The Specialists: The Folding Sliding Door Company
"Specialism has been key to our strategy", says Kehinde Jolaoso, Managing Director, The Folding Sliding Door Company. Resisting the temptation to expand into associated products The Folding Sliding Door Company has been singular in its philosophy, focusing on the manufacture of bi-folding doors.
"Back in 2001 there were very few bi-fold doors on the market and many people were not giving bi-folds the attention they deserved mainly producing French Doors & Patios – there was no real pedigree", continues Kehinde. "We saw opportunities across the trade, retail and commercial sectors by becoming a specialist manufacture".
This vision has driven rapid growth. The Bradford-based business has gone from start-up in 2001 to manufacture more than 300 bi-fold panels each week. These are fabricated in aluminium, timber, PVC-U, Glass Composite and Ali-Clad – the novelty being that in this case the systems are its own.
“Strategically, we have always wanted to own the whole manufacturing process from the systems to hardware because that way we own the whole process and we can guarantee the quality of the products that we manufacture”, explains Kehinde.
The business was founded by owner Paul Shearman, whose ‘apprenticeship’ as a joiner and engineer in the German door industry, was important in defining The Folding Sliding Door Company’s future philosophy.
Developing its first door in timber then on to further develop the UK’s first PVC-U in-line bi-folding door with no face-fixed hardware and concealed running gear in 2003.
“It sounds so mainstream now but we were the first bi-fold manufacturer to develop a PVC-U system with concealed running gear”, continues Kehinde. “It looked so much better, it improved the reliability and the operation of the door and most importantly the security. This is why our original idea has been copied and adopted by so many other systems.”
Cue the company’s own designed and branded Fold ‘N’ Slide Hardware offering. A dedicated universal hardware system, compatible with all materials. The Part Q accredited system features easily adjustable rollers, security hardware and flush threshold options.
Fold ‘N’ Slide hardware is suitable for use across leading PVC-U and aluminium systems plus timber and timber/aluminium and aluminium/PVC-U composites. “We supply Fold ‘N’ Slide hardware to systems companies, other fabricators – we work with almost everyone” says Kehinde.
“Fold ‘N’ Slide hardware is compatible with Veka, Spectus, Swish, Rehau, Deceuninck and aluplast name a few as well as aluminium systems. It’s the product of 15 years or more research and development and the detail that we have applied to bi-fold door technology and manufacture.”
This focus on detail has driven its partnership with Extrudaseal. As another specialist manufacturer it extruded more than than 20,000 km of gaskets in the last year, tapping into economies of scale to offer its customers on average savings of 30-40% on gasket costs compared to buying-in from systems companies.
“Price is an important part of it but we don’t buy from Extrudaseal just because of price, it’s about service, support and relationships”, says Kehinde.
“We use Extrudaseal push-in and wedge gaskets across our systems. They’re also universal. Plus weatherseals on panels.
“Where we have really seen value is in their R&D process. They have their own teams in-house, who we’ve worked with to develop and refine solutions and they have always been very responsive.”