The two largest manufacturers of roller-doors in Australia are Gliderol and B&D Australia. Due to intense competition, it is not possible to identify the market leader, since sales figures vary monthly for each company. Due to the intense competition in the local market, Gliderol, which is based in Adelaide, is focusing more on Garage Door Export. Gliderol was ranked among the top 500 private companies in Australia has diversified from the manufacture of basic roller-doors and focusing on research and development. Since basic doors are not profitable, the company owner Warwick Lumbers claims that Gliderol’s strategy is helping the company grow.
Like Lumbers in 1974, when he started Gliderol, most outsiders to the roller door sector think that the industry is very profitable since many homes are being constructed in the suburbs. Lumbers claims that he spotted the opportunity in the market after he noticed that a large number of suburban homes were being constructed, and most of these homes had roller doors. To start his business, he used his savings, mortgaged his home and borrowed money from his bank. Since there were low entry barriers, he hired seven people and started his roller door business. There were no indications that the profit margins would be extremely low.
Lumbers gained his extensive knowledge about roller-doors while he was Wormald International’s sales manager. Like B&D Australia, Wormald International, was one of the first few companies in the world to manufacture these doors. Since Gliderol was the third company supplying garage door repair services, it was successful immediately. Within four years of starting up, every state had a Gliderol branch. In the United States, by 1980, Gliderol finalized a licensing agreement for its doors which was lucrative. Gliderol had manufacturing facilities in all the larger states and a monthly production capacity of 5000 doors.
One of the major peeves of Lumbers is that many Australians incorrectly tell him that Gliderol is a US company. He is forced to clarify that he owns Gliderol, that he has licensed the technology to Gliderol USA, and the technology for electronics is exported to Taiwan. However, he claims that most Australians do not believe him. In 1993, almost half of Gliderol’s sales revenue was from exports. Lumbers claims that his company was able to survive despite the price wars, recession, mainly because it decided to focus on exports around 1984. He claims that it was a logical decision since their company had the best product in the world, and selling it was easy.
Gliderol manufacturers its doors in more than thirteen countries like US, UK, Middle East and other Asian countries through its joint venture and licensing partners. However, all components used indoors are supplied from Adelaide. The doors are used in diversion applications like the pit garages for the motor racing Grand Prix, keeping the car collections of millionaires secure, and for stalls which are also used as homes in crowded cities like Mumbai, Cairo. The company continues to devote resources on research and development so that it will have an edge in exports and marketing its products.
In 1980, Gliderol developed a drive unit which is patented worldwide. This drive unit was manufactured from an engineering plastic called Lexan, which is also used in weather, security shields and was specially developed for NASA. The drive is fitted within the drum used to revolve the door and was the only automated roller door available which would not protrude outside the walls. This drive could also be used to convert manual roller-doors into automatic doors within thirty minutes. The company is also perfecting electronic mechanisms for gates and is developing fibreglass doors for use in climates with higher humidity levels. The roller door motor is also used to develop inexpensive golf cart buggies.