Restart of Manufacture from Ryan Johnson (15th April 2020)

It now seems highly likely that social distancing will remain in place, certainly for the medium term. 

This means that much of the Government workplace guidance will also remain in place for a significant time to come. 

Direct advice from Government to the GGF has made it clear that the industry should return to work where it is safe to do so. The reply to the GGF from the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this month [April] is unequivocal:

“There is currently no distinction between essential and inessential construction work in England. The Government’s position is that construction work can continue, provided the worker is not displaying symptoms of Covid19 (coronavirus), does not need to self-isolate for another reason, and that the work can be done in a manner consistent with the guidelines published by Public Health England (PHE).”

Our industry must now must find a way to re-start, ensuring we can work to government guidance, and, in turn, support the UK economy. 

This means that much of the Government workplace guidance will also remain in place for a significant time to come. 

Our industry now must find a way to re-start, ensuring we can work to government guidance, and, in turn, support the UK economy. 

Our continued priority remains the safety of our staff, suppliers and customers.

During this period of closure, work has been undertaken to safeguard the future of our business with the help of government support and to evaluate business activity, to ensure work can be undertaken in accordance with official guidance.

This includes but is not exhaustive to sales process, survey, retail/commercial installation, shop floor activities, delivery and office practicalities. Some of the activities we have undertaken include:

  • Our sites have been deep cleaned.
  • The shop floor and offices have been re-arranged to ensure we comply with social distancing guidance as a minimum.
  • Floors have been marked to outline safe distances.
  • We have PPE to meet the requirements. 
  • We have hand sanitiser dispensers throughout sites. 
  • Signage is on display. 
  • We have temperature testing kits and a procedure ensuring all staff are tested on entering and leaving the sites and at random intervals throughout the day. 
  • We have training which will be delivered to every staff member on their return to work.
  • We will continue to support our staff throughout this time. 

These procedures and processes will be under constant review in line with government recommendations and will be communicated to staff at regular intervals. 

By analysing every process, we are now in a position where we can re-start; operating in line with government guidance. 

Throughout this period of shut down, we have remained in contact with our supply chain who are making safe their own processes, as without them a re-start could not be considered. 

Our Plan

As the Australian economy has not shut down like the UK, our overseas retail business Ecostar has continued to operate with procedures consistent with those that we are now implementing in the UK. This bank of work gives us a starting to point to re-commence fabrication on Monday 20th April with skeleton staff and no transport requirement (container shipping lines remain open). 

From Monday 20th April we will be receiving and processing orders (we appreciate the continued orders during the shut-down, we thank you and these will be treated as a priority). Please note that our glass business, Padiham Glass will also recommence manufacture on Monday 20th April.

We also currently have a significant amount of work-in-progress within the business. You will be informed of the frames you have in our system by way of a separate communication from our Customer Support Team. We request that you review this list and inform us when you will require delivery. 

For an initial period, new orders will be subject to revised lead-times. Separate communication will shortly be sent in confirmation. 

This will allow our supply partners additional time as they re-build and will allow us, and our suppliers, to un-furlough staff in accordance with demand. I would ask that you work with us and communicate your requirements at the earliest opportunity. During this initial period, we will have strict capacities in place in line with staffing levels.

Please note that we will only be able to supply stock colours from the re-start and no special foil-to-order colours will be supplied. Foiled-to-order can still be requested (by ordering they will be at the front of the queue) and will remain on hold until this part of the supply chain re-starts. When this is the case, Emplas and our customers will be the first to know. Full clarification on all products will be detailed in our ‘Revised Lead-Time Communication’.

We will see more new build housing sites re-open in the coming weeks, and we can operate in the new build sector as an industry safely. Many construction sites have remained open. For example, our sister company, Acorn Aluminium have been requested to, and will be back on site from Wednesday 15th April, working in accordance with the Government’s recommended Site Operating Procedures. 

Our retail business, T&K Home Improvements, have continued to sell throughout this period, tailoring our marketing and sales processes. We will shortly be sharing information on what changes we are making. 

There is a real growth opportunity in the conservatory and extension market which has been evidenced in recent digital activity. T&K will start installing customers’ windows and doors again on Monday 5th May, again working in accordance with new operating procedures. 

It is absolutely imperative for the British economy that the manufacturing and construction sectors operate, if we can do so safely, and we can. To reiterate – we will re-start manufacturing in a ‘Safe & Phased’ manner, strictly in accordance with government guidelines.

If you would like any help and support in implementing your own processes or procedures to re-start your business, whether it be for commercial or retail activities, please contact us. It is my aim to support each one of you to the best of our ability to ensure we all have a safe and prosperous future. 

If you have not already done so, I would urge you to contact your Emplas representative or me direct, to discuss your own strategies, as we must plan together for a successful future. Open and honest communication is key to all our mutual success.

For the industry to re-start, money must begin to flow again, so please talk to us in advance of your first call-off for frames. My sincerest thanks go to those who have paid us throughout this shutdown, which in turn has enabled us to pay our suppliers who we now need more than ever before.

This is the most difficult time in the history of the window and door industry. I am confident that by working together we will come through this stronger. We must remember that ‘the comeback is always greater than the setback’.

Wishing you all the best,


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