Following the recent unprecedented ministerial announcement, my priority remains the safety of all Axter’s staff, customers, clients and their families both in the UK and abroad. For these reasons now is the time for Axter to act decisively, honourably and collectively so that we protect the NHS, work tirelessly to save lives and prevent the propagation of infection within the construction sector and wider community.
At this time of public health crisis, my colleagues and I will stand together and implement the following emergency protocols:
On-Site Quality Audit (QA) Inspections
In order to protect our dedicated QA team, customers and clients from the risks of infection and propagating infection within the wider construction community, all on-site quality audit inspections will be immediately halted and completed using web-based and/or mobile network video conferencing technology. If QA inspections cannot be satisfactorily completed remotely, they will be postponed for a minimum period of 3 weeks and rescheduled once further guidance concerning COVID-19 infection control has been made available by the UK Government.
In the event that on site works continue to progress unrestricted and as programmed in spite of yesterday’s COVID-19 infection control announcement, it remains the responsibility and duty of the accredited (Axtershield / Axter Alliance) roofing contractors to maintain Axter specification compliance, to visually record / document the installation process in accordance with the waterproofing system QA procedure and ensure this information is made readily available to Axter’s QA personnel upon request. Failure to comply to this requirement will most certainly jeopardise Axter warranty or guarantee certificate issue upon completion of the works.
Further guidance concerning Axter’s remote working QA inspection protocols and evidencing procedures will be made available to our accredited contractor network without delay to ensure we continue to minimise risk and support our customers and clients with compliance.
Face-To-Face Technical Sales Meetings
In accordance with yesterday’s ministerial announcement all face-to-face meetings conducted by Axter technical sales personnel are to be immediately halted and replaced in favour of web-based, video conferencing platforms. In the unlikely event that a meeting cannot be conducted by video conference, the meeting should be postponed for a minimum period of 3 weeks and rescheduled once further government guidance concerning COVID-19 infection control has been made available.
This immediate and companywide ban on face to face physical interaction, regardless of social distancing measures implemented to date, have been taken as the responsible way to minimise peer to peer infection and the propagation of infection that would likely cause long term commercial devastation to the wider construction sector.
Technical, Sales and Office Support
Our technical, sales and all office-based customer support functions are to be operated remotely and immediately relocated to home offices. Axter’s physical office in Ipswich is to temporarily close as it is unmanned as of close of business today, Tuesday 24th March 2020.
In spite of this unprecedented response to this public health emergency, Axter will maintain a business as usual approach as all departments have been carefully structured and resourced to operate remotely and our colleagues, customers and clients will experience little to no disruption during this operational change.
In line with the UK Governments announcement our Ipswich office will remain closed for a period of 3 weeks with all employees working remotely, thus eliminating the need for unnecessary travel. Our premises will reopen once government instruction changes and when our employees’ safety from COVID-19 infection and propagation of infection can be safeguarded.
Finance Department Operations
As we transfer all our operations to remote working protocols, we are temporarily unable to receive payment for goods by cheque and request our customers complete payments using online banking procedures and pay all due invoices by BACS or CHAPS electronic payment methods. Full details available by emailing [email protected]
We are currently experiencing minimal production disruption and no loading, shipping or delivery delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our factories have undeniably experienced and thankfully overcome significant operational difficulties over recent weeks and we clearly expect these to continue for some time to come. Nevertheless, our production facilities remain operational at high efficiency levels, with enhanced hygiene procedures implemented and working to good effect. Our raw material supply chains remain fully intact and secure and we will continue to increase production volumes where necessary to support our UK and global projects.
Warehouse Stock Levels
In accordance with our crisis management strategy stock levels at our UK and European warehouses continue to be significantly increased to ensure sufficient buffer stock is available to service our customer base should it be required.
Logistics and Delivery
Our logistics and delivery network continue to operate with the capacity to function as normal, provided customer order and project demand continues to be maintained. Our haulage network partners are currently reporting and experiencing no delivery delays as a result of COVID-19, however, we continue to monitor our logistics network daily and will update our customers and clients appropriately.
We are justifiably beginning to see some construction sites unexpectedly close temporarily due to COVID-19 infection and/or reduced onsite staffing levels and this unforeseen action has resulted in minor project specific transport delay and rescheduling. However, this has been operationally managed without detectable disruption to customer and/or client.
We are clearly living through very challenging times, nevertheless the actions we are taking within our business represent a measured, responsible reply to the government’s most recent extraordinary public health announcement.
I remain optimistic and extremely confident that with the collective support of our colleagues, customers and clients we can fight this pandemic, protect the NHS, save lives, our industry, jobs and future recovery.
Please check our website for regular updates on how the pandemic is changing our approach and what measures continue to be put in place to protect public health and minimise customer and client disruption.
To contact Axter, please visit the Contact Page on our website where the email addresses of all our employees are provided. If you wish to speak directly with someone within a department, please send them an email request with your name and contact details and they will call you back as swiftly as possible within our normal response times.
I trust this information meets with your approval and support.
Phillip Wilcox-Moore FIoR, Managing Director