- Why did Newclay Products stay open?
We did not close because:-
– we can provide a healthy and safe working environment for our employees in line with Government advice, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
– our customers want to buy our products and can take delivery.
– our supply chain is able to deliver us the materials we need to make and pack our products.
– our work cannot be done by working from home.
– we were encouraged to stay open by the UK Government to help “keep the country running”.
- How are you keeping your workers healthy and safe?
We have carried out a thorough COVID-19 risk assessment based on sector-specific advice issued by the Government on 11th May 2020 entitled Working Safely During COVID-19 in Factories, Plants and Warehouses, the latest update of which was published on 24th September 2020. It includes due regard for existing health and safety requirements and various aspects of employment law, particularly those relating to discrimination and protected characteristics. With valuable input from our employees and agency workers, the risk assessment covers
– social distancing.
– managing customers, visitors and contractors
– cleaning the workplace
– personal protective equipment and face coverings
– workforce management, and
– inbound and outbound goods
from which we have identified a number of improvements to the preventative measures that were already in place to protect people in our premises
- Aren’t you putting profit before safety?
No, not as far as COVID-19 and coronavirus are concerned alongside the many other hazards and risks in our workplace, which include machinery, chemicals and forklift truck operations. As required under health and safety law, the risks associated with all workplace hazards are subjected to suitable and sufficient risk assessment, with appropriate control measures put in place to mitigate those risks as far as is reasonably practicable. In this we follow the advice of the HSE, see question 2.
- Are any of your products made in countries with high levels of COVID-19 infection?
Yes. All our products are made in our own premises in the UK.
- Do you source raw materials from countries with high levels of COVID-19 infection?
Yes. With one exception, a material imported directly from Germany, all our raw materials are sourced from UK manufacturers and distributors. They source products from manufacturers all over the world, including areas affected by coronavirus.
- Are your suppliers increasing stock of the materials you buy?
Some are, others are not, yet, depending on how they assess the risk to their own operations. Our suppliers tell us they have stocks to cover us for a [short] period and we currently have plenty of stock. Whilst free movement of goods around the world is allowed, this situation is unlikely to change. Many suppliers are more concerned about disruption associated with Brexit.
- Are you currently experiencing any supply chain issues related to coronavirus, or do you expect problems in future?
No, but we are closely monitoring the situation. Unless the UK leaves the EU with a free trade agreement, we anticipate there could be disruption for a short time associated with Brexit as the supply chain adjusts to new import and export requirements.
- Do you have alternative suppliers or production capabilities that can be used to minimise impact on the supply chain?
Many of our raw materials are commodity items for which there are alternative suppliers or even alternative raw materials available. Others are speciality materials with no readily available alternatives; it is these we will increase stocks of if necessary in the first instance.
- Do you foresee disruption to your operation as a result of higher demand for your products?
Our products are not considered to be liable to potential panic-buying or hoarding. Latent demand has returned as schools and those customers who closed during the lockdown have reopened. This is causing some disruption to our operation and extending lead-times for orders up to six weeks. and the latent demand is currently down overall due to schools being closed. Once they reopen and other restrictions are lifted, we are likely to be impacted by sudden latent demand.
- Have you or your employees travelled to areas affected by coronavirus?
Not as far as we know. We should all be following the travel guidelines issued, and changed, regularly by the Government.
- Do you expect staff shortages?
Probably. We have been experiencing problems for over a year due to issues trying to get reliable workers. COVID-19 will not help but is not currently the main reason for staff shortages.
- What is your plan to mitigate the effects of staff shortages?
COVID-19 is not currently the main reason for staff shortages. As always, we have contingency plans to mitigate these factors through the use of temporary workers, overtime, etc., if required.