How the lockdown switched demand to “Home & Hardware” and how we reacted as a business
In late March earlier this year as the full impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic was beginning to dawn on many businesses, that not only would serious decisions need taking to protect both our employees welfare and the financial well-being of the business, we would also still need to maintain a basic level of operational activity should there be anyone out there still wanting to place orders.
With over 70% of our staff furloughed and major areas of our production plant at a virtual shut down, the only glimmer of hope for any degree of continuity lay in the governments’ exemption for “Home & Hardware” stores. For many years, our well-established DIY product range had long been a favourite option for the independent local DIY & Hardware outlets in a way that the now “on-line only” major multiple DIY store chains had never been drawn to.
After a short period where it felt that even the retained remnants of our workforce may be searching for anything to manufacture, it soon became apparent within just a few days, that the fine weather many of their furloughed colleagues were enjoying was about to activate a Spring Rush for the DIY leisure products. These included seasonal favourites such as Fenceguard & Creo-Coat Shed & Fence stains; Exterior Decorative Masonry Paints; Patio Cleaners; Exterior Waterseal, Light-weight Fillers & all types of Decorating Sundries.
All are easy to use familiar products that a population with time on its hands and nowhere to go, was now searching for in large numbers and their nearest outlets were the exempted local independent shops & merchants.
It wasn’t just a case of supplying the established product range, as demand for new colour variants (notably Lunar Grey shed & Fence Stain & Masonry Paint) necessitated a rapid turnaround of product development work & supply chain support. Despite very limited availability of many essential materials & components throughout this period, Palace Chemicals was still able to ensure that their customers’ product demands soon became readily available stock items, including new fashionable additions to our now expanding DIY range.
The demand from the independent home & hardware outlets rose exponentially to volume levels we would normally associate with the major DIY chains spring promotions and it became necessary for the company to begin steadily recalling our furloughed staff so that we were in a position to re-start & ramp up production levels to progressively meet the unexpectedly high level of demand for all the above product categories.
Indeed many of our retained & returning employees quickly applied themselves to unfamiliar tasks & production roles which hadn’t been as busy for several years, but nevertheless everyone rose to meet the challenge of keeping up with the Lockdown DIY boom, by ensuring all our Home & Hardware customers received their unusually inflated orders on time in full and wherever in the country they were calling from.
The experience of the lock-down months of April-May 2020 demonstrated the versatility & “can do attitude” of the company, its staff and their ability to turnaround process infrastructure & working patterns to react positively & competently to the unfamiliar market & customer demands of the time. It remains one of the unique qualities of a wholly independent business, unencumbered by corporate controls that we can always remain close & responsive to customer needs, especially those of a similarly independent background.
For enquiries or orders email us here. Or give us a call on 01513369111 for more information on our popular product ranges.