Emplas Issue Update on Lead Times
Latest COVID-19 Statement from Ryan Johnson – 18th August 2020
As a valued Emplas partner and in the spirit of full transparency and openness, I believe it only right to provide you with a status update.
As an industry, we have seen exceptional growth in demand since the easing of lockdown at the start of summer. Many of our customers are reporting a doubling or more, year-on-year on sales.
As you know, we took a decision to come back to work early in April, ahead of much of the industry. Firstly in order to put the new processes in place to support the safety and minimise the risk presented by Covid-19 to our employees, our customers and our supply partners, as part of a safe and phased return to work.
Secondly, because we identified an opportunity and a potential release of latent demand. That has meant that as partners, we and you as an Emplas customer have both benefitted. We were the first ‘out of the gates’ and we have built our infrastructure in line with growing demand.
While retaining capacity within our operation, we are, however, in common with the industry at large, seeing increased pressure on our own supply chain. Growth has been exponential, far exceeding even our most optimistic forecasts – and that is putting significant pressure on each and every tier of the supply chain.
The strength of our relationships with our suppliers has and means, that we and you, as an Emplas customer, are insulated from the full force of the impact. We are, however, not immune.
Polymer manufacturers; foil manufacturers; systems houses; float glass manufacturers; and hardware suppliers – each and every element of window and door supply is feeling the pressure of exponential growth in demand.
Up until the beginning of this month, we were able to minimise the impact of disruption to our own supply chain by increasing stockholding ahead of time; prioritizing our trade partners and taking some very difficult decisions.
This included withdrawing supply from some of those customers for whom we were only a secondary supplier; and others, for a variety of other, but very carefully considered reasons; focussing our efforts on those installers who we have and continue to work in close partnership with of which you are one.
In addition, we have already implemented extended lead times to our own installation businesses, T&K Home Improvements, Ecostar, our Australian retail business; and on our direct supply commercial contracts, in order to best protect our customers.
Even having done this, our usual lead times have slipped on some products – not because we don’t have the capacity to manufacture them – but because of the availability of the component parts to do so.
This has impacted on the supply of some foils. To reiterate – this isn’t a systems issue, it goes higher to the manufacture of foils at a ‘global’ level. There are also national shortages of certain hinges and hardware, in addition to some glass types.
What Does that Mean for Emplas and You as an Emplas partner?
As of Wednesday 19th August, all new orders for foiled products will have a 6-week lead time.
We are saying this as one of the UK’s largest window and door manufactures with the buying power and reach that this gives us. The supply chain is being ‘squeezed’ and as an industry, we need to manage the expectations of the end-user, and those of our own customers.
We would rather be direct, because running our own retail business and having personally headed up T&K Home Improvements, I know that it is far better to know that you are dealing with a longer lead time than to be told its shorter, only to be let down when an installation is already scheduled in with your client.
And that has already happened. Lead times on some foils have been disrupted in the last couple of weeks and for that, I can only apologise.
I would, however, reassure you that I am personally committed to doing everything I can to improve this situation.
This includes sharing our short, medium, and long-term forecasting with key supply partners to support them in managing demand and getting product to us so that we, in turn, can get them to you.
The majority of orders remain unaffected. Aluminium Bi-folds and standard white PVC-U product remain available on your current lead times. Guaranteed within 15-days, our lead times on the F82 Luminia Bi-fold remain among the industry’s most competitive.
We would like to thank you for your understanding and continuing support in the interim as our supply chain adjusts to meet the exponential growth that we have seen in end-user demand for windows and doors.
This is something that few of us would have predicted going into lockdown in March. As a ‘challenge’, it is, however, preferable to the many of the others that at this point we might have faced.