ILC ARTICLE

Industry Leader interview with Neil Atherton – Sales and Marketing Director, Autoglass


  1. What are the challenges are facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?

The last 16 months has thrown many challenges at businesses which we’ve faced head on and adapted our ways of working to ensure business continuity.  The latest challenge we, like many others, are up against is the ‘pingdemic’.  Currently Cases of Covid and the number colleagues required to self-isolate due to being ‘pinged’ are increasing in Autoglass®, with absence for our technician population and across the company currently running a lot higher than normal.  Whilst this represents another new challenge that we have had to face this year, we are building these higher absence rates into our planning parameters and monitoring hot spots across the business in order to ensure that we are able continue to provide the great level of service that our customers are used to. 

We’re also gearing ourselves up for what is set to be a very busy next six months from a business perspective both in terms of additional demand as the country unlocks, as well as us finalising our new ways of working for colleagues, all of whom have differing desires from a work perspective.  We will obviously need to take these desires into consideration when returning to our office in a new hybrid model style of working.

  1. What has been your biggest business learning from the coronavirus pandemic?

There’s been a lot of learnings taken from this pandemic but I think my biggest learning has to be how agile we have been as a business and how quickly, effectively and efficiently we have been able to flex in order to meet the changing landscape presented to us by Covid. 

  1. As we go to a “new normal” what are you looking forward to returning to and practices will you keep?

What I am really looking forward to is the human interaction part of life returning; having those face to face meetings and seeing people in person again.  That said, it is inevitable that we will end up with a much more balanced split between working from home and having interaction in an office environment. 

We had to be agile and decisive when the pandemic hit, we emptied our offices and introduced many new safety measures very quickly and I’m keen to see us maintain the decisiveness and flexibility that we have demonstrated exists within our locker. 

  1. If you could go back to the beginning of 2020, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?

To look at everything with an open mind.  The events that have unfolded since March have really shown us that anything is possible and that we need to have an open mind in addressing the future.  Despite the tough times that we have had throughout 2020, every crisis presents an opportunity and our opportunity in this regard is to evaluate how we work and to make positive changes. 

  1. What would be your prediction for the industry in 2021?

It’s been a difficult start to 2021, heading into a lockdown straight away meant the year didn’t start as any of us expected that it would.  However, things are now returning to ‘normal’ and we’re all positive about what the remainder of the year will bring.  I believe we’re going to have a really busy summer with lots of staycations taking place.  Recent research that we carried out showed that 85% of drivers are planning to explore the UK’s homegrown attractions. After the summer break, well I think its anyone’s guess as to what the remainder of the year has in store, but needless to say we’ll be ready for whatever comes our way.

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