As indicated earlier in the week, we have reviewed the guidance for the new national restrictions which came into effect yesterday. We have made any necessary changes to how we are currently working, which we have explained below.
We also remain committed to doing everything as safely as possible to maintain operational continuity and minimise any service or supply disruptions to our customers.
Both sites remain fully operational and we will continue to work safely from each.
Omega Plastics, Gateshead – FULLY OPERATIONAL
Omega Plastics has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic to support all customers, including those involved in the supply of COVID-19 or other medical projects.
Our toolroom continues to run at normal capacity and shift patterns supporting several COVID-19 projects along with other tooling work for our customers in medical, automotive, industrial and technical products, consumer products or other sectors. Our moulding and assembly teams continue to provide our normal 24/5 low volume or technical moulding service across our 50T-300T press range supporting customers in the medical, automotive, industrial and technical and consumer products and other sectors.
Signal Plastics, Washington – FULLY OPERATIONAL
Our moulding and assembly teams continue to provide our normal 24/5 high volume or technical moulding service across our 40T-1,300T press range, supporting customers in automotive and industrial and technical products.
Working Practices/New National Restrictions
We have put in place measures to adapt both of our sites and to change our working practices to ensure good hygiene, maintain social distancing and manage transmission risk. We are reviewing those measures regularly and consulting with our colleagues on the steps we are taking to make our facilities and working practices as safe as we can.
We have discussed with any colleagues who are over 60 or clinically vulnerable and reviewed their working arrangements to look to minimise contact with others and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in their workspace. We have also discussed with any employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and they are either working from home or staying at home in accordance with the guidance.
To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. As a manufacturing business, most of our colleagues need to be on site to perform their roles. However, we have again reviewed all roles which could work from home. As a result, some colleagues in our Group Management, Commercial, Tooling Design, Finance and Quality teams, have re-commenced working from home. Other colleagues in those teams will split their time between work and home on a rota to allow them to carry out their roles but also reduce numbers on site.
To reduce the number of people on either site, wherever possible, we are using video conferencing, telephone calls or email to communicate with customers, suppliers, or business partners. However, where there is a business-critical need for an in-person visit we have in place protocols to accommodate those visits. Only a limited number of visitors to each site will be permitted daily. All visits must be arranged in advance and approved by an executive team member.
If you have been unable to visit us since our relocations to our new facilities in Gateshead and Washington – we have a short video on our website which provides a tour.
Supporting our customers
We continue to discuss with our customers how COVID-19 is impacting them and how we can support. We are working with several customers to rapidly develop new tooling to react quickly to different opportunities, or replacement tooling or to transfer moulding production where they are seeing an impact to their UK or worldwide supply chains and have an urgent need for product or alternative more local supply chains.
Welcoming new team members
By the end of September, all colleagues across the group had returned to work on normal hours and pay. This was one of our key targets at the start of the pandemic, and it is great for us to have everyone back. Over the last 5 weeks, in reaction to a number of new projects for different customers and as part of our growth paths, we have welcomed 2 new apprentices (one in tooling and one in manufacturing) as well as welcoming another 25 new colleagues working across different technical, operations and support roles.
New Operations Manager at Signal Plastics
Dave Johnson, Planning and Material Manager at Signal Plastics has been promoted to the Operations Manager role. Dave has extensive experience working in the automotive supply chain and logistics and his promotion is well deserved. Dave will have overall site responsibility for Washington and will report to Julian Jamieson, Group Operations Director. Dave will be supported at Signal by Dave Robinson (Production Manager), Vince Holt (NPI and Tooling Manager) and Martin White (Quality Manager).
Operational and contingency planning
We started to plan for COVID-19 in January 2020 and during the beginning of the pandemic updated colleagues and customers on plans weekly. Our executive and operations team continue to meet daily to review any changes to guidance, any absences, capacity planning, any risks in the supply chain, reacting to new opportunities or any other planning or preparation we need to do.
Both of our facilities operate 24/5. If either site was to be impacted by a number of colleagues unwell or in isolation, we would have the flexibility to extend our working hours, to transfer colleagues on a temporary basis from one site and/or to bring in new colleagues to support production. This ability to be flexible and balance our management, technical, logistics, quality, or production colleagues between our two sites is something that has already worked well in practice during the pandemic.
All our colleagues understand and support the need for us to remain agile in how we work. This gives us the flexibility to react to time critical COVID-19 projects as well as to be able to support all our customers to react to new opportunities or a changing demand for their product.
Looking forward and further operational updates
We will continue to exercise caution as the pandemic evolves, particularly during this period of new national restrictions. However, we look forward to the future with great optimism and expect to make some further exciting announcements in relation to investment in people, facilities, and our capability over the next 12 months.
We will only provide further detailed operational updates if the UK government guidance or our operational status changes. However, please follow us on LinkedIn (Omega Plastics Group and Signal Plastics) for further general business updates.
If you have any additional queries, please do not hesitate to contact your OPG contact. You can find our contact details here.
I would like to thank all colleagues in the Group for their dedication to continue to support our customers over the last six months. I would also like to thank all customers, suppliers and business partners for their continued support and trust.
Stay safe and well.
Group Managing Director
Issued: Week 45 (Friday 6 November 2020)