Riding the waves of the pandemic

Ben Brocklesby, director at Origin, on how the company has come out of another year of uncertainty stronger than ever, despite industry-wide supply issues.

The last two years have been difficult for everybody in a variety of different ways. Businesses across the country are working harder than ever to recover from this difficult period and we are no different. We are only now starting to see the full impact of the pandemic for the manufacturing industry, as demand continues to increase, while supply becomes more challenging.

At Origin, we place a lot of importance in honesty and transparency, and as such, have worked exceptionally hard to communicate important messages to our partners about the wider supply chain. With industry-wide stock shortages, it has never been more important to keep customers updated on their orders and to ensure that they are aware of our ‘on time, in full’ promise, of which we are entirely committed to.

Given the investment we made into stock for our popular colours, the aim of the year was to advise customers to keep it simple. Doing this meant we always had the stock on hand to make popular colours without any foreseeable delay, unlike having to order special colours, which posed a greater risk. This ability to deliver was a key USP that also drew a lot of attraction to Origin from those who hadn’t traded with us before.

Additionally, we used technology in more ways than we could have imagined as part of our marketing strategy. This included introducing training webinars which allowed development and engagement to continue, despite the restrictions on in-person meetings. We also had to increase the use of technology for meetings, especially given the product launches that took place. We were able to provide updates whenever necessary on product changes and launches, despite the launches being behind closed doors.

We have invested heavily in our R&D, ensuring that our products can still be manufactured, despite supply chain issues, while continuing to develop new products. To help with this, we took extra time to strengthen our relationships with our key suppliers, meaning that we remain the preferred client for these companies. This has ensured that we can source important materials, for example polyamide, which had been a real challenge.

It was vital that we also communicated to our partners that we were supporting them through this, being a reliable supplier that they could count on. With stock levels and lead times having to change to cope with supply issues, our partners had to be kept well informed about how this may impact them.

We also supported our customers by conducting website audits, as websites were the only way homeowners were able to compare installers. This was very successful and allowed us to offer extensive marketing support, including social media and PPC campaigns on behalf of our customers. We were pleased to see such strong metrics following these campaigns and this support will continue going into 2022.

Providing reassurance was paramount, and we were very successful in doing so. We made it clear to partners and potential customers that capacity and stock were not a problem. The introduction of our new 55,000ft2 warehouse facility reinforced our ability to deliver products as required, at a time when many companies continue to struggle with delivery. It was especially important to demonstrate to new customers that Origin is a company that can be relied on, despite all of the challenges, so they will continue to use our products long into the future.

Despite another year full of highs and lows, we are proud of Origin for being able to turn uncertainty into opportunity. We have done everything we can to provide support wherever possible and this will continue to be the case, whatever 2022 has in store.