UPDATED: 03st April 2020 - 11:49
To all our customers and partners,
We are fortunate to not have been ordered to close by the government. Businesses will still be able to take online orders and postal and delivery service will run as normal. I think it is everyone's responsibility to carry on as best as they can during these difficult times to keep this country ticking over, so we will keep going. Our carriers are still collecting from us and the delivery networks are still operational. We are still positive and want you to be too.
We are actively monitoring the situation closely, reviewing our readiness to deal with any wider disruption and ensuring this will not cause any major problems to our staff, customers or partners. Besides the health of our employees, maintaining the highest level of service to our customers is our highest priority.
We will continue to monitor government guidance and act in accordance with recommendations. Information can be found here - COVID-19: Guidance for employers and businesses.
We're lucky to be a small team and flexible enough to adapt to challenges. We've implemented the changes needed to adapt to the new conditions now harsher methods of social distancing has come into effect. Thank you to all our customers for your continued support. It genuinely means the world to our team and the longevity of the business during these difficult times.
Logistics - Sending out orders from our warehouse
The warehouse manager and I will be working in the warehouse to get the orders out of the door as usual. We happen to live together, so it makes sense that we continue to work together. Our order picker/packers will be continuing to come into work for the foreseeable future, but this may change at any time. We do not plan to lay off any staff due to the coronavirus outbreak as we are still seeing orders coming through.
We carry 99% of the products we sell in stock. We have a stock system that updates our website instantly, so if it is available to buy, it means it's in stock. We were also fortunate to have stocked up for Brexit, so plenty of stock for months to come.
We will be taking extra precautions to ensure that we do not unintentionally spread the virus by practising good hygiene (regularly washing hands) and also wearing latex gloves and specialist face masks whilst working and handling orders. See www.virustaticshield.com for the masks we're using. We're also staying isolated between work and home, and we all drive to work.
Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from PHE for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.
Deliveries from our partners
We use a small selection of delivery partners to fulfil our orders.
- Royal Mail - Coronavirus Update
- DPD Local - Service Updates and Information
- Parcelforce - Service Updates and Information
At present, all of our partners are continuing with parcel collections, sortation and delivery operations as normal.
They have suspended UK service guarantees. This means timed delivery services will be unavailable. It also means that shipments are not guaranteed for delivery the next day. We will continue to use a next day service to ensure we get the best speed available for you. Expect delays in most areas of 24-48 hours.
European operations are seeing disruption and our partners have suspended service guarantees. This is due to delays at border crossings. Expect delays of up to 48 hours. We have suspended deliveries to Austria, Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria due to tighter restrictions.
We will keep this page updated regularly with changes. See the top of the page for when this page was last updated.
Signed For Deliveries
Our delivery partners have made changes to their delivery procedure in relation to signing for and receiving items in the UK.
They are no longer asking customers to sign their handheld devices and instead will sign it on your behalf. They will record the recipient's name and a 'Delivered on Authority' in the signature section. They will also log the geolocation of the delivery. This now forms their proof of delivery process for all deliveries until further notice.
If drivers deliver to a location where it is known someone has the virus, they will deliver the parcel to a safe place.
Customer Service - We work in the cloud
The office staff are now all working from home. All of our business systems are cloud-based allowing us to work from anywhere. We've used this approach ever since the start of the business in 2013. It allows us all in the office to work from home with little to no disruption to productivity.
We expect the customer service element of our business to only have a slight impact during this period. We will keep you updated as time progresses.
Here are some of the systems that we use, just in case you're interested in any for your business:
Ringcentral.co.uk - Cloud-based VOIP Phone System. Our office team will be answering calls from their computers whilst working from home.
Office365.com - Cloud-based email and productivity software from Microsoft.
Shopify.com - Fully hosted eCommerce solution - Certified Level 1 PCI Compliant to ensure the security of customer data.
Xero.com - Cloud-based accounting software.
Linnworks.net - Cloud-based warehouse and order management system. This tracks and updates our stock levels as well as speeding up order processing.
Zendesk.com - Cloud-based customer service system. This is what helps us keep you happy.
Supply Chain - Our Suppliers
We work with a handful of suppliers for key components, and also with top brands. Here is a breakdown of the brands that are still operating/shutdown.
- Claber SPA - Italian Manufacturer - All operations closed
- Hozelock Ltd - British Manufacturer - Open with expected shortages/delays
- Rain Bird - French and UK Distribution for USA Manufacturer - Tentatively open.
Thank you to all our customers for your continued business, it means the world to us. I will be sure to keep this page updated as things progress. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Sean and the EGI Team.