This week we launched the #OpenForBusiness campaign, aimed at promoting the fact that the natural stone industry is open and ready to do business with architects, main contractors, local authorities and clients.
The COVID-19 situation has proven the natural stone sector to be agile and innovative as it has sought to chart a course through unprecedented waters.
We are aware that one of the main questions from architects and main contractors is, ‘who is back in operation’. We have compiled a list of Stone Federation members who have told us that they are #OpenForBusiness to help specifiers and clients find materials, products and services.
Several weeks ago, we issued an open letter to the construction sector encouraging contractors to continue to engage with their suppliers and subcontractors to ensure a strong cashflow throughout the industry. At that point in time we were keenly aware that partnership and shared endeavour had the potential to position the natural stone sector, as a part of the wider construction industry, for a strong exit from this lockdown period.
Now we are on the other side of the initial lockdown, and the construction sector is looking to find its feet in Phase 1 of the Construction Leadership Council’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery’, we are calling for this attitude of collaboration to continue.
You can view the full list of Stone Federation member companies who are #OpenForBusiness here by going to https://bit.ly/SFGBOFB. We will be running a social media campaign supported by our members over the next.
Opportunity for Innovation
When a great mind first said that necessity is the mother of invention, he would have had no idea how true that statement has proven itself to be, especially in the last few months.
The natural stone sector, along with the nation as a whole has found itself trying to chart a course through unprecedented waters.
So many of our tried and tested methods of operating as businesses and connecting with clients and customers have had to be put on pause. As the well-trodden path has been cordoned off, many businesses have started to carve a new route, new methods and a fresh approach.
We’re all aware of Zoom and Microsoft Teams as the new ‘normal’ for meetings, but there are a host of other examples of innovation and new methods within the natural stone sector.
Virtual Yard Tours
A number of our stone supply members have created online yard tours that allow you to ‘walk through’ an online inventory of hundreds of different stone types and get (almost) just as ‘up close and personal’ as a physical visit.
Quarry Visits by Drone
Some of our quarrying members have utilised drones and high-quality video to allow specifiers to ‘drop-in’ to the quarry to inspect the blocks and select material for projects.
Distanced Dry Lay Inspection
Several of our members have carried out dry lay material inspections using drone technology, in one case the stone was in Portugal and the inspector in London.
The common theme throughout these examples is the vast reduction they bring in miles travelled and therefore carbon output. So many of the ways in which businesses have been innovating, from the ‘Working From Home’ setups through to the drone inspections, have amazing benefits for the environment, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the industry.
Many Stone Federation members are already evaluating which of their COVID-19 compliant business pivots are more than just a temporary measure and will ultimately replace the previous methods of business.
We are encouraging specifiers, architects, interior designers, client and local authorities to explore the ways that the natural stone sector is providing for continued business connection and innovation.
To start your search for a Stone Federation member, go to www.bit.ly/FindAMember.