and detailed installation animations.

The change to IG Elements evolved after recognising the importance of constantly innovating and adapting to new ways of manufacturing offsite components and the extra service and capabilities the company can provide.

Along with the new name is a series of advanced products, our biggest ever product range, giving Housebuilders and Architects more choice when it comes to specifying quality composite products. Our new range includes:

  • Coverlite Canopy
  • Redi Dormer
  • Rapid Stack
  • Easy Bay
  • PreForm Surround

Managing Director Liam Kelly commented “In choosing a new name for the business we wanted to move away from a functional description focused purely on products, to one that captures our commercial ambitions for the future and our commitments to customers. As the housing market is driven towards Offsite solutions for construction we have evolved to meet this demand. With our advanced manufacturing capabilities and improved services we needed our brand to show that we have grown to better serve our customers”.