INNOVATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS With all the indicators showing that business confidence, turnover and profit continue to accelerate, with faster growth expected ahead, now is the critical time for new ideas and innovation. Here, Grant Stratford of Yale Door and Window Solutions puts this into context with the launch of a new Future Lab that will shape new product development for the benefit of fabricators and installers across the UK. The latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) shows that business confidence remains at a record high level in quarter two of 2014, standing at +37.3. Confidence is stabilising at a high level after rising for six consecutive quarters, highlighting the extent to which business conditions have strengthened over the past two years. Whilst this is inevitably a welcome sign for everyone, it is placing a premium on innovation to ensure businesses stay ahead of the competition. Now, more than ever, it is critical to offer future products that excite customers both technically and in an ability to deliver first class service across the board. Yale Door and Window Solutions has taken this on board and with a commitment to innovation and to delivering revolutionary hardware, we recognised the time is right to launch a new Future Lab. The new Future lab at Yale Door and Window Solutions’ centre of excellence for windows in Cheltenham has been specifically designed for research and development. It presents an inspirational and creative atmosphere for our designers, whilst also providing the facilities to allow our dynamic design teams to create products fabricators and installers can embrace. The Future Lab complements the test centre at Yale Door and Window Solutions in Willenhall where a wide range of bespoke and exclusively developed testing methods assess the performance and integrity of security and hardware products for doors. Already reaping the results of innovation from the Future Lab, fabricators and installers have embraced the new Yale Blade revolutionary window technology, on show stands throughout the recent FIT exhibition. As a direct result of the time taken in the Future Lab, Yale Blade uniquely offers fabricators the ability to fit keeps at any time of the manufacturing process, without pre-marking to offer a more flexible and efficient production process. The distinctive design also ensures one locking point height for all profiles, reducing stock holding for multi system users. The rotary locking action of the Yale Blade significantly reduces mechanical wear, further eliminating compression loss and ensuring consistent weather-sealing performance for the life of the product and its fully retracting locking points completely eliminate cam clash, significantly reducing costly call backs. Occupying the full depth of the eurogroove, the Yale Blade provides the window with increased integral strength and with unique lock engagement the full length of the keeps, Yale Blade exceeds the stringent requirements of PAS24 and as a result, carries the Police approved Secured by Design accreditation. Such new technologies are specifically designed to provide simple yet effective hardware products that can be easily fitted to provide high performance durable security. In summary, the launch of Blade is one example of how Yale Door and Window Solutions is working to future proof products for the benefit of its customer base to ensure they can capitalise on the current business climate, and gain a competitive advantage. The Future Lab will enable Yale Door and Window Solutions to continue to develop new and innovative hardware for the ever-changing demands of their customers.