UPDATED 8th JUNE 2020
It is well documented that we all have been affected by this pandemic one way or another and responses from our customers have been rather mixed, some much busier than previously but the majority showing a significant decline with some closing for a period of time, with some still closed as of today.
Within GEMCO, following the initial lockdown announcement from the government at the end of March, we witnessed an 80% reduction in customer demand.
We monitor this every week to help us to determine a balanced strategy for the return to work of our colleagues and although we are seeing a steady increase in demand each week, it is significantly lower than before the pandemic.
Although demand is still significantly down, we anticipate an increase from this month onwards and therefore have taken the decision to increase our workforce at a greater rate.
As of Monday 1st June 2020, we now have more of our staff back to work and in accordance have updated COVID-19 risk assessments and policies based on the latest government guidelines.
This also includes functions relating the supply of new equipment where we have opened some of our sales, warehouse, logistics and installation operations to support the needs of our customers, especially for critical items.
All our staff have read, signed and returned an acknowledgement form regarding our latest COVID-19 polices to ensure they fully understand and are working to these standards, with our field-based engineers also having copies downloaded on their workstation tablets.
As a reminder these include;
FIELD BASED RISK ASSESSMENT:
To help minimise the spread of any infections we have also adopted the following policy regarding the engineer workstation tablet device and signing of any job activity. In the presence of the customer our engineer will themselves type the customers name on the tablet and then add their own initials at the side.
The safety and welfare of our staff is of the utmost importance. Although we can better control social distancing and hygiene standards within our offices, this is more difficult for our field-based resources.
If at any moment the safety and welfare of our field-based staff is being compromised, we have no hesitation in any current tasks performed at that moment to be immediately suspended.
In these exceptional circumstances, our engineer will contact our offices and we will record details accordingly. Where appropriate we will escalate to key stakeholders with the relevant customer.
This increase capacity covers all disciplines of garage equipment and small tools but unfortunately, this will still not allow us to be ‘everything to everyone’ in the short term so please bear with us during these challenging times.
We continue to monitor customer demand and feedback and react accordingly, in conjunction with any Government advice or guidelines given.
Hopefully the above is of your understanding during these unprecedented times but if you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.
UPDATED 11TH MAY 2020
At the end of March 2020, a large number of our customers had either reduced capacity or completely closed, this was evidenced by an estimated 80% reduction of telephone calls received into our offices around the time when the Government announced the initial lockdown period on the 23rd March 2020.
Despite this huge downturn in demand, GEMCO remained open, although with reduced resources levels to support our customers that remained open themselves during this pandemic, including a number of key essential businesses.
Our strategy from this point was to ensure the safety of our work colleagues, adopting the following social distance policy;
For our customers, we adopted the principle of prioritising equipment that represented far greater health & safety implications for workshop technicians, therefore aligning our resource levels for ‘critical or non-critical’ equipment requirements.
Please refer to our communication below dated 6th April 2020 for further details of this. Although we accept these changes during these exceptional circumstances will not please everyone, we had to make a balanced decision in accordance with the needs of many of our customers who remained open.
Following this, we have continued to monitor customer demand and feedback.
We have various measures within our business and one we use to determine the behaviour of our customers is the number of telephone calls processed each week, which helps gives us a better indication of our 9,000 plus customer locations that are open or not.
Although there is slight evidence that more of our customers are starting to re-open, it is also evident that the demand is slightly different than prior to this pandemic, not all customers but the majority.
We use these measures to better determine the resources levels required to support our business and the needs of our customers.
We are pleased to announce effective from the 4th May 2020 (i.e. week 19 onwards) we have further increased some of our field-based engineering levels across different types of equipment.
We have increased further the capacity of ‘critical equipment requirements’ such as vehicle lifts, jacking beams, compressors etc.
Although there is still no change regarding the DVSA extension on MOT’s due for motor vehicles up to 30th March 2020, we have increased resource levels on products such as gas analysers, smoke testers, brake testers & headlamp aligners, with the anticipation of reducing the backlog of calibrations on such equipment. To help us facilitate this, we will be asking our customers for greater flexibility as we may bring forward calibration due dates to ensure we can be quicker and more efficient in completing this task, as well as ensuring customers are compliant as well.
We have also increased some capacity for small tools equipment such as torque wrench, air line gauges calibrations and small lifting equipment inspections such as trolley jacks, axle stands etc.
Unfortunately, this increase in engineering capacity will still not allow us to be ‘everything to everyone’ in the short term, but is balanced as best as we can, based on the needs of most of our customers.
In addition, we have noticed several manufacturers / suppliers of replacement spare parts are also starting to re-open, therefore we hope a number of outstanding jobs that were awaiting availability and delivery will start to proceed very shortly too.
For customers where we provide facilities management services i.e. sub-contracting captive or specialised equipment, service levels and support on these products will continue to be subject or the relevant approved contractor and their infrastructure support during this pandemic, if they are open for business.
Over the coming weeks we still continue to monitor our customer demands and feedback, in conjunction with any government advice or guidelines given.
UPDATED 6TH APRIL 2020
Although we have been requested by several essential businesses to support them during this pandemic, a number of our customers have either reduced capacity or completely closed.
Likewise, we have seen a number of garage equipment manufacturers and other service companies within the UK close too.
Unfortunately, GEMCO are not immune to this situation and therefore we have reduced our workforce accordingly, and in doing so, we are trying to plan what resources are needed for ‘essential requirements’ during this national shutdown period as issued by the government from Tuesday 24th March 2020.
However, to ensure our colleagues are safe we are operating under the following instruction;
For further details please click on link below;
In consideration for ‘critical requirements’ and resources required we have considered the following i.e.
- Compressors, Vehicle Lifts, Jacking Beams, Play Detectoors
- Whilst on site, the same skilled engineering resources can complete other items such Wheel & Tyre, Lubrication and Oil Equipment.
DVSA / MOT Equipment:
We were recently notified by the DVSA that they will be announcing that all Vehicle MOT’s due from Monday 30th March will be extended for a 6-month period to ease workloads on MOT stations and HGV’s for 3 months
Please follow the link below:
Garages and MOT stations are still listed as essential workplaces and people can still obtain a MOT during this period if required, this plan is to reduce the requirement on MOT testing during the COVID19 pandemic due to the reduced number of MOT testers that are in self-isolation.
In consideration for this, we have reduced our workforce significantly, as this statement from the DVSA will mean less MOT’s required during this pandemic, in fact of lot of other garage equipment companies that support these products have closed fully! We still have some limited resources for emergency requirements, and subject to volumes, will continue to calibrate where we can to minimise the impact, however we cannot guarantee all.
These products include;
Gas Analysers, Smoke Testers, Brake Testers, Headlamp Testers
In consideration for ‘non-critical requirements’ we have considered the following and can confirm that we have suspended all engineering support for the time being;
Workshop Small Tools:
• Torque Wrenches, Air Line Gauges, Tyre Pressure Gauges, Axle Stands, Micrometers, Multimeters, Pallet Trucks, Trolley Jack, Transmission Jack, Vehicle Support Stands
Unfortunately, in these exceptional circumstances, we cannot be ‘everything to everyone’ as we are also trying to provide support to a number of ‘key essential businesses’ including blue light services such as Police / Ambulance workshops.
Our resources have been planned and focused to complete the ‘critical items’ as described above as much as possible plus some DVSA / MOT type of equipment where we can with available resources.
Of course, this is a very ‘fluid’ situation we are all facing and any changes of advice from the Government or the safety of our work colleagues may impact on where we are today.
Once government restrictions are eased and some form of normality is restored in the marketplace, then we will work on the outstanding DVSA / ‘non-essential items’ as soon as possible but we can only do this once we have our full resources back working.
Hopefully the above is of your understanding during these unprecedented times, should you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
UPDATED 18TH MARCH 2020
As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation continues to change, we wanted to update you on the actions which we have taken to keep our staff, our customers and our suppliers safe. The safety of everybody remains our highest priority and we are continuing to closely follow the advice of the Government and all of the Health organisations.
Regarding our staff. In the instance where a staff member becomes unwell, they will be following the government guidelines and will self-isolate for the instructed period of time to protect the remaining workforce. GEMCO has now also adopted a ‘split’ system whereby the workforce is split between our four office locations and staff members homes. We operate on a cloud based IT & Telephone system meaning that our staff working from home can still carry out their duties as if they were in the office, however, the split system provides the extra physical distance between employees necessary in reducing the risk of the virus being spread.
For the safety of our mobile workforce, when raising a breakdown job or booking in a service visit, we will be enforcing our SOCIAL DISTANCE POLICY as follows:
SOCIAL DISTANCE POLICY
• Physical distance of 2m to be maintained at all times
• Ask any person if been in contact with a known person diagnosed with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
• Ask any person if they are showing symptoms
Again, to help minimise the spread of any infections during this pandemic we have also adopted the following policy regarding the engineer workstation tablet device and signing of any job activity. In the presence of the customer our engineer will themselves type the customer’s name on the tablet and then add his own initials at the side. With regards to our equipment suppliers, we are monitoring the situation very closely.
We are in daily communications with them to ensure that the supply of goods and services to us and our customers continues as normal. Please be rest assured that we are continuing with business as normal, with a reduced workforce and we are here to answer the phone, emails and fulfil your requests.
We appreciate your support and understanding during these unusual times.