- On 30/11/2021
By Ben Hart, Managing Director
As the winter weather closes in and Christmas fast approaches, I wanted to provide an update on 2021. It has been a rewarding but very challenging year, but we are looking strong for the year ahead.
Not standing still during the lockdown
2021 for us, as for many, got off to a frustrating start. Another national lockdown from early January meant that we could only do a limited amount of installations. The whole holiday park sector was on its knees after what 2020 had already thrown at it, but despite these challenges we didn’t sit still – we continued to look at ways we could improve as a business and the services we provide.
Improved Customer Services
We recruited a new Customer Experience Executive and Executive Assistant to strengthen our team. Excellent customer service is something we know our customers value highly and we want to meet or exceed their expectations.
Transforming our processes
Vinyl Solutions has also completely re-evaluated our quoting and drawing processes. Providing accurate and timely drawings and quotations is key for our partners, and we were delighted to introduce a new sales and quoting tool which enables us to provide this in a much more streamlined way. This tool has now been in full operation for over 6 months, and it truly has transformed our sales and quotation process. We can provide quotations much more quickly and in a more streamlined way.
Looking ahead into the New Year we are working closely with our developers to build on this tool to further enhance our service to customers.
Our new e-shop
Finally, we will also launched a new e-shop on our website so customers can now purchase a range of Vinyl Solutions products directly. A wide range of items are available for purchase such as replacement lights, post and end caps and decking cleaning products. The e-shop has also proved to be very successful with our customers, enabling them to get replacement parts more quickly.
Another year of the Staycation
Since my last update in April, it has been all hands on deck for our team! The holiday park industry re-opened again on 12th April following the lockdowns. The whole industry was itching to get going and so were we!
This was definitely the year of the ‘Staycation’. Many of our holiday park partners were fully booked during the holiday months, as demand went through the roof – with people desperate to enjoy a holiday after months of lockdown.
Responding to the ‘Staycation’ demand
The ‘staycation’ effect meant the demand for our decking products also grew significantly.
In fact, this has been the busiest summer that Vinyl Solutions has ever had, making nearly 1500 new installations between April and October alone.
This period was hugely exciting for our business, but it also presented us with many challenges. Not only did it mean ensuring we were sourcing raw materials quickly, but we were also having to ensure fast and efficient turnarounds at every stage to meet the demand of our customers – with no room for error.
The team reacted magnificently, rising to this challenge and all pulling together to deliver in very difficult circumstances. I am so proud of each and every one of them. A great example of this was the fantastic job the team delivered at Mill Rythe Coastal Village on Hayling Island for Away Resorts – pulling out all the stops in order to deliver in time for their grand opening in May.
The biggest challenge
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced this year has been the pressures on our supply chain for raw materials and the cost of those materials. With external pressures, such as the global pandemic, global shipping challenges and Brexit, this has had a significant impact on our raw material costs across many of our product lines.
As a business we’re very fortunate to have understanding supplier partners who we have been working very closely with for a number of years. They understand our challenges, whilst we also understand theirs. We continue to work closely with them all to keep these cost increases to a minimum, wherever possible, in order to minimise cost increases being passed on to our customers. Despite all of the challenges we are continuing to stay true to our values.
Giving something back
As many of you will know, as a business we are very keen in supporting our local communities. This year has been no different, and we’ve been absolutely delighted to have continued our support for Julia’s House as our Charity of the Year for the last 4 years.
The past two years has been particularly challenging for them and the children and families they support. So we are proud to have already raised some great sums of money for this charity this year at our Annual Charity Golf Day and taking part in The Big Ride in Dorset. We look forward to continue our fundraising efforts for Julia’s House next year.
Looking ahead to 2022
We’re very excited for what 2022 will have in stall for Vinyl Solutions and our industry.
Although the pandemic is still prevalent – we are positive that next year we will see more and more demand for the Staycation. This will be fantastic news for our Holiday Park partners, who will no doubt see another year of unprecedented demand.
We are also very excited to be moving in to our new premises next to our existing facility in Poole early in 2022. So much hard work is going on behind the scenes at the moment to prepare for this move, which will provide us with more warehouse and workshop space along with new office facilities. This will enable us to be more efficient and also increase our capacity to service the demand from our customers in the best possible way. More information about our move will be shared in the new year.
Thank you for your continued support for me and the whole Vinyl Solutions team and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.