Reliance Windows Inc.
More than 40 years ago Reliance Windows Inc. (Reliance Windows) began creating a reputation that would come to carry the company well into the millennium. Reliance Windows switched hands in 2009 when the Zzen Group of Companies bought the company from the previous owners. At that time Lou De Lellis, president of Reliance Windows, took charge of improving the company’s already outstanding reputation in the industry.
“I used to work for the profile extrusion fabricator, which supplied window profile to the company,” says De Lellis. “So I hold the company close to heart.”
Before working at Reliance Windows, De Lellis worked as an advisor for KPMG and assisted businesses with corporate infrastructures, operational efficiencies and financial performance related issues, so as to ensure a company was working to its best potential. Overtime, however, he moved to the private sector; specifically, plastic extrusion manufacturing at Royal Group Technologies and then window manufacturing. De Lellis soon became the vice president of VinylBilt Windows & Doors. From there, it was just a hop, skip and a jump to Reliance Windows.
Now, De Lellis seeks to utilize his knowledge of business mechanics to build Reliance Windows into an even larger, more stable company. Right now he has his attention focused on the slow uptick of the American housing market. “When the market really gets going again I want Reliance Windows to be a primary source to distributors in the United States,” De Lellis says, which is a plan that he has already set in motion.
“We’re working with some U.S. companies,” he says. “Building relationships and expanding the Reliance Windows’ reach, that’s what we want. We have a solid grasp on the Ontario and Quebec market, but we’re looking to go further.”
De Lellis’ desire to take the company further is no joke, either. Since taking on his current role, he has put into action some big companywide changes that have helped bring about more business. For example, he recently relocated the company to Woodbridge, Ontario, to be closer to customers and suppliers, and thus closer to heart of the window industry in southern Ontario.
“It’s a 25,000-square-foot facility,” says De Lellis. “It’s necessary for our business; our growth outside of the southern Ontario market requires a larger more operationally efficient plant and logistic hub to expand our business footprint in Canada and the U.S.”
Heightening that business is the company’s specific focus on basement window systems - a niche in the window industry - which helps the company attract specific clients, both near and far. Moreover, Reliance Windows’ interactions with Ontario-based homebuilders mirrors the company’s sales within the region: approximately 80 percent of the company’s business is from homebuilders, distributors and lumber yards, while 20 percent comes from aftermarket renovations conducted by dealers and installers.
Seeing the Future Clearly
“When you drive around Ontario and see site development, there is an 80 percent chance that we had been there with basement windows,” says De Lellis. “Our logistical distribution has never been better, and we want to continue improving client relationships.”
Part of that relationship improvement is turning Reliance Windows into a more diversified supplier in the construction industry. “We’re focusing a lot on developing new products and services,” says De Lellis. “We’re also working with other building material fabricators on products that can be sold through Reliance Windows to our customers.”
Although Reliance Windows already has a firm grasp on the Ontario market, the company seeks to continue improving services for the sake of future expansion. After all, the window industry is highly competitive, and companies are always searching for a means of one-upping each other.
“We really want to stay ahead of the increasing competition, which is only going to grow as the North American market improves,” says De Lellis. “Right now, the revenue and expense side of the total equation is lopsided, and the pricing side is being beaten down. You just can’t pass pricing on that quickly in this industry, so it becomes a matter of survival.”
For this reason, Reliance Windows does not subcontract out any of the company’s work. Every window is manufactured by the company, which allows Reliance Windows to closely monitor costs. “Our niche is building materials, and we meet that niche without a problem,” says De Lellis. “We’re proud of producing the best basement windows for so many companies across the country and beyond.”
De Lellis says that manufacturing everything in-house combines well with the company’s small and effective team of 25 employees. “This gives the company a sense of flexibility,” he says, though sometimes it means that each employee must wear numerous hats. De Lellis, himself, attests to some days working in the office and other days helping the production team manage the manufacturing process. “It gets busy around here,” he says, laughing.
Thankfully busy is good for a company like Reliance Windows, especially considering Lou De Lellis’ current push toward simultaneously moving the company further into the western Canadian and American basement window market and holding firm to the company’s Ontario and Quebec customer base. Without a doubt, 2014 looks to be promising for Reliance Windows Inc.