Opportunities and investment

By Ben Brocklesby, director at Origin.

As we reach the end of another busy year, this December column gives us the perfect chance to reflect on the highs and lows of 2021.

We cannot ignore the fact that we have faced nearly two years of confusion, uncertainty and challenges. However, despite all of this, I am thrilled with where Origin finds itself today, emerging from the other side of this testing time in a better place than ever before.

From what we have seen, demand is stronger than ever, and the industry has shown great resilience in being able to keep up with it. Indeed, we are now busier than we have ever been, across all areas of the business, from R&D and product development through to growing our network of 1,200 partners by us being strong enough that we can deliver where others potentially couldn’t.

At Origin, we try not to get too complacent, viewing each challenge thrown at us, like Brexit and the pandemic, as an opportunity to strengthen the business. Over the past year, we have done this through investing in our own infrastructure and supply chains, and we have been pleased with the results.

For many, it may not make sense to significantly invest in anything during an economic downturn, but we knew that this was a great chance to futureproof Origin for our staff and for our partners.

Our new 55,000ft2 warehouse facility located in Bicester was the most significant investment we made. This additional storage space allows us to stockpile materials and some of our most popular products, meaning we can fulfil our On Time, In Full promise that is so important to us and our partners. This new addition increased our storage capacity by 82% and has freed up space at our other facilities, allowing us to increase our manufacturing capacity, and giving us the confidence to say that our partners will never miss an install date when choosing Origin.

We are confident that these investments in our supply chain, stock, and production will ensure that we can weather any future uncertainty. No matter the issue, we will secure and maintain our manufacturing excellence for our partners nationwide.

This is not the only part of the business that we have focused on. In one of Origin’s biggest undertakings ever, we have made significant improvements to our IT infrastructure, realising our ‘just one click’ ambition. The investment means every process across the business – from sales, procurement, and manufacturing to warehouse and delivery – is now controlled by a single touch of a button.

This means that a partner can confirm an order through our unique OSS system and a works order is automatically created. The materials needed for the order will be automatically deducted from stock control, then reordered to ensure stock levels are maintained. Line supply is undertaken, and manufacturing can begin, with delivery then scheduled, all without any human intervention.

The final element of investment was in our products. The R&D department has worked extremely hard to update our current product range to design out any materials that have been in short supply during the pandemic. As a result of this, we have been able to manage our lead times. We have also launched our new OS-29 Sliding Door system which offers our partners another option for homeowners looking for ultra-slim sightlines. We will be extending our product range even further in 2022, which is really exciting.

An immense amount of hard work and dedication from the entire Origin team has gone into making this year such a success. While there have been ups and downs, we are all thrilled to be moving out of this period so strongly, ready, and excited for what 2022 has in store for us and our incredible partners.