Right, there has been some really heated debates going on in the online world about quality, communication and if there is actually a problem or not. I have been told to be representative, so in this I will try to be. However I have always written from my point of view on DGB and allowed others to debate with me the alternative arguments via the comments facility.

Over the last few weeks I have noticed, a rising number of complaints about various quality and communications issues. Personally, I can say that I too have noticed these issues of late and they have been on the increase. Thankfully, most have been resolved, some on the other hand, have taken too long, with the end result not being what we would have liked.

@NigelGrantUpvc, @bigwindowfitter, @HomeGuardDG as well as others, have also made similar complaints of late. It’s not just these three which have resorted to Twitter to try and force some action of out who they buy their products from.

The point about working together as a team, instead of reporting problems online via a portal system, an idea which I floated in a previous post, has been mentioned. I agree with parts of those comments against it, but I would say that it was REHAU which had the gall to ask various industry people for advice on how to improve. The remark about working with your supplier is a valid one. At the business I work with, we often never report problems to our suppliers as we just get on with fitting the job in hand and try to rectify the problems ourselves. But there are occasions where suppliers are called to sort the bigger issues that we can’t. A lot of the time this is swiftly done and the customer is left happy in the end.

But this is not the point. The point people have been trying to make online is that they believe quality and communication problems are on the rise and something needs to be done now before it gets worse. I agree completely with this.

During the recession, suppliers at all stages of the supply chain had to downsize and reduce staff in order to cope with less demand. That means skilled workers were lost and inherently that means a higher chance of mistakes. But now, as the economy is recovering and demand for new windows and doors rises, there is an increased strain on that team to cope with the extra workload. That means more mistakes, which will hit both the quality and communications parts of the business.

What needs to happen is suppliers, again in all parts of the supply chain, should be investing in new staff and training to help cope with rising demand. If not, any problems which some people consider small and isolated now, could become bigger and more widespread if not seen to now.

It has also been mentioned that if an installer is not happy with the quality and service they are getting, then they should change supplier. It is not as easy as being suggested. Most installers do actually want to build long standing partnerships with their suppliers. It means remedial work is attended to quicker, loyalty is built up, favours and extra help when needed is easier to come by etc. And most importantly, the installer uses that supplier because they like the product, so they shouldn’t feel forced to change.

Installers have to work with their suppliers to rectify problems. But what supplies should also know is that if there is a growing succession of issues that don’t seem to be getting resolved in a manner that leaves the installer happy, then expect things like what has happened on Twitter this week to happen. People often go to public places to shout about their displeasure about something, in order to apply a bit more pressure to get that issue resolved. It’s going to happen more and more often as social media embeds itself further. So I guess an extension to this point is that if more people go online to shout about their displeasure, it will hint to more extensive problems.

What I am not saying is that there is an industry crisis. But what I am saying, and what Dean (@bigwindowfitter) said earlier on today, is that problems do seem to have increased over the last three months or so. What is also being said is that industry wide or more locally specific, issues need to be addressed now before rising demand extenuates the problems further.

But hold the phone! I do believe there is a silver lining in all this. There mere fact we are talking about issues due to increase in demand is a good thing – demand is actually on the increase. I think everyone can agree that the industry certainly is picking up, as is the wider economy and that is something we should all be happy about.

I have started a thread on the DGB Forum about this, so if you don’t wish to leave a comment here but would prefer a forum platform, you can talk about it there too. Comments, both in agreement and disagreement are welcome!