‘Thriving, not just surviving’ has been the mantra at DHF HQ since last March, and following a year of extraordinary change and uncertainty, to which it has responded superbly, the organisation is looking to the future.
“If anyone had said a year ago what would have transpired throughout 2020, I think we would never have believed them.” says DHF’s Head of Commercial Operations, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. “The year has continually presented challenges, but we have faced them, and we have emerged stronger than ever.”
As the first ‘lockdown’ was announced in March 2020, the Tamworth-based trade association declared ‘business as usual’, engaging with its more than 500 members and becoming an indispensable source of information for the construction industry. It released guidance to door and gate companies, and operatives working on construction sites, outlining the key considerations regarding safety and social distancing on site.
Training, DHF’s raison d’être, continued apace with online courses launched to members in April, and face-to-face learning re-instated at DHF’s training academy by June. By the summer, the organisation’s ‘Distance Learning Programme’ (DLP) was being delivered via Zoom by Training and Compliance Officers, Nick Perkins and Steve Hill, with examinations taken via the online facility.
“Our members have been able to access an almost-uninterrupted level of training and we have worked extremely hard behind the scenes to offer a streamlined provision,” explains Patricia. “Subsequently, we have kept the industry informed by delivering training that enables safe and compliant products to be put on the market. And by offering online and distance learning, webinars and seminars, we have continued to put our members – and their needs – first.”
DHF has been praised industry-wide for its speedy response to the crisis, and in addition, its willingness to adapt and implement new practices for its employees and members. It is poised to embrace a new world and a new way of working. Indeed, recent global research confirms that more than half of all employees will work eight or more days each month from home. (Source: HR Director)
“For many of us, our eyes have been opened with regards to a new way of working,” says Patricia. “Although face-to-face interaction and collaboration is key, our members and employees have adapted to the changes that 2020 has brought, magnificently. During a year of tremendous upheaval, there have been many positives that have arisen for DHF. Our members and employees have not just demonstrated extraordinary resilience but have faced the challenges and the upturn in technology use remarkable well. It has paved the way for virtual meetings to continue and be accepted in the future, and decreased the need for unnecessary travel, a further benefit for the environment. Moving through 2021, DHF will be utilising a more ‘hybrid’ model with regards to its working practices, with a mixture of face-to-face and online meetings becoming the ‘new normal’.”
DHF represents all the key players in the following sectors: locks and building hardware, doorsets, industrial doors and shutters, domestic garage doors and automated gates.
With the ultimate aim of maintaining and raising quality standards throughout the industry, all DHF members must meet minimum standards of competence and customer service. They all operate within a Code of Conduct governing standards of workmanship, quality assurance, training, safety, business integrity and CE marking compliance.