It’s no secret lead times are ever increasing for many Window & Door installer’s such as ourselves. But why is this happening?
Reputable companies such as Gardinia have seen unprecedented demand over the last year. Our customers have been at home more and saved money by not going on their usual holidays, so have instead invested money in home improvements to enjoy home life more. This has significantly increased demand for our product offering more than we would normally expect.
However in addition many external factors have also contributed to both longer lead times and price increases. Recently an Open Letter to the Fenestration Industry was published, highlighting some key issues all companies throughout the UK are experiencing.
Four key points highlighted include:
1. Continued Supply Challenges:
Overwhelming demand for construction products since the easing of lockdown restrictions has left many resources in short supply, with much longer than usual lead times.
2. Basic Material Shortages:
Basic building materials, such as cement, timber, steel and paints, quickly became and continue to be heavily restricted, along with composite door slabs, uPVC profile, glass and other components.
3. Price Rises:
Global shipping costs have risen sharply due to a shortage of empty containers caused by Covid-19. This, coupled with massive demand and competition from Europe, has meant most raw materials and components involved in construction have been subject to overwhelming price rises.
The days where price could be leveraged with scale of purchasing and volume buying are over, with all levels of the supply chain opting or needing to prioritise margin on a scarce resource over their top line. This ultimately makes all our products more costly to manufacture.
4. Labour Shortages:
Brexit has impacted heavily on recruitment in our industry, especially the ability to recruit and retain logistics / manufacturing staff. This has been further compounded by
the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 isolation requirements.
So what can we do?
The answer is simply be upfront and honest with customers, the world has changed a lot over the last two years, which most customers do appreciate. If a company tells you they can complete an installation in 4-6 weeks then you need to question how honest that company is been with you.
As stated in a Times article published on Monday 18th October 2021:
We know we are fortunate that we have a busy order book like never before and we are thankful that we are a strong and robust business built on strong foundations, principles and financially secure. However this has been achieved over a nearly 40 year period of been honest and professional and building outstanding trust and relationships with our customers who continue to be our main focus.
We know that we are all having to navigate through uncertain times and we are so thankful for our customers continued patience and co-operation. Rest assured we are working hard to deliver results and things are changing for the better but it is going to continue to take time but we will get there and whilst we can’t promise when exactly this will be, we will continue to be there to serve our customers and their needs just like we did from the first day of business way back in 1983.