Thursday, 9 August 2012

Rigorous new code of conduct is no barrier to growth – BWF on track to achieve record year for membership

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) is celebrating significant membership growth this year.  Building on the success of 57 new members in 2011, 43 more firms have joined in the first half of 2012 with the upward trend set to continue.

Due to some of the toughest trading conditions the industry has ever seen and a recession which is estimated to have slashed the turnover of the UK’s joinery industry by 17% since 2008, it appears that businesses of all sizes are increasingly turning to the BWF for the practical support it provides and to demonstrate their quality. The BWF’s State of Trade Survey has highlighted that few members are predicting declines in 2012.

Ironically, part of the attraction has been the BWF’s decision to make membership that little bit tougher.

The BWF Code of Conduct, which sets out the principles of good practice for a woodworking or joinery business in terms of workmanship standards, company stewardship and environmental discipline, has been made mandatory for all member firms from this year.

Achieving compliance with the Code of Conduct includes a thorough inspection by a BWF assessor, including a review of customer care, complaints handling, technical expertise and training, environmental impact and waste management, and sustainable sourcing. It also scrutinises the firm’s financial status and stability, insurance, clarity of contractual dealings, and compliance with employment, health and safety and education legislation.

Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the BWF says:

“Far from being a burden, joinery firms are seeing compliance with the Code as competitive advantage. The compliance checks are, in effect, a free business audit by an experienced assessor, tailored to make each business more effective in this tough economic environment.”

Jon Gorf, MD at Parker & Highland Joinery in Sussex and a long-standing member of the BWF, says:

“The Code of Conduct process has been a useful one, even for a well established business like ours. The assessor who came in made some really helpful recommendations. Far from trying to trip us up, the BWF has armed us with the tools we need to comply. We are proud of our commitment to the Code and display our compliance on all sales literature and on the website. It adds credibility and shows we are committed to our industry.”

Code of Conduct assessment visits are undertaken on a regular basis to ensure standards are maintained, and resources are made available to BWF members through its Joinery Business Toolkit and specialist help lines with access to experts on technical, HR, legal, legislation, tax and compliance matters.

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