The Bailey team continue to supply amid changing lockdown rules
Monday, 21, Dec 2020 12:26
By William Coleman
This year has been a challenge on many fronts for companies within the leisure industry. One struggle, which seems like a nice one to have, is being able to supply enough vans for the ever-growing demand. To keep the wheels turning, Bailey of Bristol has been adapting its business to ensure vans are ready for 2021.
During the first lockdown, the headlines reported a surge in toilet roll sales and a shortage of building materials and hand soap. What was not reported was the difficulty manufacturers would face securing spares and parts for leisure vehicle production. Even now, months after production plants have reopened, sourcing all manner of leisure vehicles parts has become challenging.
Due to the three-month break during summer, a lot of caravan and motorhome companies struggled to fulfil build quotas and pre-orders sales. Fast forward to November and the sales numbers for new vans had grown substantially, resulting in lead times for new vans doubling in some cases. This has led to the second-hand market becoming almost as strong as the new van market.
Not wanting to slow production, but realising the severity of the current Covid situation, Bailey of Bristol went to great lengths to keep the production line moving.
As the November lockdown set in, it was decided that closing, or even slowing, the roll-out of new vans would not be an option. Bailey, which fully supports and follows government steps to go into another lockdown, has seen its stock levels drop by 75 per cent, the lowest figure in over a decade. Having such low levels of motorhomes and caravans is not a viable option for Bailey.
The company fully reopened in July and saw that the demand for both caravans and motorhomes had risen significantly. With low stock count and large demand, Bailey had to take action to safeguard the future of the company, as well as the wellbeing of its staff.
Once the leisure industry was able to fully reopen, Bailey saw that customer feedback on new 2021 models (particularly the Phoenix+ and Pegasus Grande SE caravans plus the Adamo motorhome range) had been extremely positive. Due to demand, the Bailey retail forward order book now extends well into the New Year.
Needing to fulfil orders, and above all else, keep staff safe, it was decided that stricter Covid measures would be put in place. During the November lockdown, Bailey was able to keep the manufacturing side of the company open, while maintaining the majority of office-based staff working from home.
In order for the Bailey business to be able to continue operating in this way, it has required the implementation of a series of new working practices. These include hygiene, social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment, which ensured Bailey remains a safe place to work.
Having vans ready to send to dealers is such a vital part of the UK leisure industry. Not only does Bailey need to sell these vans, but dealers also need the retail stock to keep the doors open and the lights on. These delays can have a real knock-on effect that could see some dealers close.
A lot of businesses across the globe have had to make wave after wave of changes to keep to the ever-changing guidelines set out by local governments. The impact these changes have on a business can make or break them, so it's great to see Bailey keeping its head above water and making sure we get the vans we work so hard to buy and use.