(l-r) Craig Schmidt and Greg Kane (both Conservatory Outlet)

The UK’s leading manufacturer of high-quality windows, doors, home extensions and conservatory products has kick-started a major digital transformation project with the appointment of a new Group Head of IT.

Conservatory Outlet Group, which employs over 400 people across it 60,000 sq ft factory in Wakefield and retail businesses Clearview and Pennine Home Improvements, has recruited Craig Schmidt to help it strengthen productivity in its manufacturing operations and enhance the level of customer support it provides.

The 45-year-old, who boasts extensive experience in implementing business transformation changes across multiple industries, joins the team during an ambitious growth period that has seen it expand from £8m of sales in 2011 to £48m this year.

He will help develop product and service innovations by harnessing the power of IT and digital systems, which will make the firm’s customer journeys more memorable and support its 27-strong network of home improvement retailers across the UK.

“These are exciting times for the group as we look to target £50m of sales within the next eighteen months,” explained Craig Schmidt, who moved from his native South Africa to the UK in December 2020.

“Digital transformation is happening across every sector and one of my roles will be to identify how we can bring in new technologies to initially support the manufacturing operation and then all areas of our business. This isn’t just investment for investment’s sake, but about how we can use IT to improve the way we manufacture products and how we manage our supply chain.”

He continued: “During a time when we are all facing extreme challenges – not only on a business front but also in our personal lives – the team remains dedicated to improving service levels. I hope to be of real value moving forward.”

Conservatory Outlet is one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing manufacturers and was recently recognised by the London Stock Exchange after posting £48m sales across the Group over the last 12 months.

Led by Greg Kane and Mick Giscombe, the company has expanded significantly through a combination of strong organic growth, the launch of a new ‘trade only’ business and the acquisition of two retail businesses in Clearview and Pennine Home Improvements.