Manufacturing and Installation
IDSystems CEO Frank Buckley describes the process of managing the business through lockdown.
“We had started to take steps in early March as we have to go into people’s homes to install doors and windows. However, when entering lockdown our immediate priorities were to make everything on-site secure and safe, and ensure all projects being worked on were finished off. Our teams worked late into the evenings that week and it was a huge relief when the last of them arrived safely back in Norwich.
With no ability to install or deliver our products, we had no choice but to stop the manufacturing process. Having to break the news to our brilliant fabricators and logistics teams that we needed to furlough them was especially tough.
Prioritising the workload
The next stage was to contact customers and explain what we were planning to do; something that proved very difficult when government guidance seemed to change on a nearly daily basis. We were thankful that our customers were hugely patient and understanding.
With so many jobs already scheduled for the first half of the year, our task was to prioritise the work as best we could so that we were able to get back to work as quickly as possible.
We took the decision early on that we needed to keep our project advisors and marketing staff working and they quickly adapted to working remotely, holding meetings virtually and working tirelessly to take enquiries and prepare quotations for projects.
Adapting our approach
We know that people love to feel our products, as it really helps them to bridge the gap between brochures and drawings. With the cancellation of events and our showroom closed, we had to completely rethink how we could replace this critical phase of the customer journey. So, we quickly switched to a digital and social media-led approach, enabling us to reach out to potential customers and architects. Our team quickly turned around some product-focused video content which proved to be an invaluable resource. And our virtual showroom quickly became the most visited page on our website. Our website stats are nearly double the same period last year and the number of enquiries for projects we are seeing coming through is encouraging. This has meant we could bring staff back from furlough quicker than expected.
Because of the hard work and efforts that had gone on during lockdown, when restrictions started to be eased, we were in a really strong place to react quickly. Our installation teams are back out on the road and are now very used to social distancing on-site.
Customers value our experience
We appreciate that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for the next 12-24 months at least but looking around our industry there has been a real trend amongst customers to move towards experienced suppliers and for quality products which bodes well. Whilst we didn’t get everything right and with hindsight, we’d have approached some elements differently, our experience and the processes we have put in place stand us in good stead to react to whatever comes next.”