A year on: what we've learned.
The last year has been like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for huge change both personally and professionally. There’s been a shift from office-based employment to full time working from home, millions have been furloughed and redundancies have been at an all-time high. In the blink of an eye Friday night work drinks became Zoom quizzes, toilet rolls were redefined as a precious commodity and we fed ourselves solely on home made banana bread and sourdough.
And while we’re individually working our way through this new and uneasy ground, the businesses of the UK have also had to adapt to the new COVID-secure government guidelines and the evolving landscape of consumer behaviour. Having been stuck inside our houses without the means to travel abroad for our summer holidays, the UK has seen a boom in home renovations, with many more end consumers jumping into the world of home improvement.
We can’t underestimate the impact that this has had on our partners and customers, which is why we’ve caught up with Keely Greenhalgh, National Sales Manager, to understand what we’ve done over the past year to support our customers.
What has been the biggest challenge of the last year?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that we are proudly part of a very resilient industry. After the initial lockdown the first challenge that we had to overcome was establishing how to reopen quickly and safely. With our staff working from home, we were able to re-evaluate our ways of working to adapt to the incoming guidelines and reopen our factory doors within a few months. And while we were adapting and overcoming the challenges of lockdown and new guidelines, our partners were also doing the same. The guidelines were different for every one of our customers: distributors, showrooms, retailers and installers were all restricted in different ways and at different times throughout the year, so one of the biggest challenges was learning how to ebb and flow with each other to make sure that we could support them in every way that we could, while ensuring that everyone was safe and COVID-secure.
How did we adapt?
Having established our new ways of working, we took this time as an opportunity to realign our priorities and focus on our main deliverables as a company. That’s our excellent customer service, our top-quality products, and our quick deliveries. The most impactful way we have achieved this is by listening and learning from our customers. Our Area Business Managers have worked effortlessly to get in touch with all of our contacts to understand how we can support them while they have learned how to trade in this new world.
And with the world turned upside down, we’ve also looked at how we need to adapt and position ourselves within the changing market. We’ve made a significant investment into our marketing drive with an expanding team to ensure we continue to offer specific tools and support to meet the varying needs of our different stakeholders. Having welcomed a new UK Marketing Communications Manager and a Digital Marketing Specialist, we’re building up these new relationships, creating exciting new materials and have some very exciting new news coming in the next few months that we’re excited to share.
It’s really been a huge team job – we’ve come together and worked through the challenges that the year has thrown at us, and spent time stretching ourselves to make sure that we’re ready to jump into the new-normal as our showrooms reopen their doors from April 12th.
We’re very confident in our business and how we have responded and grown with the challenging year. We continued to provide trusted products that are equally beneficial for the homeowner and installers throughout the pandemic and with innovation at the heart of the business we will continue to drive our products further to stay ahead of the mark. More than ever as a country we’re looking to ‘buy local’ and stay within the UK and as all of our panels are manufactured in our Perth factory located in the heart of Scotland, it has helped keep us in the forefront of our partners minds as a reliable source.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still forefront in our lives, we expect to continue to see an uplift in people upgrading their bathrooms. We predict households to use the money typically used for international travel to go into upgrading their homes, where they’ll be spending much more time. And as much as we are looking forward to the world getting back to ‘normal’, we’re excited to support our customers, providing them with our quick and easy to install panels.
The year has been undeniably tough, for many reasons. But between our innovative products, enthusiastic team, and our reliable resources we know that as long as we continue to work closely with our partners, we can help each other continue to succeed.
We cannot wait for the world to start reopening, and as always, we’re here for you. If you need anything from us do not hesitate to get in touch.