It’s great that the industry is getting back into the full swing of things. It has been nice to see some much genuine good news being spread about the place. But whilst we start to count the massing pennies, we also need to bear in mind how the extra revenue is going impact our businesses, especially when it comes to efficiency.

I have written before about the need for companies to invest in more staff as demand grows. This needs to happen because as the stresses and strains grow as they tend to with growing companies, extra staff bring that much needed relief and expertise to help reduce the work load. But being more specific, efficiency is what keeps a business running well.

Efficiency is something we have been looking at in our place. As we get busier, we are looking at ways to make absolutely everything we do more slick, less time consuming and less energy sapping. And I believe this is something we should all be looking at as our industry expands. For example, we are looking at ways to simplify our pricing methods. As the options available grow at almost a weekly pace, the task of pricing has become far longer and a lot more complicated. This is down to how editable our products have become now. It’s not a bad thing, but the bi-product of this is more intricate pricing – something we must address,

But tackling inefficiency shouldn’t stop at pricing. Things like production should be addressed. More orders means more frames. More frames often means longer lead times. But one thing fabricators should be wary of is lead times extending beyond a reasonable amount of time. 3-4 weeks tends to be the generally accepted lead time, with that stretching to 6 weeks if your customers are really on your side. But any longer than that and the end users are going to looking elsewhere. Most don’t expect to wait months for their new windows and doors. Investing in extra staff and machinery (and of course the means to deliver) to cope with this extra demand to ensure lead times are kept to a minimum will stop this becoming a growing problem.

Going back to paperwork again. In a time of some rather funky technology, it still baffles me how much paperwork that is still in circulation. I think that as much as is physically possible should be done by email. Invoices, contracts, receipts, delivery notes and all other forms of paperwork we use should be used online first, and THEN printed out if someone needs a paper copy. It’s now fairly easy for a company of any size to store their documents on either cloud storage which is either free or very cheap, or on their own internal IT systems where all staff can access the company documents. By doing this it would cut out so much waste paper and limit us to printing out only what we need and when we need it.

Without going on and on about this, I think you all get my point now. We should all be doing a bit of a spring clean within our businesses to make sure that all inefficiency is being tackled so that we can make the very most of the upturn in the sector. It might sound a bit boring, but if it saves time, effort and most of all money, then why not!