L E T T ER S
WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER
COVID- has changed the way we live
and work on many levels. This includes
highlighting and reinforcing something
which has long underpinned our own
working culture – the importance of
We have written to our customers to
explain some of the challenges that we
face within our supply chain. I believe
that some of those points are worth
wider, public discussion.
We’re seeing a boom. That’s
the good part. Our supply chain is,
however, creaking under exponential
growth in demand. This isn’t unique to
Emplas. Every major systems company,
hardware and glass manufacturer
is struggling to meet supply. As a
consequence, so are fabricators.
We have capacity, we have capability
– but the availability of glass, foiled
product and some hardware is forcing
us to push out lead times.
There is no point in trying to
pretend that our supply chain, or as a
consequence those of our customers,
are unaffected by this.
From the conversations I am having
daily with fabricators nationwide, the
delays on foils are a universal problem.
That is supply not only of one or two
profiles. Foil lead times on all leading
systems have been extended.
There’s volatility in glass supply (with
an inhouse IGU capability we and our
customers are to an extent, insulated
from the worst of this). There are also
significant shortages of hardware.
So, what are we doing about it?
Well, I believe everything we can. We
DOING OUR BEST TO DELIVER
have redirected resource from our own
retail businesses, here in the UK and
in Australia, to prioritise the supply of
product to our trade customers.
We have taken some very difficult
decisions about who we supply.
Focussing on the customers who have
committed to work in partnership with
us and whose loyalty we are doing
everything within our power to return.
Similarly, we are working closely with
our suppliers, sharing forecasts with
them on a daily basis to support them in
We are bringing forward
manufacture of standard non-foiled
product to build additional capacity
within our systems, so that as soon as
those foils that are currently thin on the
ground come back into stock at volume,
we can double our efforts to turn
orders around. If, however, our systems
provider cannot deliver foils to us for six
weeks because their supply chain is also
struggling with demand; or hinges are
not available because they are not in the
country; or because certain laminates or
coatings aren’t available to manufacture
IGUs – then our ability to deliver to our
own customers within ‘normal’ lead
times is also impacted.
It’s no easy task to switch a large
business ‘back on’ after lockdown. We
started early and that’s allowed us to
build in-line with demand so that we
have had full capacity reinstated for the
past month or more.
Systems companies needed greater
volume to justify turning production
back on again. As a consequence, they
have had to go from a standing start
to exponential growth in demand and
% of capacity, in only a few weeks.
This is why I am asking for
understanding, from our customers
and the window and door supply chain
There is no way for me to ‘sugar-coat
the pill’ but for the next month or two
at most, we need to engage and explain
to the end-user that lead times for new
windows and doors are going to be
extended. That’s not on every product,
we continue to be able to supply, for
example, the AluK F8 bi-fold on lead
times of only -days; standard product
is also available on more or less normal
On some products, people are,
however, going to have to wait.
We believe our customers will
understand that this is not about our
capacity or our will to deliver – but the
availability of product to manufacture.
We have great partnerships, we have
purchasing power and are mobilising
both to put our customers at the front
of the queue. To a point, however, we all
have to wait a little in line.
Homeowners will generally
be prepared to do this for good
tradespeople and the right product.
With regret, we’re going to have to ask
the same from our customers on certain
products. This is, however, short term.
And we expect to be able to reinstate
normal lead times as soon as we can.
Up until then, we need to approach
business with a new openness,
connecting the supply chain from
systems companies to installers and
ultimately to the end-user, in order to
We are all in this together, so we all
may as well pull in the same direction.
Managing director, Emplas
There’s been a lot of talk in the press
over the last week about lead times and
the supply chain and I have to agree that
we are all creaking at the seams in this
Let’s not bury our heads in the
sand and pretend that any one of us is
delivering on time, in full – no matter
what investment has been made into
systems, machinery, facilities, etc. But,
what I think is a fair point to make is that
the majority of us in the supply chain
are doing their very best to deliver and
agree that the most important thing is to
be transparent with your customers.
Doorco is one of those companies
that has invested, across the board. We
place a huge emphasis on stock and
came out of lockdown with bolstered
levels. We are also in the unique
position that we are independent in
both the UK and Korea, so we can
react quicker than most. But it’s still not
enough. We saw ,s more doors
than usual come through our prepping
lines in July, a % increase, plus a
% increase in distribution slab sales.
There has also been a massive shift
in demand, with consumers making
bolder choices in style and colour – this
adds even more pressure to suppliers
because we move into supplying the
‘added value’ services, like painting.
As we came out of lockdown, we
were just thankful to be opening up
and unfurloughing some of our staff.
We certainly didn’t predict this boom.
We are doing all we can to keep on
top of this with double shifts in Korea
to get the slabs to the UK, and in the
UK to make the doors and support
our customers. We are in constant
communication with our suppliers
and customers, sharing stats and
predictions, and ordering as much as we
can but we are up against widespread
stock outages higher up the supply
I appreciate the patience and
understanding the customers are
showing right now. We will improve
and we will improve quickly, and we all
hope for the continuation of the good
problem to have – higher volumes than
Managing director, Doorco