Read the latest word from Richard Gyde
When I posted my last COVID related blog on 4 May, cases were at their lowest since September 2020 and Mila staff were being invited back into the office as we sensed something like a return to normality.
Ingenious new products
It’s probably fair to describe Mila as a ‘house of brands’ rather than a ‘branded house’. More than 70% of what Mila supplies is now designed and manufactured in-house, but that still leaves around 30% that comes from third-party suppliers.
Only 185 days until Christmas
It would be a huge relief for me to be able to report that the ongoing disruption in the global shipping industry had stabilised or even eased, and that we would soon be able to report shorter lead times and even an end to the freight surcharges that Mila had to introduce back in March.
With the news that COVID cases in the UK are at their lowest levels since last September and the vaccine roll out reaching the 40 somethings, now seems the right time to be welcoming more of our staff safely back into the Mila building and restoring some more of the Mila vibe which all of…
Just in Time or Just in Case?
If you read any of the analysis about what’s happened over the last year in the global shipping market, there’s two pretty broad schools of thought. One is that the market has held up remarkably well, given that we’ve experienced two ‘black swan’ one-in-20-year or one-in-100-year events in the form of the Suez Canal blockage…
For most people, the story about the container ship blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week was probably nothing more than an interesting news piece. But for those of us in the industry who rely heavily on that Asia – European supply route, it was yet another stressful low in a year of extreme…
Chunyun – But Not As We Know it
Today is Chinese New Year, the start of the Chunyun Spring Festival, which is when millions of Chinese people traditionally travel home to see their families, sometimes for the only time they will see them that year.
A Game Changing New Product
It’s a big week here at Mila because it’s the launch week for our brand new TS008 certified letterplate. All the product info you need is here for both the stainless steel SupaSecure and standard ProSecure versions.
A Sign of Normality
If, like me, you’re starting to wonder when life will ever start to feel properly ‘normal’ again, I can offer a little bit of good news from Mila.
Business as Usual
Here we go again. I don’t think any of us are surprised that we find ourselves back in what is essentially now a UK wide lockdown and at least this time around we have clear guidance from the government that manufacturing and construction can continue to operate and that, outside of Scotland, tradespeople can still…
No Let Up Yet
In the last blog that I posted on 17 November, I warned about the storm which was brewing in relation to freight coming into the UK from the Far East.
Another Storm on the Horizon?
I’ve written to the trade press today to try to warn the market of yet another storm looming on the horizon. There was some coverage of it on the BBC news website over the weekend, but beyond that, it doesn’t seem to have been picked up very widely.
Brexit Fast Approaching | Guest Blog by Oliver Burgess
While we are all still dealing with the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic and doing our best to cope with unprecedented levels of demand, we can’t lose sight of the fact that Brexit is now just a few weeks away.
New National Restrictions from 5th November
Following the announcement that there will be a second lockdown starting in England on Thursday 5th November, we can confirm that Mila will remain fully open, in line with the government guidance that construction and manufacturing can continue to operate.
It’s all about the OTIF
I get Mila’s performance metrics delivered into my inbox at 6.30am every morning. Such is our focus on keeping our customers supplied with product at the moment that they’re the first thing I look at when I pick up my phone.
A whole new set of challenges
I think it’s fair to say that the market has bounced back much more strongly than anyone in the industry could have hoped. While it’s brilliant news that we should all be celebrating, I think we all know that it has actually thrown up a whole new set of challenges – with demand in some…
We’re all in this together
‘We’re all in this together’ has arguably been one of the most overused phrases during the whole of this Pandemic. While the sentiment might be true, and it was certainly evident when so many people came out for 10 weeks to clap the NHS, it’s obvious that people in front line jobs, young people, deprived…
I can’t be the only MD in this industry whose been pleasantly surprised at the speed with which the market seems to be recovering. I’d expected us to be gradually ramping up orders throughout May, June and into July, but we’re already at around 90% of 2019 levels and there’s no sign yet of that…
It’s Good to Talk
We’re just about to issue a survey to customers asking them to tell us how demand is increasing and how they see the next few months, so that we can make sure we stay ahead of that in terms of stock availability and returning staff. As our National Sales Manager Julie Holmes has been saying…
Time to Support Each Other
This is Mental Health Awareness Week, and it arguably couldn’t have been better timed. Life can be difficult and horrible sometimes, even when the world looks normal; but the Coronavirus crisis has thrown up a whole load of new stresses and anxieties which none of us could ever have expected to face. Whether you are…
We’re Open for Business
Now that the government has given the manufacturing and construction sectors the signal we’d all be waiting for that we can get back to work, as long as we can ensure the safety of both staff and customers, the window and door industry has finally started to spring back into life.
A couple of weeks ago, Mila announced a weekly delivery service to help those customers who were still working on commercial projects. Since then, the trickle of orders coming into Mila has steadily increased and we’ve now upped that weekly service to 48-hours for any orders received via email@example.com by 3pm every day.
As of today, Mila has taken some tentative steps into what I suspect will be the ‘new normal’ for a while yet. Although the vast majority of our operation remains closed in line with the government’s lockdown restrictions, we are now offering a limited service to support customers who are continuing to work on essential…
Light It Blue
From today, Mila’s iconic red logo will be turning blue in honour of all those NHS heroes who are doing such incredible work on the frontline in the fight against Coronavirus.
As we enter what is now week four of lockdown, I think we’re all desperately waiting for some indications from the government of what the eventual exit strategy will look like. Countries that entered lockdown before us, including Denmark and Austria are opening primary schools and small shops. Spain is this week restarting construction and…
Updates from China
As we face the third week of lockdown and with infection rates still rising in the UK and around the world, the government is giving no indication yet of what its eventual exit strategy might look like. While none of us can do much for the next couple of weeks other than stick to the…
Like most in this industry, last week was undoubtedly the hardest in my career. To have to close the business – even for what we hope is weeks rather than months, was genuinely heartbreaking.
Coronavirus Update: Unprecedented times
These are unprecedented times and we are all facing business and personal challenges which were unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
Coronavirus Update: Staying Positive
I said in last week’s Coronavirus update that it was difficult to look too far ahead in this crisis and, sadly, I’ve been proved right. At the time of writing, there are now 39 confirmed cases in the UK, and big news for this industry that Fensterbau has been, at the very least, postponed.
Coronavirus Update: Encouraging News
I’ve received more encouraging news over the last few days from our team in China with regards to the Coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus Update: Reassuring News from China
Following on from last week’s post about the potential impact that the Coronavirus could have on our supply chain in China, here’s the first of the regular updates I promised.
Like the majority of hardware suppliers in the UK, Mila imports a large proportion of our stock from China. As you would expect then, our teams based both here and in China have been working extremely hard over the last couple of weeks to minimise the potential impact of the current Coronavirus outbreak on our…
No Crystal Ball
It’s that time of year again when the trade magazines start to publish their reviews of the year just gone and their previews of the year ahead. I’ve just sent my thoughts over to Glass News, and I actually found it quite hard to make any predictions when we still don’t know the outcome of…
Smart Tech Just Got Serious
November’s issue of Glass Times will carry its first ever dedicated supplement on smart technology – a clear indication I think of just how far this industry has come in its attitudes towards these products. I’ve submitted an article for the supplement giving my view of the market and I’ll be interested to read the…
From Russia with Hope
I’m back on my bike again and asking one more time for sponsorship to support the amazing work of the Hope House Children’s Hospices in Oswestry and Conwy. By the time you read this, I’ll no doubt have pedalled several hundred of the 2780 miles in this latest GM Fundraising challenge dubbed ‘From Russia with…
There was an interesting article on the BBC news website this week about the growing threat which UK businesses face from cyber attack.
A Perfect FIT
It’s less than two months to go now until this year’s FIT Show, and I’m really pleased to announce that Mila will be going! This will be very different to our previous FIT Show experiences though because we are showcasing just one
Happy New Year!
Welcome back to 2019 – I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas break and, like me, is heading into January rested and rejuvenated and ready to take on the opportunities as well as the challenges which lie ahead. As ever, our aim is to help our customers squeeze as much as they can from the…
I’ve just been re-reading my blog post from Christmas 2017 and it’s interesting to see how much – and how little – things have actually changed over the past 12 months. We’re all still facing the interminable challenge of Brexit of course and we’re still seeing rises in commodity prices and currency fluctuations – but…
The Benefits of a Supply Agreement are mutual
With Brexit uncertainty continuing to cast a very long shadow across the market, the issue of supply agreements is coming up with increasing regularity in our conversations with customers. For fabricators, of course they offer guaranteed levels of service, while for suppliers like Mila, they offer greater transparency in terms of demand forecasting.
Women Mean Business
I spent an inspiring day in London last week at the Telegraph’s Women Mean Business conference, listening to the likes of Mary Portas, Clare Balding and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt talking about the challenges and opportunities facing women in the workplace, as well as the huge contribution that all of us can…
Cautious but optimistic
If you read Glass & Glazing Products in October or Glass News in November, you’ll see that Mila has quite a lot to say about Brexit. While there is still no deal secured, we think it’s prudent to be cautious but still optimistic, and that’s very much the message we’re putting out to customers.
G-Awards time again!
The nominations for this year’s G-Awards were revealed last week and it was fantastic to see Mila shortlisted in the Component Supplier of the Year category once again. We’re the current holders of that title and we’ll certainly be battling hard to win a G-18 trophy to sit alongside our G-17 one.
Cycling for a Cure
Regular readers of the blog will be used to me getting on my bike for charity. Up until now, most of my epic rides have been in aid of the Hope House Children’s Hospices which are supported by the industry’s GM Fundraising charity. Over the years I’ve probably helped to raise hundreds of thousands of…
The countdown is on…
The countdown is clearly on for next year’s FIT Show. The marketing campaign around the ‘Be A Part of FIT’ theme has already started in the press and online, and I noticed that visitor registration has even opened already (that one might be a bit early maybe!) Mila didn’t exhibit at the last FIT Show…
We’ve just received our brand new certificate from BSI confirming that Mila is now accredited to the ISO9001:2015 quality standard – the revised version of ISO9001:2008. While this in itself would be a fine achievement, what makes it particularly special is that,
GDPR – only 5 days left!
If you haven’t heard of GDPR by now, you’re clearly not checking your in-box often enough! GDPR represents a massive change in the way that companies have to handle data about their customers, and it’s being introduced right across the EU to give customers more rights and protections. It’s meant to control how data is…
The last couple of years have been some of the most challenging in Mila’s recent history – almost entirely because of the economic impacts of the Brexit vote of course. The 20% fall in the value of the pound has massively driven up our costs, while the wavering in consumer confidence has had a dampening…
Five star products
Like most of us I’m sure, I rarely buy anything online anymore without reading the reviews. We’ve all got used to checking products before we buy and, thanks to the transparency of social media, it’s easy to gauge the general level of customer satisfaction with any business fairly instantly. As a supplier, online reviews obviously…
Punching above our weight
We’ve just had our supply chain performance independently audited by Grant Thornton, and I’m delighted to say we scored a very impressive 2.7 out of 4 and were rated ‘an exceeding organisation’. If I tell you that only the likes of Dell and Amazon score anything close to 4, you’ll see that we are punching…
It’s that time of year again when the trade magazines ask representatives from across the industry for their predictions of the year ahead. My thoughts are actually really positive. Winning the Component Supplier of the Year award at the G-17s has given everyone here at Mila a tremendous boost, largely because it feels like a…
Mila is in our DNA…
I’d like to congratulate my twin brother Robert Gyde who has just completed 35 years with the business, and put on record here my thanks for his commitment and dedication to Mila. Most people reading this blog probably won’t know Robert – he’s very much behind the scenes here working as a supply chain analyst,…
Making space in the trophy cabinet
We’re making extra space in the Mila trophy cabinet this week, having picked up the Component Supplier of the Year award at last Friday’s glittering G-Awards. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team here – it’s a huge accolade to be named the best supplier in the industry and it vindicates all the hard…
6 months of 100% OTIF for Synseal!
We’ve just achieved something rather special for Synseal – 100% OTIF on everything we deliver to them for the past six months. Even Synseal themselves described it as a ‘remarkable achievement’ – given that we supply them with more than 300 different lines and they typically place more than 40 orders a month with us….
Headwinds are not just coming from Europe
While we’re all preoccupied by the progress (or lack of it) in the Brexit negotiations and the impact that is having on consumer confidence in the UK, it’s easy to think that the biggest headwinds facing the window and door market are coming from Europe. From a hardware perspective though, it is the Chinese market…
It is with great sadness that I write about the death of Sue Wood, who passed away recently and I will later be attending her funeral today. The Mila flags are flying at half mast as we remember someone who will forever be a part of the Mila family. Sue worked at Mila for 10…
Marketing intern takes over Mila’s social platforms
We’ve got a marketing intern here at Mila for a couple of weeks getting some valuable experience in what, as you can imagine, is a very busy department. Emily is studying Advertising and Digital Marketing at Northampton University and this is obviously a great opportunity for her to put lots of the theory she’s learnt at uni…
G-17 time again
Tuesday saw the announcement of the nominations for this year’s G-Awards. I’m delighted that Mila has been shortlisted in no less than three categories including the much coveted Component Supplier of the Year, alongside the Customer Care Initiative and the Trade Promotional Campaign. These nominations recognise some of the key areas where Mila continues to…
It feels really strange after so many years taking part in the GM Fundraising charity events to be on the other side of the fence this time around, and to be one of those doing the sponsoring rather than the cycling. If you’ve somehow missed it, 12 of the industry’s best known women are currently…
TechTalk is Good for All of Us
Anyone who reads Glass News will hopefully be very familiar with our Technical Manager Strafford Cooke’s Tech Talk column, which he’s been writing regularly for over four years. In it, he gives advice to fabricators and installers on everything from distinguishing between different hardware finishes to meeting the demands of TS007. You can read some…
A difficult call
Like many in the industry I’m sure, I’m already planning my visit to the FIT Show in a couple of weeks’ time. Mila took the difficult decision not to exhibit this year largely because the timing of the show, just 13 months after the last one, didn’t fit in with our product development programme. Last…
3000 miles in 12 days
I’ve recently returned from a two week trip to China – 3,000 miles in 12 days and 10 different hotel rooms, which I’m not sure anyone could really describe as glamorous. Since Mila made the decision to ‘chase the dragon’ and take our manufacturing offshore back in 2008, these trips have become part of my…
Singing success at Mila
We set great store by our service levels here at Mila – guaranteeing next day delivery and maintaining a supply chain which achieves OTIF scores in excess of 99%. Critical to that of course is the performance of our warehouse team, who are responsible for making sure that every order is picked accurately, packed securely…
What’s so complicated about guarantees?
If you read the trade press, you’ll hopefully have seen lots of coverage of our newly simplified guarantees. The marketing team here have produced a brand new set of design icons which are being rolled out now across all our packaging, literature and website. These show whether a product is guaranteed for 5, 10, 20…
Another member of the 30+ Club
I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve got another member of the 30+ club at Mila. Dave Smith, one of our most valued warehouse operatives, clocked up 30 years with the business last week and quite rightly got a special gift from Mila to say thank you. Our Operations Manager Joe Montague made the presentation and gave…
Good news if you can find it!
There’s so much depressing political news in the papers at the moment that it’s sometimes tempting not to read them too closely, but I actually found some real nuggets of positivity in The Sunday Times a couple of weekends ago which I thought I’d share with readers of my blog.
Backing the GGF
I’ve just been reading a summary of the 2016 GGF Membership survey and, while there’s a mix of positive and negative in there, it was interesting to be reminded of just how important the federation still is to this industry. Over half of UK window and door installations are carried out by GGF members apparently,…
Digital marketing – we’re investing again
It seems a long time ago that digital marketing was a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’ in this industry. It’s become a key element in Mila’s award winning marketing activity in recent years and we’ve just appointed our first full time digital marketeer to handle our online presence and engage with customers…
Looking back, 2016 has very definitely been a year of highs and lows – the highs of the FIT show, the launch of our GRIP handle and our most recent success at the G-Awards, and the lows of the price surcharges triggered by the Brexit vote.
Is there a perfect storm on the way?
There’s been lots of talk in the market about the price rises and surcharges triggered by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote. I’ve already written to customers about the currency band surcharges we’re having to impose from January and setting out exactly what proportion of the extra costs we’re…
Three in a row for Mila
It was another great industry night on Friday when the best in the business gathered for the annual G-Awards. I know there’s lots of cynicism around award evenings but as a celebration of this whole industry and how it continues to defy every downturn, economic and political crisis, I don’t think you can beat them. […]
All in a good cause
Anyone who is still in any doubt about the true level of my commitment to the GM Fundraising cause should probably have a look at these photos from the recent Witches and Wizards gala dinner. In the true spirit of Halloween, the team at Mila gamely dressed as pumpkins – creating our very own, very […]
Coughs & sneezes…
It was virus protection of a very different kind here last week at Mila when we all queued up for our flu jabs. It’s something we do every year to keep the team here fit and healthy and they are always very popular. Obviously, from a purely commercial standpoint, it makes sense for us to […]
It’s a double for Mila at the G-Awards
I was on holiday a couple of weeks ago when the G-Awards finalists were announced and it’s great news that Mila has been shortlisted in two categories at this year’s event. There’s always a fantastic buzz around these awards and they really do read like a who’s who of the industry with the likes of […]
The 30+ Club keeps on growing
I don’t think there can be many businesses in this industry where so many people have given quite so many years of amazing, dedicated service. I talk all the time about Mila being a family and about the business being ‘in my DNA’ but it’s very clearly not just me who feels like that. I […]
35 years and counting
This has been a big week for me at Mila because on Monday I celebrated 35 years with the business. Obviously, I joined straight from school and I started at Mila on the 1st August 1981 which was a Saturday – my first job was painting the loos! You could definitely say I started at […]
Plastics Industry Awards – Here we come!
I’ve probably mentioned before on this blog how incredibly proud I am of our new GRIP espag handle. It represents a huge innovation in this industry because it’s manufactured in ABS rather than zinc, and has such a low carbon footprint that it’s been certified by the Carbon Trust.
I’ve now had a couple of weeks to recover from the exertions and excitement of the GM Fundraising Border to Border charity bike ride, and I want to say a huge thank you to all my colleagues, customers, suppliers, and even competitors, and friends who’ve given me such generous support. My personal fundraising total currently […]
Border to Border – an update
Thanks to everyone who has already sponsored me for next month’s Border to Border charity bike ride from Vancouver in Canada to Tijuana in Mexico. I’ve been really touched by the number of people who have pledged their support on my justgiving page, but now I’m making another heartfelt plea for as many people as […]
Back in the saddle
After what was probably slightly too long, I’ve been back in the saddle in recent months training for the GM Fundraising Border to Border bike ride, which is happening in just a few weeks. A bit of warm weather altitude training in Majorca a few weeks ago left me in no doubt that I need […]