Production of Balconies During COVID-19

How has COVID-19 effected the production of balconies?

Overall, the supply chain remains positive with limited disruption and COVID-19 hasn’t dramatically hindered production of balconies. Output over the first 8 weeks of the crisis in the UK reduced by approximately 30% but remained continuous. Despite the initial shock, the following weeks production returned to full capacity and we are now back on track again.

We have a wide supply chain network across many different countries and this proved beneficial during the COVID-19 as we were not reliant on any one supplier or country, this flexibility was key continuing to source materials to the production plants.

Social distancing measures have been introduced across all our production facilities and some additional shifts have been added to facilitate social distancing.

How will this effect clients?

Our business model is backed by our brand promise which guarantees balconies will be ready 2-3 months ahead of the agreed date. Unlike Just-In-Time manufacturing we have a manufacturing buffer giving us time to adjust to the reduced capacity and other changes caused by COVID 19 and most critically ensure our clients are not impacted. As a result, our production is on track and balconies have been, and will continue to be, delivered on time.

How are you supporting site teams?

For the first 8 weeks approximately 70% of sites remained open and continued taking deliveries so we were able to continue as usual with these sites. For the remaining 30% the balconies were simply kept in our secure storage facilities ready for when sites reopened.

With most sites opening up from the beginning of June we were able to quickly resume deliveries and support sites in closing out projects.

What are you doing to protect your supply chain?

We have established a number of new safety measures to protect the supply chain and Sapphire staff from the virus. For office-based staff we have invested in the necessary technology to support clients and the supply chain while working from home, successfully moving to video meetings and remote vesting/inspection visits.

For staff on site we have ensured all staff are educated on the virus with new risk assessments and method statements for working on site. We have issued guidance for safe practices and the heightened PPE required as well as discussing others measures to ensure everyone is adequately covered.

Has COVID affected the design capacity within your design workforce?

Our design output has remained steady through the crisis as all our design team have been equipped with the hardware and software needed to continue designing balconies remotely. As a result of working from home and the increased use of video meetings with clients we have improved and demonstrated our flexibility and have been able to continue to support at full capacity.

About the expert

Evan Lindsell started out in our factory in Barnet, working his way up to Contract Manager, then Operations Director and now Operations Managing Director. He has worked closely with the supply chain and clients for many years and through this wealth of experience he brings his expertise in supply chain management to answer your questions on managing COVID 19.

This interview was originally published in Insight Magazine, click here to sign up for your free copy quarterly.