In the ten years I have been involved in the window and door industry, I have found the six week summer holidays an unpredictable period of time. Some years it has been dead, probably down to families going away on holiday or looking after the kids when they’re at home. Some years it has been busy. This time round, it appears to definitely be the latter. In fact I saw someone call it “silly season” on Twitter the other week. And I have to agree with them on that.

Being busy creates it’s own stresses

It’s been a while since it’s been this busy at our place. I like to think we do generally well all year round, but these last few weeks have really been a strain. We’ve been stacked out with leads, to the point where we’re probably going on more than we can cope with right now. Of course sales have been good as a result. But being busy brings it’s own stresses.

There are three of us at our place that are involved in sales. Myself, my brother and my Dad. When we all sit 2/3 leads per day, that paper work start to quickly rack up. When you consider that most leads, including travelling time takes up at least 90 minutes, often a fair bit more, two or three a day takes up much of your time. Add in dealing with people who visit the showroom, finding five minutes to eat, then the time to try and drop of the odd quote you’ve managed to actually get done, you can suddenly end up with a dozen unfinished quotes by the end of the week.

Might seem a nice problem to have, but it puts pressure on the sales departments, and when there is pressure, the chances of mistakes and errors increase.

Increase in lead times

Also, when the industry is busy like it is, lead times increase quickly. In the space of a week our own lead time doubled to 8 weeks in the space of just one, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any shorter. Again, might seem like a nice problem to have, but again it brings it’s own pressure.

Take the past few days as an example of one problem. The weather has been miserable. I have written this post after just coming back from London, where it rained practically non-stop for two days. You cannot fit windows and doors or a glazed extension for that matter in weather like that.

So you put the jobs off until the weather improves. Problem is, you’ve got eight solid weeks booked in, where are you going to fit it? Put it to the back of the queue? Move the other seven weeks down, potentially mucking up plans for all those people given provisional dates and already planned their schedule around those dates? It’s a tough one.

This might sound like I’m complaining a bit. I’m really not. I’d much rather have the industry like this than the state it was in during 2008-2010. All I’m saying is that being as busy as many appear to be, brings problems and stresses of a different kind. As a busy industry, we have to remain focused at all times to ensure that we all make the very most of the profitable times that lie ahead.

How busy are you?

What is the state of play at your place? Is it quieter than people are saying? Is this the busiest you’ve been all year? Using the poll below, let me and readers know.

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