Door Industry Journal - Winter 2020

Also online at: 16 THE door industry journal winter 2020 Industry News Who Would Have Predicted That! Wolfgang Gorner, MD of Hörmann UK, reflects on the past year and discusses the challenges still facing business as we look forward to 2021. When I joined Hörmann in 2019 I inherited a successful business which was split roughly two-thirds domestic and one-third industrial, however to bring a more balanced approached to the business we adopted a clear strategy that will ultimately lead to a split more 50/50. This coincided with a substantial growth in warehouses being built across the UK in readiness for Brexit and the continued growth in on-line shopping, ideal for our Industrial Doors and Loading Technology. However, little did we know that 2020 would see the arrival of a Pandemic, which is still creating major disruption to business throughout the UK and Europe. Whilst not wanting to paint too austere a picture, COVID-19 has certainly made us all reflect on how we work and introduced a level of flexibility and creatively that we would not have considered before. Going into lockdown, we furloughed two thirds of our workforce, keeping just skeleton cover in both the domestic and industrial sides of the business. The service department, however, was very much open for business as we recognised the importance of keeping vital food and equipment distribution centres up and running. With all of the Hörmann Group manufacturing plants remaining open during the lockdown there was a steady stream of product being shipped into our Coalville headquarters, with a very clear commitment to supply from our German colleagues - a reflection of the strategic importance the Group places on the UK market. Keeping in close and regular contact with our customers was also a key objective for us during the lockdown period. During this time we remained in constant communication with our customers letting them know that we were still very much open for business and we introduced the use of Twitter (a first for the Hörmann Group) which has proven to be a very positive means of keeping in touch. I am extremely proud of the way we worked with our customers, providing them with reassurance and practical information in a difficult time, so that they could work safely on site and we were one the first in the market back to full scale production. Since the easing of the lockdown we have gradually brought all our staff back to full time employment, albeit we now work a mixture of time split between the office and homeworking. Our sales and service teams are all fully back visiting and assisting customers, whilst taking all the necessary precautions to ensure safe working practices and keeping everyone healthy. We have seen a considerable bounce back in our business, with demand for our domestic products seeing an unprecedented 20% upswing from this time last year. It appears that the domestic refurbishment market is being driven by people having more disposable income because of being unable to travel and wanting to spend money and invest in

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