New Year Message

By Mike Parczuk, Managing Director, Sternfenster

Published 20 December 2021 by Bart

If we’ve learnt anything over the last 18 months or so, it’s to expect the unexpected. It’s been a rough ride! As an industry, we have been very fortunate, demand has been exceptionally high but that’s been tempered by the chaos of the supply chain and the pingdemic – managing these problems has made it very hard to move forward.

We are, however, in a very good place for 2022. Our projected end of year turnover is £24.6m – ahead of our target of £23.4m – and the majority of our customers are starting the year with enough work in the pipeline to keep them busy until the end of Q1.

We’ve also continued to invest heavily in product and in service. That’s included a six-figure spend throughout our aluminium and PVC factories, £500,000 on new delivery trucks and a significant investment in lead generation.

That includes the development our new Proposal Builder system, which we launched at the tail end of 2021, but will be rolling out to more customers in the coming months. Proposal Builder allows installers to respond to online homeowner enquires with a professional, bespoke digital quotation pack but the real USP is that it gives Mr & Mrs Jones the ability to pay a deposit or even place an order, at the click of a button.

That order is then duplicated in our EasyAdmin CRM and sent straight to the factory floor. It completely transforms the sales to delivery process, offering an enhanced level of efficiency and professionalism that is going to pay dividends once activity in the retail sector starts to return to more normal levels.

When will the bubble burst? Consumer confidence is still relatively high and the housing market continues to break records, despite the end of the Stamp Duty holiday and the threat of higher interest rates. So, it’s more likely that we will see the ‘bubble’ deflate – in fact we’ve already started to see a drop off in enquires that would suggest the market has already begun to cool off.

In addition to our capacity and service, we also continue to invest in most important assest, and that’s our workforce. We were awarded Investors in People Silver status in Oct 2020 and since then we have introduced a number of initiatives to improve the way we recognise and reward our staff, as well as to ensure a better standard of mental health and wellbeing.

That has included the introduction of Mental Health Champions, a Wellbeing Week and a ‘buddy’ system to help onboard starters. Staff members are encouraged to recognise the achievements of colleagues and they also have access to free, 24-hour support and counselling if they need it.

Our most recent Investors in People staff survey, in which 94% of respondents said they feel empowered and 92.7% agreed they have adopted our value and behaviours shows that, while there is still work to be done, we are well on our way to achieving our vision of Gold IIP status later this year.

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