Help as fenestration gets back on its feet

Sam Nuckey, managing director of Window Ware, outlines the steps the company taking to keep staff safe at work, and gives her thoughts on how the sector has responded to the partial lifting of the lockdown.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our brilliant team, Window Ware is officially open for business. It’s been a challenging few months, but we’re delighted to be back to support our customers.

As with all businesses, we’ve had to implement extensive social distancing guidelines and strict hygiene measures to keep our staff safe.

In our warehouse, we’ve added more packing benches, displayed Covid awareness signage, installed sanitation stations, and we’ve implemented a one-way system for order picking.  Staff are also offered a variety of PPE such as gloves, masks, and visors to wear if they wish.

Our trade counter has also undergone strict social distancing measures, with a new one-way queuing system in place to keep customers and employees safe while they’re on the premises.

Employees who can work from home are continuing to do so, but when we get the go-ahead for their return, social distancing and hygiene measures have already been implemented throughout our offices too.

Social distancing has inevitably meant we’re not able to operate at exactly the same level as we were before the lockdown, but we’re working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure our service levels meet the exacting needs of our customers.

We’ve already reinstated our next day delivery service, and we’ve been busy replenishing our stocks to ensure our otif is back up to +97%.

So, while we’re facing huge challenges like every other company in our sector, our focus remains on our service offering, to support our valued customers with a service they can rely on.

Initial demand from our customers has been much stronger than we expected, and while they may not be at pre-lockdown levels, the industry appears to be pretty buoyant right now.

Speaking to businesses we supply from all around the country, the majority of fabricators seem to have returned to work at around 50% of their usual capacity and workforce, with this changing and evolving by the day.

Many report being quite busy, but the bulk of the demand towards the end of May seemed to be coming from orders they weren’t able to start or finish from before the lockdown, and from new-build work.

However, many have also said they’ve received a decent number of enquiries during the lockdown – again, more than they expected. The hope is that, as the lockdown measures continue to be eased, those enquiries translate into sales, and that leads start to climb.

But whatever the next few weeks bring, Window Ware will have one overriding priority: doing whatever we can to help our customers survive the current situation, and go on to thrive in the months and years ahead.

We’re making our stock of PPE available to customers who are struggling to get hold of it and wouldn’t be able to work safely otherwise. Don’t hesitate to speak to us if you’d like to learn more.

What’s more, we encourage open dialogue with our customers who may be struggling financially as they try to get back up and running. Again, if you need help with payments, don’t be afraid to ask. We’ll do our utmost to help.

Ultimately, as a sector, we’re all in this together; if we support each other, we’re confident the fenestration industry can come out of this stronger.