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Schoolhouse Products Update on Covid-19
As one of Canada’s leading suppliers of furniture to the education, recreation and hospitality furniture markets, Schoolhouse Products is acutely aware of the impact that the Covid-19 virus is having on our communities right across the country. Given previous announcements indicating that we have been operating at less than 100% capacity at various times over the past 16 weeks, we felt it was appropriate to provide an update to our customers as to our current operational status -- which is a return to full operations in all regions of the country.
Over the past few months, situations changed at different rates in each area of the country and required different responses from our teams in the different regions. However, we were able to react quickly to the evolving local and national regulations, keeping the safety and health of customers and employees at the top of our minds as we tried to react to these changes and carry on our business.
More specifically, I would like to note the following:
- Our employees have been given flexibility to deal with situations that affect their family or their safety. As a result, we have some head office employees working from home while most of our staff have returned to our head office /warehouse location.
- Our regional offices largely remained open during the past 4 months and kept in touch with their customers to the best of their ability -- while following the distancing protocols.
- Most of our key suppliers are continuing to produce on schedule and therefore all products that have been ordered will be available for delivery and installation on the delivery and install dates as requested by our customers. Over the past few years, many of our key suppliers -- like Artcobell, Brodart, Screenflex -- have strategically migrated to integrated North America and local sourcing of raw materials and components -- so that their supply chains are largely under their own control. This has meant that, for the most part, we no longer have extended lead times caused by delays in receiving goods and components from offshore suppliers.
- We are fully open and making deliveries to all customers able to receive products. Where possible, we are making appointments to arrange most deliveries and, in a similar vein, arranging installs at mutually convenient times with our customers. Our delivery and installation staff are following all protocols for safety during deliveries and installs -- including the maintenance of social distancing and appropriate cleaning on all products being delivered.
- We have suspended all travel but our sales teams across Canada are ready to serve our customers with “Zoom” meetings and email/telephone conversations. Please remember that our sales people work with an in-house design team who are ready to prepare layouts and perspective drawings to help our customers visualize the look of any proposed new furniture on their renewed facilities.
- Our customer service group is processing all orders on a timely basis -- and our warehousing/delivery teams are operating quickly and efficiently in getting products to our customers without delays. In fact, despite the fact that the incoming orders, for us as well as the industry in general, are somewhat higher than expected, some suppliers, like Artcobell, have been able to reduce their lead times recently -- so even orders being received now, in early to mid-July, will be ready for shipment prior to school opening in September.
- Last, but not least, please remember that, for our Ontario customers, we have a wonderful showroom with a wide range of the new and exciting innovative products we are selling on display. It is open by appointment -- so don’t hesitate to set up a time to visit (all sanitising and distancing protocols will be followed for the visit).
So, in summary, our company operations are almost back to normal. If you have any requirements -- no matter how big or how small, feel free to get in touch with us -- we are here to serve you!
VP and General Manager