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Originally posted 3rd July 2020

Last updated 19th August 2020

A Fitting Thank You After 100 Days of Lockdown

At Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, we understand that times have been incredibly difficult over the...

Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

3 min read
Written by Expert

At Factory Direct Flooring, we understand that times have been incredibly difficult over the last 3-4 months during the global pandemic, not only for the general public but also for business owners.

We’ve all had our own challenges mentally, physically or operationally getting through what’s going on right now. We’d like to start off by saying a huge thank you to everyone that has supported us during the Lockdown, including staff, customers and industry partners that have allowed us to see the bright side of and thrive in what could have been a fatal turn of events for many businesses.

The Team here at Factory Direct Flooring faced our own challenges - we started lockdown being entirely unable to open our showroom, which meant our front-of-house staff and office staff were unable to continue working, followed by the whole team being furloughed on the government’s scheme - apart from 2 or 3 key workers to help us keep things rolling in the background. These members of staff had an incredible amount of pressure upon them - and bravely pushed on despite the undue pressure so suddenly.

Unfortunately, our customer service lines became difficult to maintain and we continued to be incredibly understaffed but unable to safely bring team members back - we were also faced with stock limitations from suppliers and the rest of the supply chain who were struggling to manufacture and distribute at the rate needed safely. This all resulted in a complete pause in all of our online operations in April - we were unable to fulfil any more orders.

When things started getting moving again and the team were safe to start returning to work, we staggered the returns as much as possible and have made adjustments to the showroom and warehouses to allow for social distancing and sanitisation.

factory direct flooring lorry by pall-ex and wynwood logistics

A key cog in the works that enabled us to get back on our feet was the team at Wynwood Logistics, a member of the Pall-Ex group. This incredible team own and operate specially liveried vehicles for us at Factory Direct Flooring, and have been imperative to our success over the 3 months of full lockdown, by providing higher than usual standards of service, efficiency and flexibility to allow us to take orders and fulfil them almost as well as we were able to do pre-COVID. Whilst there have been some delays and some issues with supply chains, we’ve managed extremely well with the majority of customers remaining incredibly understanding and supportive in a difficult period for us and the team at Wynwood. The Factory Direct Flooring team owe a great deal of gratitude to Wynwood Logistics and Pall-Ex for supporting us so impeccably, especially when stock issues were tough to navigate.

June was a record month for sales for Factory Direct Flooring, with an uplift of 68% compared to the previous year. Sales of DIY flooring types have become extremely popular during Lockdown thanks to fitters being unable to visit locations until very recently and people having the time to do it themselves whilst at home more. As we’ve experienced such a boost in sample and order volumes, we’ve found challenges in staffing levels, so much so that I have been physically working in the warehouse for the whole of Lockdown, manually processing sample orders, and I kept the showroom and warehouse running smoothly alone while everything was closed in April.

paul hambidge

We’re now getting back up to full capacity - about 80% of our staff are now safe to return to work and we’re working on making sure that spaces for the showroom and offices are safe for the front-of-house staff to return alongside. We’re doing our best to man the phone lines and fulfil orders even on reduced staff, and we’re now able to fulfil 99% of orders within 5 days including delivery and intend on the team being able to all return to work by the beginning of August.

We’d just like to again extend a thank you to the team at Wynwood for supporting us, to our customers for trusting us and understanding that nobody is perfect and that we’ve done the best we can during a tough time for the business, and finally, a thank you to our staff, whom without, we wouldn’t have been able to continue operating.

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About the Author

Paul Hambidge, Managing Director

Paul has 32 years of flooring industry knowledge & experience from both an installation and manufacturing perspective. He started out as installer of very large commercial flooring projects for multiple retailers. As director of Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, he has been involved in all aspects of flooring and has worked with some of the largest producers of wood flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate floors.