Summer is always a bit of a weird time in manufacturing. To start with you have the constant pressure of staff rotation to deal with. People with children quite naturally want to take their holidays during the school holidays and, as this is usually most of any workforce, there is an annual juggling act to make sure that you have the right people around when you need them.
The Summer can also be a little difficult to predict in terms of the business coming into the pipeline than it is at other times of the year. Christmas, for example, has a clear effect on the number of orders and the communication with customers and suppliers. We all know that everyone will basically vanish off the face of the earth a few days before and that the workload coming in will start to tail off to allow everyone to shut down for the festivities. Summer, on the other hand, is considerably more volatile.
In theory, the sudden increase in holidays while people enjoy the sunshine should result in a drop in demand but this is not always the case. Some manufacturers still have ‘shut downs’ but others use the quieter time to inventory and re-assess their needs. There is no second-guessing it really and we have seen feast and famine over the years with little indication of which would be coming.
This Summer was very much a feast time. The orders poured in as what little sun we had poured down, and we were flat out. If you are a customer of ours, then you will be aware that we are always looking to improve our manufacturing process so, in addition to being busy, we had internal expansions and new working methods to install. Overall it was seriously busy, and we had a very successful few months.
Which made me remember something about being in business – there is a danger in being successful. Over trading can result in some serious issues for many businesses and over the years we have seen a few sadly fall by the wayside when they were actually looking like very promising prospects. Business is about balance, and it is vital that you maintain a very clear vision of what you can and can’t do, as well as what you need to be successful. Here at Alltube we have always stood by the principle that we are honest with our customers. We will move Heaven and Earth to meet their needs and if it’s possible we will do it. When it isn’t – we will tell you.
When you have a period like this summer, and the pressure is on, it’s easy to forget what we are here for in the first place, and that is to meet the needs of our customers. However, we weren’t worried that this would happen because we have something that ensures we always meet our demand: our team know exactly what they are doing. They spec the jobs right, know how much is possible for the production floor, they understand the processes needed, and the timescale required to satisfy the orders. Wastage is minimal, and productivity regularly exceeds our expectations. Most importantly they work as a team to adapt and shift focus as needed.
People do sometimes ask us why we manage to do the jobs some other suppliers can’t, even in busy periods, and the honest answer is that the team who work here at Alltube will always pull out the best performance and exceed our expectations.
So we sweated, and we grafted and we had a hugely successful Summer thanks partially to good planning and high-tech manufacturing, but mostly due to the exceptional efforts of the great team we have been building for years.