Published On: Mon, Jul 20th, 2020

Returning to a new business landscape

‘What we can be certain of is that those companies that constantly ‘stress test’ their businesses will have a better chance of survival’

As the business landscape returns to some form of normality, organisations of all sizes are facing challenges that will shape their future prospects. Hopefully it will be the last time in our lifetime that the power switch on business is abruptly turned off for such a sustained period. Questions marks will exist as to whether we will have to live with the threat of further pandemics for years to come. What we can be certain of is that those companies that constantly ‘stress test’ their businesses will have a better chance of survival. All business leaders should ask the simple question: “How will my organisation cope if we achieve 60% of our budgeted sales?” If you can survive at this level you have a fair chance of survival in the most testing of times.

Many companies in the sector have enjoyed a fruitful decade since the financial crisis back in 2008. What we can learn is that crises do have a habit of hitting hardest at the most unexpected moments. Unpicking how companies in our sector have successfully dealt with the current pandemic will only truly come to light when the furlough scheme comes to an end and the economy settles down to a new natural level. This may be short-lived with the Brexit deadline looming – which could even result in a boost for the UK economy. Employment remains the key determining factor in everything we do. Consumer demand filters down to factory output and employment levels; it is a vicious circle. The human resources element of business has been firmly in the spotlight over the last three months. Workers’ adaptability to new working environments and their enthusiasm for supporting their employers through this difficult period will be appreciated by employers. The owner of a leading fabricator commented: “Workers who have supported me and my business over the last the 3 months are the ones who will have a job. As it stands, 60% of my workforce are back at work. Through their hard work, greater efficiencies and a collective responsibility we will be able to manage work levels of between 60-80% of previous levels. Of the remaining 40% of the workforce, 20% are temporary and the other 20% are under risk.”

Being able to adapt to change is one positive consequence of the last 3 months. Those businesses and employees who have become more flexible and dynamic are better placed. The use of technology is a fantastic measure of this flexibility. Many of the ‘new’ technologies we have been embracing such as those centring on video communication have been in existence for a while. The ‘new normal’ business landscape has resulted in the necessity to fully embrace these technologies. Remote selling is finally getting the recognition and adoption it deserves, while video communication is now central to how most companies now communicate. The hope is that these methods will remain and bring with them benefits that will assist the whole fenestration business community in achieving positive sales levels. The beauty is that it is not exclusive; installers, manufacturers and components suppliers can all benefit from remote selling…