25th May 2020 Update

This brief update is to let our customers in the south know that normal service has now resumed at our Cotswolds Display Centre near Burford.

Closely following Government guidelines, we have social distancing measures in place and we ask all customers to abide by the 2m rule. Please also note although Burford Garden Centre is now open, the restaurant and coffee shop currently remain closed. Our key measures are:

  • only 2 people on the displays at any one time
  • no entry to the office for the public
  • interior flooring showroom by appointment only

 

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

Previous Updates

I wanted to bring you up to date with how we have adapted to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times, and how we continue to adapt, whilst also supplying both the trade and public with the products that they need.

The crisis has put Westminster Stone under more pressure huge pressure, and I have to admit that we have made a few more mistakes than usual! But I am proud of the way the team has responded to the challenge. Two thirds of our workforce is now back to work, with a strict social distancing policy in place: Extra staff facilities have been brought in. We have extended the working day (and week) slightly to spread staff more thinly; and the majority of the sales and accounts team are still working from home.

Our paving display centres are all still closed, so the only way we can take orders is over the phone, online (through www.westminsterstone.com for paving and flooring, and www.gardenstone.co.uk for edgings, gravels, and garden centre ‘pick up lines.)’ You can order samples on line too.

Deliveries have generally been made within 3 – 7 working day, and other than one or two products, that is still the case. I would thank you for bearing with us on the odd occasion that there is a delay. We will always try to keep you informed and updated.

I would suggest that you get your orders in early, even if you don’t want them for a month or two. Or if you don’t know when you need them! There are likely to be shortages during the coming weeks, from all brands and importers. India for instance hasn’t made or dispatched a paving slab for almost 2 months. And the shipping time from when they re-start is 4 – 5 weeks. And manufacturers in the UK have almost without exception have ceased production, or been working with a skeleton staff. For the past 6 weeks, Westminster Stone has manufactured just 20% of what had been planned pre Lockdown.

During the last week, just one of our vehicles from the fleet has turned a wheel for the first time in 6 weeks. During the peak of the crisis, we made the decision to use outside hauliers only, as we considered that they were the specialists, and that they would be able to adapt their operations to the Covid Challenge better than we could, thus keeping people safe.

I understand there that there may be a relaxing of the Lock-down from next week (11th May). Be assured, there will be no relaxing of our strict rules here. We won’t be letting down our guard. We have brought staff back very slowly during the past 2 or 3 weeks. Waiting until we have been able to provide a safe environment. The last of our production operatives are due back over the coming fortnight, with the exception of those that have fears or unique circumstances.

Our gates have been locked (and continue to be so) since Lockdown, and access is by appointment only. Deliveries and collections are also be appointment only, with strict social distancing policy for drivers. There are no ‘loose’ collections, or handballing of product in to delivery vehicles. If it can’t be loaded by forklift, it can’t leave!

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping this country overcome this crisis. And will keep you updated with any changes.

Keep safe. We look forward to hearing from you.

John Clifford
Managing Director

I wanted to update you on how we’re adapting to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times.

Following clarification from the Government, on 24th March, our type of business is able to continue to operate within health & safety guidelines, we will therefore continue to keep our retail outlets closed to customers but we will be running an online & phone order, and delivery only service to from the 26th March.

We continue to take steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. This includes no longer asking customers to physically sign for deliveries, instead courier drivers will take a photo (unless advised not to) of the delivered items and sign on the customer’s behalf. Our couriers continue to run ensuring food and medical goods are delivered, by keeping their wagons topped up with other goods, this allows the courier services to run efficiently & cost effectively and they are prioritising deliveries of essential supplies over other goods at this time.

Enquiries, Orders & dispatch will be undertaken by family members who both live on site at Westminster Stone.

We will continue to closely monitor and evaluate this ever changing situation to help ensure we play our part in helping this country overcome this crisis. And will keep you updated with any changes.

John Clifford
Managing Director

We currently are not experiencing any problems with either getting goods in from suppliers or sending orders out. TPN is continuing to operate and collect and deliver orders from us, and our drivers are currently still working. DPD and various pallet couriers are continuing to deliver in supplies from all of our UK suppliers. Our catalogue of products remain in good supply and we are in constant daily contact with all suppliers monitoring the situation across the UK and the world. We have a vast amount of stock on the yard to fulfil orders. If stock starts to become an issue and this situation changes we will provide a further update.

Dispatch times across the Westminster Stone & Gardenstone product range remain unchanged. We still have all machinery and staff operating as normal and we are monitoring this on a daily basis and will provide updates if we expect delays to order dispatch.

All our retail outlets are closed to the public, but we continue to operate taking online and phone orders & fulfilling orders and deliveries as normal.

In regards to receiving your delivery, please keep a safe distance from the drivers. Orders that would normally be signed will not be signed for but instead will be marked as delivered by the delivery driver.

John Clifford
Managing Director

Dear Customer

I want to update you on the steps that Westminster Stone is taking to minimise any potential effect the Coronavirus may have on our service to you.

The health and safety of our staff and clients are of the utmost importance. We are following government best guidelines to inform our actions and have educated our teams accordingly.

What business issues could affect our levels of service?

Through careful planning we are fully confident we can continue to deliver product for our clients and have contingency plans in place, which mean we can continue to operate at a level that has minimum impact.  However, if we expect any delay in our high service levels or any temporary extension to deadlines outside of our control, we will ensure that we communicate this to you promptly to minimise any potential impact.

Delivery drivers are briefed not to shake hands, to respect  customer’s wishes and maintain a safe physical distance

What happens if our offices close?

We have reduced the number of staff working in our Head Office and all remaining members of staff are working in isolation.  In the unlikely event that we need to close the office completely, staff will continue to work full-time from home, and our website will remain open 24/7 to accept your orders and enquiries

Visiting our Display Centres

Our Head Office is in a rural location and customers will be greeted outside and given time to browse our displays on their own.  We will not be shaking hands as a matter of policy, and with less staff on site it is easy to retain safe personal space.

Our Burford Display Centre has only one person based on site at a time, with others working from home.  Again, customers will be greeted outside and given time to browse the displays on their own.

Our remaining Display Centres are unmanned, so please continue to visit at your leisure and enquire or order online through our website.

Thank you for your continued custom and support.

Kind regards

John Clifford
Managing Director