March 15th, 2020

COVID-19 Fortoak Customer Statement


For more than 50 years, Fortoak has put our people first, a core value established by its shareholders, directors, staff and partners. This enduring value guides us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday 11th March 2020.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event, and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. We are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the clock and have precautions in place to ensure business continuity, and to reassure you it’s ‘business as usual’ from our team.

Our flexible ways of working mean that our people are fully accessible as usual and have everything they need to work remotely. We are also privileged to have direct access to markets in the Far East so have brilliant intel on the current situation with regards to the virus, and also continuity of supplies from there. At present China is fully open for business in our sectors.

In times of uncertainty, like these, you can take comfort in the fact that our people are here to support you, working alongside you, in life and business. Our mission to help you meet your ambitions goes unchanged and we remain steadfast in helping you navigate the complexities that the next week, month or year throws at us. Together, let’s keep the UK moving forward.

Continuity & Support

The on-going developments have reaffirmed our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our staff, our clients and our visitors. This will always remain our number one priority – pandemic, or no pandemic. In light of the recent updates, we continue to take suitable precautions, including:

  • Advising all visitors to our offices that if they have travelled from any designated ‘lockdown areas’ or ‘special care zones’ in the last 14 days they will be unable to enter our offices or meet with our people face-to-face. Please check the NHS travel advice and Government websites for regions/nations affected. However, with our factories we have enforced a no entry policy full stop. This include deliveries of lorries or containers where we have agreement to offload ourselves and not allow any third-party member to enter our working environments.
  • Following up-to-date government guidelines for self-isolation, including the latest recommendation that any team members displaying coronavirus symptoms, however mild, stay at home for at least seven days to protect others.
  • Wherever possible offering alternatives to face-to-face meetings, such as phone or video conference.
  • Providing our people with NHS advice on hygiene and continuing our regular office cleansing.
  • Following government advice, we have also postponed all face-to-face meetings and networking events planned for March and April, and will rearrange these shortly.

Moving forward

Like you, we’re keeping a close eye on coronavirus and don’t foresee any changes to the continuity of our service to you in the near future. We have already positioned ourselves with a double stock strategy (over 1200 pallets in the UK) on the high demand lines. With regards to bespoke products we have given ourselves a rotating 3-month raw material buffer. We are working with all major customers to work any additional commitments, and if necessary, hold any further stocks on their behalf. We have been financially supported by our major bank, Barclays to help facilitate these covers, and any additional financial commitment needed.

All our product lines are available to view here

I will be in touch with any updates and if anything changes. We are closely monitoring the situation, and in the meantime, take care and stay safe.

Alex Vergopoulos, Group CEO and the team at Fortoak

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