4Customer Interaction And Business Partners

Customer interaction and business partners

It is our vision to be perceived as the best by our customers. Therefore we strive for the highest standards of business practices in our interactions with our customers and business partners and we promote responsibility and respect for human rights in our supply chain.

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Customer interaction

 

The VELUX Group continuously enters into dialogue with our customers and shares our knowledge to provide reliable products, relevant information and unsurpassed service and support.

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Distributors
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Distributors

The VELUX Group has an extensive distribution network, making our products easily accessible.

 

Distributors are essential to us as they have direct interaction with the consumer and thus a great influence on the final choice of roof window brand. They are offered product training to become familiar with the VELUX product ranges and features, and we provide logistics services that make products easily available either in stock or at the building site.

 

VELUX Satisfaction Tracking 2012 shows that 73% of the distributors we interact with would recommend VELUX products to colleagues or customers.

 

 

 

 

 

Accelerating Sales Effectiveness (ASE)

 

One way of improving customer relations is to have a single transparent picture of our customers, providing a systematic basis for dialogue with them so that we become more effective in understanding and meeting the needs of individual customers.

 

The aim of the ASE project was to collate and distil the best working methods and practices from our sales companies across Europe into a global model for sales processes in the VELUX Group. These best practices from our local companies were identified and documented at several workshops with the sales companies. The findings resulted in the creation of "the VELUX Sales Process Model” that describes, for example, how we segment customers, run effective campaigns and prepare, execute and follow up on visits to customers.

 

To support this initiative, 2012 saw the introduction of an improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It allows sales companies to collect all relevant data about customers and sales activities in one place to enable sales staff quickly and easily to find all necessary information before contacting a customer.

 

The new CRM system has now been introduced in Belgium, France, Holland, Poland and the UK, and by the end of 2012 680 users were using the ASE system; more countries will follow in 2013.

 

 

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Specifiers
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Specifiers

The specifier - whether an architect, builder, developer or engineer - is decisive for the use of roof windows to provide daylight. Specifiers push the development in our category and help us build up the market while providing better living environments, with daylight and fresh air, for their clients.

 

The VELUX Group provides specifiers with information about Active House specifications, daylight, indoor climate and energy, and provides tools like VELUX CAD (Computer Aided Design), the VELUX Daylight Visualizer, the VELUX Energy and Indoor Climate Visualizer and technical documentation. Read more about the VELUX Daylight Visualizer, and about the VELUX Energy and Indoor Climate Visualizer.

 

We are keen to support innovation and knowledge sharing in architecture with daylight and fresh air. So we take part in research projects and demonstration houses all over the world and we present reference cases and provide inspiration in the Daylight & Architecture magazine and on the Daylight website. In addition, we host two biennial events: The Daylight Symposium and The International VELUX Award.

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Installers
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Installers

Installers are important stakeholders for us as the perceived quality of our products depends on the quality of the installation.

 

The installer is often the primary adviser on the choice of roof window solution and brand. The VELUX Group supplies reliable high-quality products that are easy to install. We offer training, on-site support, installation instructions and videos.

 

In 2012, more than 6,000 installers from all over Europe participated in installer training.

 

VELUX Satisfaction Tracking 2012 shows that 82% of the installers we interact with would recommend VELUX products to colleagues or customers.

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Installation tests of the New Generation roof windows

Before and after presentation of the New Generation of VELUX roof windows in January 2012, thorough and comprehensive installation tests and follow-up have been carried out.

 

  1. Guidance and workshops on product installation took place using videos to identify possible installation issues.
  2. Field tests were performed by installers to test the New Generation in real life.
  3. Since the introduction, we have visited over 100 building sites to get important feedback from installers.

External launch of our New Generation to installers

Austria was one of the markets where our new window platform was launched externally in 2012. Following an internal kick-off in January, a large project team has prepared the external launch, working with technical and sales aspects, training and communication.

 

At four local events, several hundred installers were introduced to New Generation. Every event was like a small trade fair and included five “stations” where product managers and technicians explained the details of the new products. The events were highly successful and the participants were delighted with all the innovation in New Generation.

End users
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End users

We aim to give end users a positive experience before, during and after their purchase of a VELUX product. Making a hole in your roof and carrying out an installation that must last for 40 years or more is a matter of trust in terms of quality, innovation and sustainability; at the end of the day, we want our customers to feel they get more than they pay for.

 

The main purpose of our marketing activities is to analyse our customers, meet their expectations by providing them with relevant products and services and make our products known and preferred by end users.

 

We offer after-sales service and support, guidance in the inspiration and decision phase with architectural show cases and advice, as well as a number of recommended installers to put the products in place. And after purchase, our service technicians are there to assist, repair and service the products in the cases where something goes wrong. In addition, we offer spare parts for our products for 25 years.

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VELUX Apps
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VELUX Apps

In 2012, three different apps have been launched to reach our customers wherever they are and to offer them relevant and inspiring visual content on our daylight solutions.

 

We have developed three different apps for smartphones and tablets: the VELUX Experience App for end-users, the VELUX Installer App for installers and the VELUX Presenter App for our own sales representatives.

 

These apps can be downloaded on an iPhone by searching for VELUX in the App Store and on an Android phone from Android Store/Google Play.

 

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Supply Chain

 

The VELUX Group wants to work with suppliers who share our commitment to responsible business practices. We form long-term partnerships, communicate our requirements through our Code of Conduct for Suppliers and monitor compliance through audits and assessments.

 

Supporting high labour and environmental standards is an essential part of maintaining the efficiency of our supply chain and the quality of our products. We focus our efforts based on risk and where we can have the most impact on improving standards. All our wood is sourced from certified or controlled sources, read more.

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Code of Conduct for Suppliers
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Code of Conduct for Suppliers

All of our product-related direct suppliers are required to sign our Code of Conduct for Suppliers, which is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core labour conventions of the International Labour Organization.

 

At the end of 2012, 97% of our direct suppliers had signed our Code of Conduct (See our Code of Conduct here), while the remaining 3% were in the process of doing so. The Code of Conduct for Suppliers is also an integrated part of our approval process when we contract with new suppliers. The proportion of suppliers who have signed the Code of Conduct is a key performance indicator for our senior management.

 

 

 

 

Product-related suppliers that have signed our Code of Conduct for Suppliers


Supplies That Have Signed Our Code Of Conduct For Supplies

 

We focus our efforts on our tier-one, product-related (direct) suppliers as this is where we have the most influence. The VELUX Group carries out a large part of its production itself − from hinges to window panes. This means we source the majority of our product-related materials from raw materials suppliers far up the value chain rather than buying finished components from manufacturing and assembly companies, where there can be a higher risk of poor labour and environmental standards.

 

However, we recognise that there are risks of non-compliance in the lower tiers of our supply chain. Our Code of Conduct for Suppliers requires tier-one suppliers to communicate and use the Code of Conduct with their own suppliers for materials and components delivered to the VELUX Group. We reserve the right to audit sub-suppliers to assess compliance with the code.

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Scope of Code of Conduct for Suppliers

The VELUX Group’s Code of Conduct for Suppliers concerns three main issues:

 

  • Employee conditions: specific requirements such as standards for healthy working environment, treatment of workers within applicable legal and non-discrimination policies 
  • Environment: all suppliers must have a written environmental policy or statement
  • Monitoring: the VELUX Group reserves the right to monitor our suppliers to assess their compliance with our Code of Conduct

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Monitoring
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Monitoring

We have an audit programme that helps us monitor suppliers’ compliance with our Code of Conduct, while also helping supplier companies to improve their processes and management systems.

 

In 2012, the VELUX Group expanded our audit programme to include all new suppliers and we continued our random audits at suppliers in China, Russia and Poland.

 

We conducted 45 audits in 2012 (11 in China, 32 in Poland and 2 in Russia) compared to 18 in 2011. All suppliers in these countries are audited at least once every two years. Half the audits in China were conducted by a third party commissioned by the VELUX Group. Using a third party enables us to learn from the approach of specialist local auditors.

 

If we discover non-compliance with our Code of Conduct, we take corrective actions and issue deadlines for making the required improvements. In case of more serious non-compliance, we require immediate action. We check on completion of the corrective actions through an unannounced follow-up audit.

 

In 2012, we found 61 cases of non-compliance with our Code of Conduct. The majority of findings related to:

  • Health and safety at the production site
  • Production facilities
  • Environmental protection issues
  • Working hours

We issued 61 corrective actions, 51 of which were resolved by the end of 2012.

 

We want to help our suppliers succeed and we offer support and advice to help them improve their performance. However, we will terminate a relationship with a supplier that fails to complete the necessary corrective actions. Since the launch of our Code of Conduct in 2001, we have not yet terminated a relationship due to non-compliance issues.

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Number of audits

Audits

 

In 2012 32 audits were carried out among wood suppliers in Poland. We have thus been able to achieve our internal goal of auditing all 43 Polish wood suppliers in the course of two years. In Russia, we conducted two new audits in 2012; all other suppliers in Russia were audited in 2011.

Wood certification
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Wood certification

The VELUX Group recognises the importance of sustainable forest management as part of our efforts to protect the environment, ensure biodiversity, tackle climate change and protect the rights of communities living around forests.

 

Our aim for 2012 was to continue to source a minimum of 90% of our wood from forests certified to the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) international standards. We met our goal in 2012 by sourcing 95% from certified sources. The remaining 5% is from wood defined as “controlled” by the FSC or PEFC international standards, meaning the origin of the wood is known and comes from non-controversial sources.

 

To ensure a high standard of control and to guarantee chronological documentation of the certification of products, we own all the window producing factories - while every process of the value chain is separately inspected. FSC and PEFC track our certified wood from forest to consumer to ensure credibility and verification.

 

Our goal for 2013 is to maintain 95% certification and to phase out non-certified suppliers during the first six months of 2013.


The wood we use is primarily Pinus Sylvestris, also known as Scots Pine or Redwood, from Boreal, Herniboreal and Temperate forest types. We typically source wood from Sweden, Finland, Poland and Russia, and to a lesser extent from the USA, France and Norway. We do not use tropical hardwood.

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Sources of purchased wood

Wood

Wood certification chain of custody

Wood Certification Chain Of Custody
Indirect suppliers
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Indirect suppliers

Around half of our procurement expenditure is with suppliers of non-product related (indirect) materials and services.

 

The majority of our indirect suppliers are based in Western Europe and supply a wide range of goods and services ranging from machine spare parts to office equipment and marketing services.

 

There is a clause in our contracts stating that all new agreements with indirect suppliers must contain a requirement to sign our Code of Conduct. In 2013 we will continue our efforts in this area.

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Fair treatment of suppliers
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Fair treatment of suppliers

The VELUX Group aims to treat its suppliers better than most other companies.

 

Our procurement principles define our interaction with suppliers. As a Model Company we:

  • co-operate with our suppliers in a way that will be beneficial in the short and long term for both parties
  • work with our suppliers to ensure continuous improvement of the procurement process and business methods
  • deal fairly and honestly with all suppliers in all aspects of the procurement process
  • keep negotiations between the supplier and us strictly confidential and we do not divulge prices or quotations received from suppliers, whether written or verbal
  • make requests for quotations as clear and precise as possible and not open to misinterpretation
  • respond promptly to supplier correspondence and inquiries
  • seek suppliers who can deliver consistently high-quality goods and services in line with the VELUX Group standards with respect to environment, sustainability and safe production methods.
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Human rights

 

The VELUX Group is committed to upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the core labour standards set out by the International Labour Organization.

 

We believe that states have the responsibility to protect their citizens against human rights abuses. We fully acknowledge our corporate responsibility to respect human rights and to avoid infringing the rights of individuals and communities through our business activities and relationships. Respect for the individual is central to the way we work and part of the Model Company Objective defined by our founder.

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Human rights in our supply chain
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Human rights in our supply chain

We take a risk-based approach to respecting human rights in our supply chain, directing our supplier audit programme at the risk of non-compliance with our Code of Conduct. By risk-based approach, we mean that we focus on the areas in which we consider the risk of violation to be highest.

 

Our Code of Conduct for Suppliers is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core labour conventions of the International Labour Organization. Product-related suppliers must communicate the Code of Conduct requirements to their suppliers.

 

In order to ensure that our business partners are capable of meeting the provisions of the Code of Conduct, the VELUX Group offers them counselling and other forms of assistance, read more.

 

We recognise that poor forestry practices can infringe the rights of local communities. 95% of the wood we buy comes from forests certified to the FSC or PEFC international standards, the rest from controlled sources. Forests certified to these standards undergo an independent assessment that includes human rights aspects.

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Protect, respect and remedy
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Protect, respect and remedy

The VELUX Group supports the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for Business and Human Rights. In 2012 we began mapping the potential risk areas – elements of the business activity where human rights violations might occur.

 

To this end, the supply chain has been analysed with the objective of identifying typical risks.

 

Various situations were rated according to the likelihood of the occurrence and the seriousness of the violation. It must be emphasised that these are hypothetical risks that indicate where actual infringements might occur. This work will be used to increase our understanding of the implications of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for our business and to help identify future activities.

 

Read more about the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for Business and Human Rights.

 

We are a member of the Danish Business Network for Human Rights, a network of multinational companies based in Denmark, facilitated by KPMG and the Institute of Human Rights and Business.

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Anti-corruption

 

Striving for the highest standards of business behaviour is a key part of our efforts to be a Model Company. We take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, whether it involves VELUX Group employees or others acting on our behalf.

 

Our Group has a long history of commitment to responsible business practices, guided by our values and continuous focus on maintaining trust with our business partners. The VELUX anti-corruption policy provides further guidance to employees about what is considered appropriate in various business situations. The policy requires management in our operating companies to ensure that bribery does not occur and to formulate local guidelines for avoiding facilitation payments and for restrictions on gifts and entertainment.

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Training and survey
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Training and survey

In 2012, 88% of our approximately 130 senior managers completed the VELUX anti-corruption e-learning course. The objective of the course is to ensure that the policy is understood and to facilitate reflection on how the issues in the policy relate to day-to-day situations.

 

The course uses fictional scenarios involving ethical issues to show how the policy works in practice.

 

During 2012, VELUX Group senior managers were also surveyed to understand how they communicate and implement the policy in their own organisation. The survey shows that the policy has been widely communicated in the organisation, but also that there is a need for guidance on how to develop local guidelines.

 

In 2013 we will use the findings of the survey to improve implementation of the policy by developing tools and internal communication.

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