There’s no doubt about it – 2020 was a difficult year all round, and 2021 hasn’t started off well either. Following the lockdown announcement in early January, Frame Fast made the decision to stay open so that we can continue to supply all of our customers.
House building, builders and the home improvements sector has been least affected, and many customers are busier than ever. To us at Frame Fast, that meant after closing the factory through Lockdown 1.0, we were coming back to full order books but having to operate within the new guidance.
To adhere to this, a COVID health and safety induction was given to all members of staff at Frame Fast. Safety measures include that all staff in the factory, offices and delivery teams must always wear masks or visors and gloves. We’ve moved benches in production and marked the floor to ensure social distancing and there are signs on the walls and floors reminding staff of the 2 metre rule, hand washing and sanitising equipment. We have given every member of staff hand sanitiser to keep at their workstation in all areas of our business. We always have in stock at least 40 litres to keep their bottles topped up.
Regular cleaning is essential. Our cleaners come in every morning for a thorough daily clean, followed by an hourly cycle of cleaning to ensure all touch points are kept sanitised throughout the day.
As customers still need to visit the Trade Counter to place orders, view products or for queries, we have limited the Trade Counter to two visitors at a time, and masks or visors must be worn. Once they have been served, the Trade Counter staff will sanitise the areas the customer has been, including any products in the showroom. The Trade Counter is also cleaned on an hourly basis for optimum safety.
Communication is key
While we were shut for the few weeks during Lockdown 1.0 we sent weekly emails to keep customers informed, and our social media was kept updated.
With the glazing industry seeing such high demands, we’ve tried to keep ahead of stock ordering where we can. Supply issues within the industry – not just for COVID but issues with PVCu resin and imports of materials from China and Malaysia – meant everyone was affected. Some lead times have been longer than we wanted, but we made sure to keep our customers in the loop and aware of issues. We have always maintained that we keep customers informed even when it’s been reporting stock delays, communication is key.
Keep calm and carry on
We currently don’t have any staff on furlough and sales continue to come in from customers both specialising in window installation and the local builders we support, as well as the housebuilders and developers we supply, we are predicting a strong start to 2021.
It’s been a very worrying and stressful time for anyone in business and the uncertainty of COVID 19 has hit us all hard. I have never faced anything like it in my lifetime and cannot wait until this episode is part of history.