The Rhythm of the Business
30 September 2014
We are currently working flat out in the factory to complete the manufacturing of the projects to be delivered before Christmas and this has been a repeating pattern for many years. Sometimes we have tried to change it, but it seems to be immutable. It is the busiest time for installations every year and this year is no exception.
I like to speculate as to why we have this pattern, and the first link in the chain is that new enquiries always peak in January and February. I am guessing that people decide over the Christmas break what their new projects are going to be for the next year - such as, lose weight, get fit, go on holiday and build an extension.
This bunching of enquiries in the first quarter leads inevitably to the busy period we see now. It is a big decision and by the time our clients have looked at several options and obtained competitive quotes, it usually takes two to three months from the their first contact with us before they place an order. Then there is the planning process. Most of our projects ( over 85%) require planning or listed building applications which we usually submit within two weeks, but the decision takes 8 - 10 weeks, sometimes longer.
Of course, we can't start the manufacturing process or ordering contract specific materials until planning is through. Although this timescale would often give us the possibility of delivering in the summer, many families do not want a building project to start in the holiday season and ask for it to be delayed until the autumn, which is where we now find ourselves.
Having many years ago abandoned any attempt to influence this pattern it is now firmly entrenched within the culture of the company, and with the uncetainty that exists in the world we are grateful for any predicable patterns that come our way.