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Covid safety measures allow Makita to bounce back strongly

By James Pugh | Telford | Business | Published:

Thorough safety measures implemented by power tools giant Makita has helped the manufacturer bounce back from the Covid lockdown.

The firm, based at Hortonwood in Telford, said the measures has allowed it to return to full capacity quickly and make up for what it lost whilst it was closed for three weeks to allow the measures be introduced.

Its more than 500-strong team have to wear a new face mask every day and it has purchased a heat scanner to record staff temperatures.

It has also introduced hand sanitiser, additional break areas to segregate numbers, perspex screens, and doors are left ajar to reduce contact with door handles.

Richard Annett, general manager of Makita, said: "I believe this business acted quickly and in a very professional manner.

"Our employee numbers prior to lockdown were about 430, we are now over 500.

"We had full closure for three weeks apart from a core of about 30 employees who were putting our social distancing measures in place. They have done a phenomenal job as has our HR department who communicated with the employees about the measures the business had implemented.

"One of our areas of risk was our locker rooms which was a problem area for us so we purchased gazebos and have moved some of our lockers outside.

"We have six start times and finish times. We also have six break times spread across the day for all the employees. I don't think there is a point in the day where we haven't got a break going on."

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Mr Annett said within four to five weeks of staff returning to work, the firm was back almost fully operational.

"Last month we made 140,000 tools, our previous average was around 90,000. In November 2020 we are set to peak at over 200,000 tools," he added.

Production manager Ian Evans said during the three-week closure it decided to pay all staff 100 per cent of their salary.

"We didn't want to add to our employees’ stress at the time. We have 500 families which we need to look after," he said.

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“Additionally, we have our service providers and supply base for which their employees rely on our business activities.

"We wanted to come out of the closure strong and want to meet our customer requirements.

"We are back to full capacity and are getting back to recover what we lost when we were closed for three weeks."

On July 1 Makita produced its 30 millionth tool.

"We have been in Telford 29 years so we are very proud of this heritage.

“We have seen since Brexit a very strong commitment from our parent company to maintain our Made in UK brand.

"I think in the next two years we have in excess of 10 new tools we are looking to introduce.

“We would like to thank all our employees for their help, support and understanding during these unprecedented times," Mr Evans added.

The business has recently received visits from representatives of Telford & Wrekin Council who have been very impressed with the safety measures.

Speaking during one of the visits, Councillor David Wright said: "I think what you have done here is remarkable. It is a company trying to do the best for its employees whilst maintaining its output."

James Pugh

By James Pugh

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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