Volume 5 | Issue 6 | Year 2002

Delair Group, L.L.C. has been manufacturing in-ground and above-ground swimming pools since 1968. The company’s proprietary products have gained a reputation for quality and innovation. One of the leading pool and fence manufacturers in the world, Delair has built long-term relationships with more than 1,000 dealers in the United States and abroad. Added to that, its Delgard line of maintenance-free fences is growing rapidly. Could the news get better? In a word, “Yes.”

As part of Arch America Corporation, Delair has the added advantage of access to the sister company’s resources, an arrangement that allows for vertical integration of its manufacturing processes. The other companies in the group are Aluminum Shapes, a fabricator, extruder and finisher of aluminum; Accu-Weld L.L.C, a manufacturer of extruded vinyl, replacement windows, and Ultra Hardware Products, a manufacturer and distributor of more than 6,000 products.

According to Ilene Fink, marketing director, no other swimming pool manufacturer has the advantage of this vertical integration. She cites the benefits as better quality control, quicker turnarounds, flexible scheduling and the ability to customize orders – capabilities important to dealers and consumers alike.

Fink describes the initiatives Delair has taken to enhance its operations in the two years since the business was first featured in US Industry Today. “We’ve made a lot of changes in production to make it faster, better and more efficient. We’ve done things such as implement the ‘supermarket’ approach. That means we’ve identified our fast movers, and can guarantee five days or better delivery on the most popular models and styles.”

“We also rearranged our facility, and this makes a big difference,” Fink continues. “It’s now easier to locate individual items and move around the plant more quickly and efficiently. This makes it easier to produce and ship products faster.”

To better communicate with customers, Delair also upgraded its process by installing an e-mail system that gives order confirmations and uses tracking numbers that enable dealers to check on their shipments. Fink credits the computerized system with reducing the number of phone calls inquiring about order status. Additionally, the manufacturer improved its shipping function and expanded the sales support staff so questions about products are answered quickly and accurately.

Describing the results of all these changes, the marketer states, “One example of the benefits of changes in our production is in Delgard shipping performance. We put in a system that measures how soon after receiving the order the product is shipped, and it shows on-time delivery has improved dramatically.”

A Platform for Growth
Founded as the Esther Williams Swimming Pool Company, Delair developed its product line to reach a spectrum of consumers. An overview of the brands shows the company’s diversity.

• Esther Williams Inground pools are named for the legendary swimming champion and film star. Inground pools are made with welded extruded aluminum panels in more than 20 standard sizes and eight standard shapes, however with customization the possibilities are limitless. Easier to install and stronger than steel pools, these pools offer a limited lifetime warranty.

• Above-ground pools are made with sheet-wall aluminum or extruded aluminum slats in a variety of colors and sizes. The 52-inch wall height allows for 48 inches of water depth. Esther Williams’ extensive offering of extruded aluminum walk decks, patio decks and fences are options that make this brand different from its competition. The pools have up to a 60-year limited warranty.

• Johnny Weissmuller pools are named for the Olympic gold-medal winner and actor. The pools are made with sheet-aluminum or extruded aluminum walls and were the first aboveground pools with 52-inch wall heights. The line has several styles and color choices, numerous sun deck and safety fence options unlike the competition and warranties of up to 60 years. Fink notes that a new design is in the works for this line.

• Symphony Series aboveground pools: The models constitute a line of 52-inch steel-sheet-wall aboveground pools with patterns and matching frames.

• Delair Group manufactures private label pools including Patriot and Family Ties, and also offers a line of pool accessories that includes staircases, ladders, walk decks, patio decks, portholes, liners and telescopic vac poles.

Custom Perimeters
Delair’s other division, Delgard fence, is a line of maintenance-free residential and commercial extruded-aluminum fences with the look of wrought iron. Delgard fences are made in a variety of styles and heights suitable for homes, estates and pool areas. They are manufactured in three grades, some of which meet pool barrier codes in most areas.

• Residential – Narrow pickets and horizontal rails make this grade suitable for pool enclosures or as decorative perimeter fencing.
• Aero – Added strength is derived from larger components in these fences, which are used for pool enclosures, estate fencing, golf courses, new-home developments and environments where more substantial fencing is needed.
• Commercial – Superior strength makes these security fences suitable for high-traffic areas, public facilities and large residential properties.

Delgard fences range in height from 36 inches to 96 inches and have gates or slider entries fitted with a brass-handled latch or magna-latch. Fink emphasizes that the entries are compatible with automatic gate entry systems installed by dealers.

Decorative accessories such as finials, ball caps, scrolls, circles and a choice of colors (black, white, and bronze) are offered as customizing options.

Future Waves
Delair currently employs 150 people directly in its manufacturing facility. Arch America personnel add to that total. Manufacturing occupies approximately 400,000 square feet on 20 acres at the Delair facility. This is a part of a 1.5 million square foot facility that houses Aluminum Shapes.

Fink says Delair looks to the immediate future as a growth period. “All of our above-ground pools are doing well. We have a very high-end, respected product. Since its inception, Delgard has increased in sales and market share dramatically from year to year. We fully expect the growth trend to continue.”

The combination of Delair pool products and Delgard fences gives new meaning to the term “power pool.”