On Boxing Day there was a Flood Alert issued for the River Nidd in the Knaresborough area.
When we arrived at our premises the whole of the Ground Floor including office space, factory and both warehouses was flooded to a depth of about 18 inches.
The electricity had gone, plant and machinery was damaged and inoperable. A great deal of stock and work in progress was rendered to scrap as the result of water damage or movement damage. This was due to the force of the water entering and regressing the premises.
What to do?
We needed to re-open for business on the 4 January. Yet we had several hundred thousand pounds worth of orders on the books to be fulfilled during the rest of the month.
Being an ISO9001 Registered Company Craven have Disaster Recovery Plan in place. This involved reviewing the situation, notifying suppliers, staff and adopting the necessary measures. We had to maintain continuity of supply to our customers.
As we all know Boxing Day is a Bank Holiday and last year fell on the Saturday. Tool Hire Companies were closed making it virtually impossible to hire the de-humidifiers, industrial vacuums and other cleaning equipment we needed to make a start on cleaning up after the flood.
We had to make some calls.
At 8.00am on Sunday morning about a dozen of our staff together with quite a few of their friends arrived at Craven House. The water had drained away and every inch of floor was covered with a slimy mud. Fortunately through out of hours Tool Hire Facilities and contacts we were able to start to order some of the equipment we needed. Unfortunately much of the Hire Companies’ stock was already hired out in other parts of the country. We weren’t alone in being hit by floods before Christmas.
In the words of the WWII Poster “We Kept Calm And Carried On”.
On the morning of 28th Craven’s Yard was filling up. Plant Hire Delivery Vehicles and Maintenance People came to repair our machinery. Additionally, electricians, plumbers, IT subcontractors and Craven staff and family helped to make the premises fit for purpose again.
By the 4 January the factory was back up and running albeit at less than 100%. We were able to start replenishing our stock to replace the Standard Products damaged in the flood.
Equally as important however was the job of communicating with our customers so that our problems didn’t become their problems.
We immediately began to contact all of our customers who were scheduled to receive deliveries during January. We explained our position and alerted them that their deliveries may be delayed.
Our customers were fantastic…
Without exception our customers were incredibly supportive. We agreed that we would update them regularly on the stock and delivery situation. By using a combination of supplying alternative products, part deliveries, timed deliveries at no extra cost and the basic decency and forbearance of our customers and their customers we managed to meet virtually everybody’s expectations.
New business was dealt with by being entirely up front with our customers. Again the response was extraordinarily encouraging. If we couldn’t meet their timescales and no other product offering was available we told them as soon as possible. Even when that was the case most of our customers adapted their plans or handled their customers’ expectations to allow us to supply goods.
We were unable to ship any goods on the 4th. But we were able to commence manufacturing although some of our machinery was still out of action. Dispatch began on the 5th and each day that passes has seen us make and ship more products. We have now caught up with all of the outstanding deliveries. All of our machines are working and manufacturing capacity is virtually up to planned levels.