Spring is in the air and hope is on the horizon as we reflect on the last 12 months of doing business in such challenging times.
As so many small (and large!) companies have floundered through this pandemic, here at Planet, we are eternally grateful to still be in business and to be doing well. Thanks, in part to us operating in an industry that has always put the home centre stage, which for the best part of a year has become our sanctuary as well as our workplace, school and playground! But, also thanks to our brilliant suppliers, who have gone all out to help us deliver on our promise time and time again despite the, sometimes, slimmed down workforce, and supply limitations further down the supplier chain.
Obviously, like all businesses no matter what sector, we’ve had to adapt to doing things differently and the biggest shift has been the use of tech. Whilst we might be getting a bit Zoom weary, it has been vital at enabling us to present and share designs and to carry on consulting with clients. And, although it’s not quite the same as face-to-face, which is obviously a more natural way of building a relationship with our clients, we actually think video technology will have a permanent role in our business post-Covid, as it’s proved so beneficial for clients who live a bit further away from our showroom.
The adaptions have continued onto our site visits (which we undertake at the onset of a project and then again later on for the technical survey) where our employees wear the necessary protection, as per the Government guidelines and we have to, kindly, request that clients and other trades vacate the room, if possible, whilst we complete the surveying. Again, everyone we work with (clients and suppliers) have been amazingly supportive and understanding. We’re looking forward to ‘normal’ times when we can all gather on the site, cuppa in hand and discuss the progress of the project.
We’ve been extremely lucky that the only delays our clients have had to experience is sometimes with appliances – some of the lead times on certain items are extremely long so we have to manage this and always make our clients aware of any potential delays in the soonest time possible. Happily, everything else has been fairly normal in terms of supply and lead times. Even our workshop has been able to operate as normal, producing even more bespoke furniture and cabinets than in pre-Covid times. We are fortunate to have enough space for our team of craftsmen to be spaced apart, along with all the current safety guidelines which are in place to ensure the health and safety of all our employees.
Which is all just as well as we have, very happily, noticed a spike in enquiries for home improvements, especially home office areas, studies and media units. And whilst the trend for large open family kitchens has been growing, steadily, for a number of years now, this trend continues at a pace as the hope of entertaining is finally creeping back on to the agenda for most of us.
So yes, we know we’re one of the lucky small, local businesses to be here some 12 month after this pandemic landed, and as long as people want their homes improving and/or extending we plan on being around a lot longer!