Each year, in the run-up to Christmas, we see a considerable demand from homeowners looking to complete home improvement projects before the festive season. It’s often a struggle, but we manage to balance our workload as much as possible to meet customer expectations.
2020 will be a little different, for obvious reasons. So, if you are currently planning a project to be completed by the end of the year, you may need to be aware of the issues facing ALL companies that install windows, doors and conservatories.
Due to global issues surrounding the CoronaVirus Pandemic, the complete supply chain – from glass, plastic, locks, hinges and door furniture – first faced a dramatic shutdown in March, with a lot of uncertainty; then a surge in demand when things started to reopen in July. These actions alone have created quite a few issues. For example:
- There are currently steel shortages across the whole of the UK and Europe.
- There is a global shortage of glass, with rationing taking place and predicated double-digit price rises forecast for the UK industry.
- Some PVC resin manufacturers – used to make window and door frames – are only running at 50% production capacity.
Meanwhile, this is not only affecting prices of raw materials, which in turn affects the prices we can offer; but also lead-times, which have nearly tripled on some products from four weeks to 11 weeks. In fact, some manufacturers of bespoke lines are even delaying product deliveries until 2021.
To add extra spice to this challenging situation, we also have an uncertain Brexit outcome at the end of the year, which will undoubtedly affect availability and costs.
There is some good news, though! The industry as a whole is pulling together, and everyone is working very hard to manage through these current issues. At Ripton Windows, we are now installing at capacity, having grown our team, and products are coming through, albeit with extended delivery times.
We’re also fortunate (and very grateful) with our customers, who by-and-large accept the issues we face and the lead-times we can offer because we all see that businesses around the world are facing unprecedented situations right now.
But, if we can leave you with one piece of advice during these challenging times, it is this. Because all companies in our sector are facing these same issues, the only short-cuts are to use inferior products, which we are not prepared to do.
If you are planning a home improvement project, please, please factor extra time into your plans. This will ensure that your expectations on delivery can be met and that we can continue to use the quality product ranges we do, offering you peace of mind for many years to come.
Thanks for your ongoing support and I hope you and your family stay safe.