As the largest member of the 15-company UK-wide National Windscreens consortium, which has 114 branches and a fleet of 720 mobile units, Mr George Douglas anticipates major changes in the sector and significant growth for the business he founded 40 years ago today.
National Mobile Windscreens has experienced a significant increase in business in 2011 and the collapse of Auto Windscreens, the UK’s second largest automotive glass company, has further increased business levels.
Now, with eyes on winning an increasing share of the UK fleet, leasing and insurance business, the company is also focused on Europe with National Windscreens being the UK partner of Automotive Glass Professionals - an alliance of national automotive glass repair and replacement companies across Europe.
Douglas said: “We have supply agreements with all the major UK fleets and leasing companies and are winning an increasing volume of business from them as well as insurance companies.
At the heart of the success of National Mobile Windscreens is its company ethos, which, according to Douglas, remains unchanged from the day he launched the company.
“The aim is simple. To keep customers on the road by offering a fast, efficient, competitively priced service combined with very high standards of workmanship. Safety and customer care rank high on the list of priorities thereby giving total peace of mind,” he explained.
For Mr Douglas it is the employees that he is most proud of in the business he launched, which is why he was delighted that the company’s reputation was recognised first with a National Training Award in 2009 and then with the 2010 Customer Service Award from industry publication Fleet News.
“We are in a people business and a company is nothing without staff. We have some wonderful people,” he reflected. “When customers tell me about the excellent service they have received, I always make a point of telling the staff and saying ‘thank-you’ to them.”
When the company won the Fleet News Award he took the trophy around all the branches to show employees. “We won the Award because of them and I wanted to thank them. Achievements like that are motivational and it makes employees even more passionate about the business and that leads to future success,” he said.
Today’s sophisticated vehicle glazing world of laminated glass, bonded fitting methods and fast curing times has moved on a long way from 40 years ago when a piece of string to aid the exact fitting of a windscreen was an essential part of Mr Douglas’s tool kit as he set about replacing ‘toughened’ glass that had shattered into thousands of pieces on impact.
“The company ethos remains unchanged but the industry is very different due to the introduction of technology. Automotive glass repair and replacement is now extraordinarily hi-tech,” said Mr Douglas.
In October last year Mr Douglas stood down as managing director, handing over day-to-day responsibility to Phil Lomas, who had joined National Mobile Windscreens in 1979. Mr Douglas now focuses on development and long-term strategy for the company.