Time for change
By Tracey Jackson, Howells.
As business owners, big and small, look to increase profit margins, improve efficiencies and generate quality leads in a challenging and turbulent climate, there is one area that will come under necessary scrutiny: the supply chain.
Supply chain stability will be critical in the coming months; years even. There have already been big losses within the industry and, as we navigate a new way of working, more will be inevitable. Loyalties will be tested as supply chain partners push and kick-back against prices, lead-times and delivery schedules.
With more than 40 years of trading behind us, we know more than most when it comes to weathering a storm. We also understand the importance and value of a robust supply chain partner. It’s for this very simple reason that we took time to champion those that continued to pay during the early months of lockdown. We are a SME, and like many others, we know that cashflow is critical, not least for maintaining a stable supply chain.
We specialise in the design and manufacture of glazed products, including roof lights, canopies and patent glazing bars. Now in our fifth decade we’ve built up quite a client list, having manufactured and installed product on some of the UK’s most prestigious buildings.
We believe that our heritage and partnerships have been an advantage during the current crisis. These factors, coupled with our ability to supply both commercial and domestic applications meant that we remained open throughout lockdown, receiving a steady flow of enquiries.
We stopped manufacturing for just three weeks in the 12-week period, to coincide with site closures. Following this we saw a notable rise in orders and conversions. We responded by increasing our capacity.
Going into the pandemic we knew that stock management would be critical for continuity of supply. We operate two storage areas: one at our main facility in Cradley Heath and another nearby. This allows us to stockpile aluminium bar in a variety of sizes and powder-coated finishes, alongside a selection of glazing.
Neither are we beholden to a systems house. Each and every roof light system is bespoke; designed and manufactured by us. This not only gives our customers added peace of mind, but it also means we can be flexible, enabling us to fulfil even the most challenging of requests.
While the financial stability of our partners will dominate for the foreseeable, we cannot underestimate the importance of quality: a high-quality product and installation. We manufacture all our products in an ISO 9001:2015 certified facility and they are independently tested for weathertightness (BS 6375 Part 1) and resistance to snow and permanent load (EN 14351).
All our glazed products are available for supply or supply and fit. When we supply the rooflight, we like to minimise problems and eradicate risk by assembling the completed rooflight in the factory. This means that the customer can see the finished product before it arrives onsite (we send photographs of the assembled product to the customer).
Our ready-assembled rooflights have to fit on the back of our transport so we’re limited to 20ft. Anything over that is disassembled and then reassembled (if requested) at the other end. The beauty of this is that as it has already been made up, all the holes are predrilled, and we know it will fit first time.
Written instructions are included with every delivery, and all our customers have access to video installation guides. We also offer a rooflight familiarisation workshop, the first GQA-approved rooflight course in the UK.