Supporting the UK during lockdown
Impey, the market-leading wetroom specialist, has supported the Healthcare market for over 25 years, introducing the Level-Dec EasyFit in 2004 and adding to their portfolio ever since. The product range now includes Half-Height Shower Doors, Drainage systems, Shower Seats and Grab Rails, ensuring Impey supply a complete solution for Healthcare adaptations.
Whilst the country saw most businesses press pause on their operation, Coram UK (home to the brands Coram Showers and Impey) were one of the suppliers within the industry who could be there to support our customers and took on the mentality – if they’re working, we’ll support them.
Up and down the country we have seen communities come together in their own way, with individuals putting their time, skillset, and generosity to help those in need. A lot of these have been recognised, publicised and praised across numerous platforms. No good deed went unappreciated. As a company, we’re proud that our team were able to donate toilet rolls to a local community and provide food to our frontline NHS workers.
There were also activities which have indirectly helped our country to keep things ticking along as much as possible. During the early stages of the pandemic, a lot is to be said for those who saw the importance of completing crucial jobs which would slightly ease the workload of our frontline heroes. One of which was Business Owner, Jim, at Powerflow.
Jim said “I had bathroom adaptations which needed to be done, some were the smallest of tasks, such as installing an Impey handrail, but it meant that a patient could be safely discharged from hospital freeing up a hospital bed, not to mention alleviating pressure off of the doctors and nurses.”
With each new day and every new government announcement, it was hard to predict where the country, let alone the industry, would be further down the line and so businesses needed to plan and prepare in a way they had never done before.
Project Director, Steve, at Shape Adaptions realised that with local authorities either shutting down or on a skeleton workforce, it would put a freeze on most of his projects which are within the DFG sector. On the understanding that all this work would start up again at some point, Steve prioritised his private sector jobs to ensure they completed as many as they could, meaning that when the work started back up again, they had dedicated time and the team available to carry them out.
Steve commented “All the team were loving being back to work. After that amount of time off, I think everyone was itching to get back to work, so we are very fortunate that we were one of the companies able to do this. Due to the high demand we have seen recently, I have managed to take on another two members of the team as well.”
In accordance with government guidelines, Shape Adaptions have now reopened their showroom based in Kingston Park, Newcastle.
“It was difficult to gage how people would feel in these current times of visiting the showroom and I could only hope people could see the value in attending. We form a relationship and they gain confidence in us, as we explain how we approach each individual situation with understanding. I was concerned people would give the showroom a wide birth, but I am very pleased it has been quite the opposite!”.
Some people within the industry made the necessary decision of not working for certain reasons. In some cases, installers or contractor employees could not work due to living with vulnerable people, which meant they had to follow the advice of staying at home and self-isolating. Consequently, they had to postpone or turn-away time-sensitive projects.
JP Developers in Hull, Jos said: “We found we were busier than ever as some contractors decided to not operate during lockdown which meant anyone who was in urgent need then came to us.“
Ultimately additional work was great during such uncertain times but with limited resources available, this led to its own challenges with the DFG projects. Jos explains:
“We found it hard to source materials as most suppliers had ceased selling during the initial months of the pandemic. This created more work to then find alternatives for certain products..”
The challenge in these circumstances were due to DFG funded projects have itemised products and pricing. If a certain product was unattainable because of companies being closed or the products were coming from overseas, all the contractors could do was to suggest an attainable alternative so that the project was not put on hold. Due to the sensitivity and exclusivity of each project, it would then need to be approved by all individuals involved. This is because products are specified for the individual client’s needs, it is a delicate process whereby everyone needs to be happy with what is installed.
“Coram Showers were very supportive during this time as they did not shut down and were able to supply us with a lot of products we needed.”
The two brands under the Coram UK umbrella have managed to keep up with demand on a skeleton workforce, with the team working endlessly to ensure our customers could contact us for support. Communication was key whether this was on our social platforms, or email updates or even our ASMs checking in with a quick phone call or text message. Our customers knew we were there for them when they needed us.
Steve Huntly, UK Sales Director: “With products and trading across a variety of sectors, for us the Healthcare sector saw the biggest decline when the lockdown occurred. For obvious reasons local authorities and contractors could not continue with the project pipelines, and so that only left essential Healthcare works and maintenance that we continued to support wherever they needed it, including contributing to the Nightingale Hospital project.
With UK manufactured products, and a continuous service to our customers and the industry, we have recovered trading levels well, and are poised to continue to service and support all our existing customers, and some new ones, with excellent stock levels and delivery lead times.
It has been a humbling experience to protect our staff and society well-being, but also be there for essential supply where needed. We look forward to continuing to increase trading levels and service the Healthcare sector as they recover projects and pipeline demands.”
With special thanks to: