2020: A year in Review
21 December 2020
Because of Coronovirus, 2020 has created both challenges and opportunities in equal measure for all kinds of businesses. Window Ware's Managing Director, Sam Nuckey, shares how the company has successfully navigated an unprecedented year…
As the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt across the globe and the country strives to bounce back from wide-spread factory closures and two national lockdowns, there’s no doubt that 2020 has been a tumultuous year for everyone.
Despite the long-awaited first roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, high street shops, restaurants and pubs, not to mention travel, entertainment and hospitality businesses, face challenging months ahead.
One industry that has bucked the trend and positively thrived through 2020, however, is the home improvement sector.
With much of the UK population forced to stay at home for several months during lockdown, unable to go to work or splash out on holidays abroad, people chose to channel their spare time and money into improving their homes instead.
As a result, the home improvement industry has boomed. That’s not to say, there haven’t been a few bumps on the road to prosperity. Yes, the pandemic has created a rush on home renovations, which is great news for the fenestration industry willing to meet this increased demand. On the flipside, however, it’s also created significant global supply chain issues, which have hampered many businesses in their ability to source materials and meet the upturn.
Window Ware has been at the frontline of this battle between supply and demand.
“The past 10 months have been tough going,” admits Window Ware’s MD Sam Nuckey. “But, thanks to careful pre-planning, hard work and determination, our resilient teams and brand partners have rallied together and come through.”
She goes on to explain, “It turned out that by diligently maintaining our usual buffer stock and high stocks pre-COVID, we had at the same time ensured we were in a strong position to weather the first national lockdown and better manage the impact of the pandemic. All those months spent putting Brexit contingency measures in place and managing essential stock to cushion our customers against supply chain issues has proved invaluable.”
“Despite those efforts, like many providers, we know our service has still suffered somewhat in the past few months, but the situation could have been far worse were it not for our primed agility, adaptability and planning.”
“Regular conversations with all stakeholders and persistent forward thinking have been crucial in our company’s ability to stay agile, take action and adapt, both throughout lockdown and during more recent months as restrictions lifted and the industry finally got back to work.”
Despite the complications the pandemic has caused, Window Ware has nevertheless been able to maintain a strong OTIF of 92% and an input accuracy of over 99%, with the whole team going the extra mile to make dependable next day deliveries the norm even in abnormal times.
Customers could still count on a quick response too. Even during the tightest lockdown restrictions, the Window Ware crew made sure to answer all queries the very same working day, picking up 95% of customer calls within just 10 seconds, and continuing to keep their customers informed with all the usual order updates.
“Obviously, we know we haven’t succeeded to satisfy our customers first time, every time”, admits Sam. “But our aspirations and service targets remained high and didn’t waver despite the challenges we faced. We’ve had to temporarily change team and resource responsibilities, as well as adapt or alter processes in order to save time or add immediate and continuous visibility.”
While no one could have predicted how 2020 would ultimately turn out, we made sure to begin the year with a bang when we launched our new premium GLIDE Hardware sliding door solutions and Window Ware was appointed approved hardware distribution partner for PVCu systems giant KÖMMERLING.
The following month, we extended our offering of tilt-and-turn gearing with the arrival of the GU UNI-JET range. Alongside MACO T&T components, fabricators could now take their pick from two leading-brand systems for their PVC, aluminium and timber windows.
That same month, we celebrated 10 years since the launch of the specialist tools range, Xpert, which has helped trade professionals work faster, smarter and safer since 2010 with a tried and tested selection of essential tools such as moon knives, uPVC saws and gasket shears.
When Autumn arrived, we kept up the pace with a new campaign to promote Yale Lockmaster 21, the latest iteration of Yale’s best-selling multi-point door lock. At the same time, we extended our range of RW Simon Framevent window trickle vents with several on-trend grey finishes and continued to give fabricators a hassle-free way to offer a ‘smart’ upgrade on their doors with the Kubu-version multipoint door lock from Avantis Hardware.
For every order, every process and every interaction with customers, colleagues and brand partners alike, we've made health and safety our utmost priority. Strict social distancing, new operational ‘bubbles’ and rigorous hygiene measures have been implemented throughout the warehouse, trade counter and office space to minimise risk of infection and keep everybody fit and well.
We didn’t stop there! Not content with keeping our own crew safe, we also donated 80 boxes of gloves and facemasks to our nominated charity Sue Ryder St. John's Hospice in Moggerhanger, so the staff there could continue their vital work supporting people living with terminal illnesses.
Sam comments: “This has undoubtedly been a challenging year, but at Window Ware, we were determined to pull through. By bolstering our business against supply disruptions, evolving to deliver a superior service our customers can rely on and continuing to meet the latest hardware specifications, we’ve done just that – all while doing our best to keep each other safe.”
“We know that the challenges we faced in 2020 will most likely spill over into early 2021, but with our proven technical and commercial skills and many years of industry experience on our side, I’m confident that we will continue to go from strength to strength. I’ll be very glad when it’s finally safe enough to welcome more of my home-working colleagues back to the office again. We are a close-knit team, so it’s been hard to operate remotely for so long. That’s definitely something to look forward to in 2021 as we approach a new year of challenges and opportunities.”