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Quality Worth Waiting For

Posted on 02 November 2021

The global pandemic has seen us all living and working in changed and challenging times, significantly impacting the operations and especially supply chains of industries around the world.

These challenges, including longer lead times, material shortages, and skills gaps, have been widely publicised by the media with the knock-on effect felt by applicators, merchants, and manufacturers alike.

At Kilwaughter, we have felt those pains, and as a leading business which prides itself on efficiency, excellence, and exceptional customer service, we have worked to minimize the impacts to our customer base.

With forward vision, and our passion and dedication for not only meeting but exceeding the needs of our customers, we have embraced the challenges and used them as a catalyst for reviewing, improving, and enhancing our operations, and our service to you. We’ve taken in steps in several key areas:

1. Invested in People

We have grown our team, adding 17 extra people in our Operations department.

Our HR team have worked relentlessly to find the right people and ensure they are trained to the high standards we demand to make consistent, quality products and that they each value the importance of going above and beyond for our customers.

Built on solid foundations, our operations function is now more robust and the increased resource has allowed us to change our shift patterns, improve internal processes and efficiency, and boost our output.

2. Stabilised our Supply Chains

Like many others in our industry, we experienced raw material shortages, many of which were global in nature and not easy or quick to unravel.

However, we have remained in daily contact with our suppliers pressing for priority, updates, reassurance and clarity at each stage, whilst our R&D team have in parallel’ sourced alternative suppliers, rigorously testing to ensure the highest quality, and protecting our supply chains to meet future demand.

This has allowed us to stabilise our supply chain and maintain our increased levels of output for the longer term.

3. Addressed Lead Times

The huge surge in orders throughout the pandemic resulted in increased lead times for our products.

As an organisation which prides itself on efficiency, and with a reputation for being the best in the industry when it comes to speed and reliability of delivery, we understood we had to quickly identify processes that would enable us to meet the exceptional levels of customer demand.

Working with Operations Consultants, we added resilience and additional skills to the team, and upgraded our processes to maximise our efficiency.

These were significant changes which could not be implemented overnight but were designed collectively to allow higher production output.

4. Streamlined Communications

In these recent months, with so many moving parts and especially uncertainty from our suppliers, it has been difficult to ensure accurate but timely updates on all aspects of a project, and that has made customer communication challenging. This was particularly difficult for our customer facing team, who by nature, want to provide definitive answers to their customers with whom they often have long term personal relationships.

Improving communications was of paramount importance and we have thrown our efforts into streamlining communications to ensure regular, relevant updates are distributed and we provide transparency in our operations.

The changes we’ve made to our production schedules, diligence from the Daily Management Taskforce we created, and some detailed reporting from our IT team, is allowing us to identify bottlenecks and areas for focus and improvement, and also track and accurately forecast lead times.

5. Committed to Future Investment

We are keenly aware of the need to continuously improve and we have huge ambition for the future supported by substantial, consistent CAPEX investments.

We were delighted to start our project on Electronic Resource Planning, a two-year commitment to revolutionary change in our electronic management systems, processes and Management Information tools. The ability to make clear data-driven decisions is a key component of our future and the entire team are excited by this project.

We have committed £13million CAPEX investment over the next 5 years to continue development in our people, plant and processes.

This has been a challenging period for everyone in the construction industry, but we can see our changes and improvements making a real difference.

Some of the most heartening things we heard back from the market was how people would insist on waiting for Kilwaughter products and that substitutes wouldn’t do. That was a real positive note for us and testament to how we are differentiated.

We are deeply grateful for the customer patience and support throughout the pandemic and, those continued relationships in the future.

Now, we look ahead with our plans to delight our customers again and drive our ambitions to proactively look for new and exciting ideas that help drive us all forward.