In my most recent polls on the DGB social media feeds, I asked fenestration installers their thoughts on the state of deliveries to them from their suppliers. Last week those polls on Linkedin and Twitter ended, and these were the results.
Installers: what is the current situation?
This was the question I posed to installers at the time: What is the current situation with your deliveries from suppliers right now?
These were the results from both Linkedin and Twitter:
Total votes: 133
Total votes: 60
Individually and combined, there is a majority that voted for “poor” or worse when it came to deliveries at the moment. What this demonstrates is the immense pressure fabricators are under right now when it comes to trying to keep their installers happy. As we all know, the sector is being crippled with sustained and growing high demand from a public that has drastically changed their spending habits over the past year.
This switch to investing massively in their homes was not predicted, and therefore caught much of us off-guard, leaving little to no room to attempt to scale up to be able to cope with the demand we are still seeing.
What have we learned?
There is more than one lesson to take from these polls. The obvious one is that installers clearly aren’t happy at the moment. Service is obviously taking a hit due to the extreme pressure everyone is under. But that is not the only thing we need to be taking from this.
Whilst installers may not think much of deliveries at the moment, installers are also the ones to help out their fabricators which in turn will help themselves. For example, installation companies need to be placing their orders with all of their suppliers at the soonest possible moment. Even as the ink is drying on the final survey sheet almost! The sooner a fabricator knows what volumes of stock are going to be needed to fulfil a delivery, they can order ahead in plenty of time, factor that into their schedules with wiggle-room just in case something goes wrong so it doesn’t impact the installer.
Do not place orders at the moment when things are so tight as they are. Anything unexpected such as material shortages, vehicle breakdowns, missing parts etc leave both the fabricator and installer vulnerable and will likely cause further problems. Get those orders in as soon as you can.
For fabricators, the lesson continues to be communication. If something is going to be late or missing, installers need to know ASAP so they can make plans. If installers are kept out of the loop then it means they cannot contact homeowners in enough time to be able to give them an informed and planned response to any delays to their schedules. The more clear communication that can be provided as quickly as possible gives the installers more time to plan and adapt schedules.
The industry as a whole needs to work better together through this current period. We’re all relying on each other to do our bit, to help above and below us in the supply chain, keep the tone professional and communicate well. This is obviously not going to be an easy period, and will likely last sometime into next year. But if we can rally around everyone and do what we can, we’ll come out the other side of this particular crisis in better shape and more experienced than before.
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