Pro Installer January 2022 - Issue 106 - Page 14

14 | JANUARY 2022


Read online at www . proinstaller . co . uk


When a furnace went down at Oakland Glass in October 2019 , it unsurprisingly put a halt to production and changed the way the company operated for a few months . Right in the middle of a business ‘ reassessment ’ at the time , joint Managing Directors Amanda Falsey and Tina Moorhouse and their team had been weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of the business . So , while the out-of-action furnace was by no means welcome , by the time it was up and running again in early 2020 , Oakland Glass was ready for its next chapter . What followed was a global pandemic , an industry-wide skills crisis , Brexit , on-going supply chain problems and costs increasing at ‘ neverbefore-seen ’ rates , yet when Pro Installer caught up Amanda and Tina with two years later , there was still plenty to be optimistic about albeit with very realistic and objective attitudes all round …
“ Everyone knows what happened in March 2020 ,” begins Amanda , “ but many won ’ t know what we had been working on here at Oakland before the pandemic and over the past two years . It is also not news to the industry that glass supply and production has struggled across the sector for some time now – and continues to , but again we are in the mindset that by having the right systems in place , being open and honest with our customers , and re-evaluating our own efficiency and production methods , we can make the most of what we have and mitigate the knock-on effect for our own customers , and hopefully their customers too .
“ When I joined Oakland Glass in 2019 , I wasn ’ t
from fenestration but as a Registered Chartered Accountant , my career up to that point involved setting and managing KPIs , risk assessment , streamlining practices , personal accountability and of course , financial viability . I had worked in various sectors , including manufacturing , and setting up management teams was an important part of my previous roles . Therefore , as an ‘ outsider ’ coming in , it didn ’ t necessarily matter that Oakland was a glass producer , it was its processes and getting the right people into the right positions that I focussed on first .
“ For a business established in 1986 , there were members of staff that had been at Oakland for more than 20 years , and many
people in the industry will be familiar with Tina Moorhouse , MD for two decades . I wanted to put together a new management team that divided the workload differently , drew on people ’ s existing skills , trained them in new ones if needed , but mostly create an environment that fostered individual accountability on a personal level and let staff take more ownership in a professional capacity . We wanted everyone from the shopfloor to the office to feel part of the same brand and business . Little did we know how important this ethos was to become throughout 2020 !
“ When the first lockdown hit , we initially thought we would be able to continue production . Ironically , at the time , we could get


glass but struggled with components . The best course of action was to furlough the team until our own customers started to open up and operate again , and when that happened , we brought back people gradually ; again assessing how we could optimise production and schedules according to our stock levels and orders .
“ In October 2020 , our glass supply was put onto
allocation and we followed suit with our own customers . There have been several factors that limited the supply of glass we receive , from our own supplier closing down a plant to refurbish a furnace to floods in Germany ; none of these could ’ ve been planned for and were out of our control , but we felt from the beginning , whatever we were facing we would include our own
customers in the conversation throughout . At times , we ’ ve been told that had never happened before , and when it came to the decision of putting our own customers on allocation , again we strived to do it in the fairest way possible for all involved .
“ Meanwhile , behind the scenes we tried out new production methods to cut down waste , minimise internal remakes and maximise ‘ time on tools ’ to save costs for ourselves and make things better for our customers . It ’ s an ongoing process but we know we ’ re on the right track , all with the ongoing support from our own suppliers , business affiliates , team and customers .”
www . oaklandglass . co . uk