Winster leads the Way on working practices
The hose industry probably looks like a typical traditional manufacturing and warehousing industry to most observers. From Winster’s early days in the 1960s supplying hydraulic hoses to the deep mining industry through extension to the construction trade, with in-house manufacturing and a network of depots, the company was like many others in 20th Century Britain, run and staffed in a very traditional style.
In 2022, though it’s a very different picture. Winster certainly couldn’t be accused of fitting the “stale, male and pale” stereotype. Val Gardner has been the company Managing Director for the last 6 years, and half the workforce is female, working in the warehouse, manufacturing and packaging areas, not just in the office.
Working practices have also changed, reflecting the wider shifts going on across all industries. Across the UK, there has been a significant move to hybrid working, accelerated by the Covid pandemic, with many workers reporting improved mental health as a consequence. While there have been some recent well-publicised comments from a few business leaders about getting more staff back into the office, it seems that hybrid working is here to stay.
Indeed, if you listen to commercial radio stations, you’ve probably heard advertising recently for a new style of commuter train tickets, initially introduced in 2021 where the passenger can travel on any 8 days in a 28 day period. In parallel, more and more employers are trialling changes to working hours, and reporting productivity improvements.
Of course, in manufacturing and distribution businesses, working from home isn’t really possible, but that hasn’t stopped the team at Winster from taking a fresh look at their working practices and exploring ways to refresh them to generate benefits for the company, staff and customers.
In September, Winster introduced a trial of “compressed hours”, extending opening hours on Monday to Thursday, but closing at 12pm on Fridays. The trial is due to be evaluated in the next few weeks, but Val says it seems likely to continue and possibly be extended. “We have had a positive reaction from all stakeholders, and everyone is now used to the new working hours. We’re now discussing with the team how we can build on this in 2023.” commented Val.
Val believes the changes at Winster are a natural evolution; influenced by changes in wider society and working practices, but driven by a firm commitment to the core principles that have been passed down from one generation of the Winster management team to the next for over 60 years, encapsulated in what the company refers to as “The Winster Way”. In Val’s own words “A happy, motivated team where everyone looks after each other and is determined to deliver complete customer satisfaction”.
Winster provide a range of strong selling hoses and accessories, tailored to match the customer profile of our resellers. For more information on what we offer and how it could benefit your business, call us on 01902 606010.