The world has changed dramatically over the past two years not least because of the COVID pandemic. This led to stoppages in manufacturing across the globe as countries and individual factories sought to cope with lockdowns and employee illness and absence.
This in turn, saw shortages of products across multiple sectors from cars, computers, construction and everything in between.
The pandemic affected everyone, and every sector and the world also discovered just how essential global shipping was to everything, with ports closed or in partial lockdown and both boats and containers in the wrong place.
This led to shortages in basic building materials such as timber and cement, and even in the retail industry, where global High Street brands like Starbucks have struggled to fulfil their customers’ requirements.
And that was before the Evergiven blocked the Suez Canal in March 2021, forcing longer journeys on the hundreds of boats who could no longer use this vital passage. This added weeks or more to the delivery of raw materials, components and finished goods.
We’ve been trading for over a Century and take great pride in maintaining the highest manufacturing standards
Like all other manufacturers, we’ve seen supply shortages as well. We’ve had reduced manufacturing due to lockdown and employee shortages, and we’ve seen shortages in the supply of raw material such as plastics and components, such as pumps, PCBs and simple plastic connectors. It has literally affected all elements of our route to market.
For us as a brand that is used to operating in the UK Construction industry and being able to supply complex HVAC on an almost just in time basis, this has been a painful period.
We’ve struggled to match our customers’ demands every time and being honest, we haven’t met our own high standards as much as we would like, or our customers need.
And we are not yet out of the woods either because these material and component shortages are likely to be with us for some time yet. The recent news saw China going into rolling lockdowns again, with entire cities under curfew. This affects everything globally from materials, manufacturing, and shipping, and has a knock-on effect around the world.
What we have tried to do though is communicate with our customers so that we can give them as much notice of any issues as possible. We’ve not always got this right but we have been trying to do as much as we can, with the information available at hand, in a rapidly changing situation.
We have also been working closely with our colleagues during this time, and we’ve enlarged and strengthened our supply chain but this has taken time and there is more work to be done.
Quality cannot be compromised
One thing we cannot and will not do though, is compromise on quality.
Because we’re committed to the circular economy, we’re not prepared to compromise on the quality of our equipment, on its performance throughout its lifecycle and on the longevity that our customers rely on.
As a brand that has been trading for over a Century, we take great pride in maintaining the highest standards in our manufacturing and we have developed rigorous quality assurance procedures that ensure quality is built into everything we produce.
It may be easier to seek cheaper, less reliable components, from suppliers that we haven’t been able to test against our QA processes but this would have proved a false economy for both us and our customers.
We want to partner with installers and suppliers so that together we can continue to deliver high levels of service and product innovation.
Philip Ord is Head of Commercial Products