Father and son directors for the Georgian Bar Company, Phil and Phil Dewhurst, have worked to keep getting orders out to customers throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Commercial Director Phil Dewhurst Jr says: “As expected, most customers were shut from the end of March and April’s sales were slow but steady. We had a few UK customers that didn’t shut completely and still needed products, and some large orders to India needed to be dispatched. To protect our staff, Dad and I have carried out the tasks of 5 of our furloughed team including order picking, warehousing & distribution, technical support, sales order processing, customer care and our main responsibilities for purchasing, sales and management!
“To reduce any potential supply chain delays caused by COVID-19, we upped our orders from suppliers to increase stock levels by 20 percent. It meant that we had enough in our warehouse for customers’ orders, and we weren’t waiting deliveries coming into us.
“May also saw us win a prestigious new contract to supply the Geofast bars where the patented clip was the key to securing the order, as the windows are high up and the developers can’t afford any risk of bars falling off.
“The first week of June has seen the vast majority of our customers back in operation in some capacity. We have seen a steady stream of orders from most of our key fabricator accounts and we are moving closer towards three quarters of our normal volumes for this time of year. We also secured a new systems company who will be adopting our Geofast range in the coming weeks. For the most part it appears the industry recovery has started.
“It was important to talk to customers, even when their factories were shut throughout lockdown. It gave Dad and I a clear picture of what was coming through and how they were planning to reopen. This meant we knew in advance when they needed products and we could make sure they could get what they needed, when they needed it.
“We have taken the worldwide lockdown as an opportunity to pause sales in the USA. This gives us a chance to retool and refine our product range there. And, after the latest deliveries to India, they have the products they require as they get back to manufacturing post lockdown.
“With plenty of orders going out of the warehouse, and fewer demands on our time for business meetings and business events and networking, Dad and I have enjoyed the time we’ve spent together. Going back to the practical, hands on side of the business again, meant we could see where we could improve, and we have taken time out to reorganise the warehouse and create new processes to give customers an even better service in the future. It’s been great working with Dad and we have complementary skills, so we were able to do everything needed to keep the deliveries going.”
Phil adds: “For the Georgian Bar company team, we have put in place additional handwashing and toilet facilities as well as care packs and social distancing measures. We will start bringing the team back as sales continue to grow and we start getting more demands on our time. June looks to be very promising, not pre-lockdown levels of sales but feels like we are building back to that in a meaningful way.”