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Glazerite Group resists massive ransomware cyber attack

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Minimal Disruption to Business as Protection Strategies Kick In

With some of the World’s largest organisations facing cyber attacks with many being severely disrupted, Wellingborough window and door manufacturer Glazerite has been the victim of the same virus that severely disrupted the NHS and TNT this year. However, despite every one of the business’s servers being hit Glazerite was fully operational again within just 27 hours, with disruption kept to a minimum thanks to the robust systems put in place to deal with such a risk.

On a Monday evening in early September Glazerite’s servers were attacked by the virus that has wreaked havoc in organisations throughout the world, with the perpetrators demanding a ransom to release the company’s systems from their grip. As a business that is heavily reliant on an IT infrastructure that connects every process within Glazerite’s four regional centres, the potential for disruption was immense.

However, the company’s robust systems and advanced back up and disaster recovery procedures that had been installed in anticipation of such a threat, coupled with round the clock work from the company’s staff and IT support company, Glazerite was fully operational again within 27 hours. Disruption to customers was minimal with one, David Thornton of The Window Company (Contracts) Ltd vowing to use Glazerite’s systems as a model for protecting his own firm.

Glazerite UK Group Ltd director John Hewitt said he was delighted – and relieved – that the company’s systems had proved so robust: “We test all of our systems exhaustively, whether it’s new fabrication lines or logistics systems. And now the effort and investment we put into protecting our IT network has proved to be worth every penny and minute that we put into it, with relatively little impact on our business. Not bad going for an SME employing around 250 people nationwide, when global corporations have taken weeks if not months to recover. “That such threats have become part of the day-to-day world of running a business is incredible and a sad sign of our time” added John. “According to one major survey, 48% of the companies that took part had been hit by at least one attack in the previous 12 months. Our experience proves that it can happen to any organisation – I urge everyone to take every step possible to protect their IT systems.”

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Glazerite's attendance scheme pays off
An employee attendance scheme run by The Glazerite UK Group Ltd is paying dividends for both staff and the business. Launched in 2016, the scheme is open to every Glazerite employee, including new starters, as part of the group’s wider package of employee benefits. Aimed at improving attendance by giving staff the opportunity to earn rewards, the scheme has been well received by workers across the fabricator’s four sites. It has already made its mark on attendance figures, with an overall improvement of 52 per cent for the period 2016-2018. Sue Wellings, Group HR Manager, explains: “We’ve structured it so it’s a realistic and achievable scheme for everyone. It works by awarding a bonus to those with full attendance over a four-month period. Employees who manage a full year’s attendance are given a Silver certificate and, as an extra incentive, an additional day’s holiday for the following holiday year. For two years’ full attendance, a Gold award is given and for three years’ full attendance, employees are recognised with a Platinum award certificate and a further gift from the company, in the form of a Red Letter Day experience. “Managing staff attendance and absenteeism is a key objective for every HR department as it has such an impact on staff morale and company success. For Glazerite, having an engaged team also impacts our wide installer base, as it means we can continue to fabricate quality products, make on time deliveries, and ensure consistent and excellent customer service.” In 2018, 85 employees - around one third of the total Glazerite workforce - achieved full attendance for the year. Of those, 33 had had full attendance for three years in a row; over half of whom were employees working in roles across the shop floor and the vehicle fleet. Rich Day, Transport Manager at Glazerite’s Wellingborough site, was recently awarded a Platinum certificate in recognition of three years’ full attendance. He says: “It’s a great feeling to be rewarded with a bonus every few months and it was a real surprise to receive the Red Letter Day voucher. I’m hoping to use mine on a trip to London so I can take my daughter to see a show.” He adds: “I’ve not had a day off sick in my 10 years here but this scheme is a great motivator for me and my colleagues.” Jason Thompson, Glazerite’s Group Managing Director says: “The scheme has boosted morale, and our attendance figures have improved significantly as a result. Recruiting in the industry has its difficulties, so we’re always looking at ways to enhance the package we offer our employees and to attract the right calibre of staff.”
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Leading fabricator Glazerite highlights importance of apprenticeships
In recognition of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 4th to 8th March 2019, The Glazerite UK Group Ltd has turned the spotlight on two of its own team; an up and coming apprentice, and an employee who was a trainee when the original scheme was launched 25 years ago. National Apprenticeship Week is designed to show what a positive impact apprenticeships can have on those individuals undertaking it, as well as their employers and the wider economy. Jason Thompson, Group Managing Director of Glazerite, says: “By sharing the stories of our own apprentices, we hope we can raise awareness of the importance of the scheme, especially among those young adults who may be about to leave education and are looking for a route into work.” Laura Rorke is one such Glazerite apprentice who is using the scheme as a springboard for her career. Having completed a Sociology degree, Laura joined the fabricator in 2017 as a Human Resources apprentice carrying out the customer services NVQ Level 2. Two years on, she’s studying for a professional HR qualification through the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). Laura says: “Being taken on as an apprentice by Glazerite meant I was able to gain valuable insight from working in an office environment. I found it a brilliant way to get me settled into my career, continuing my studies while being supported and guided by my manager. I’ve been lucky enough to work within the HR department which I love as I enjoy helping people and get real job satisfaction from my work. “The great thing about the current apprenticeship scheme is that I’m able to study for a Level 5 professional qualification - the equivalent of a degree - and work on the job at the same time, something I wouldn’t be able to do if I’d done a masters in HR at University. “Working for an SME means the range of work I am involved in is also far broader than it may be at a larger corporate, where they tend to specialise on specific areas. Though it’s early days with my CIPD and it will take a great deal of commitment, the support from my manager has already been invaluable. I am really excited about building my knowledge and being able to apply it here at Glazerite, dealing with more sensitive situations and providing others with support.” In addition to Laura, Glazerite has a number of current and former apprentices among its 270-strong workforce, including Group Marketing Manager, Michelle Wright. Michelle was part of the first intake of the original apprenticeship scheme in 1994 and says that though the way the current scheme is delivered is a world away from her own apprenticeship, the fundamentals are still the same. She explains: “When I was leaving school, modern apprenticeships were just being introduced. I knew I didn’t want to go to university and the appeal of earning and learning while gaining some real and relevant experience was a real draw. “My first apprentice role was in an electrical components company in a team of only 20 people, which gave me the perfect foundation on which to build my subsequent career. As part of my apprenticeship, I completed NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration and Level 4 in Customer Services, alongside typing qualifications – we used typewriters in those days! “One of the most important things my apprenticeship gave me was an appetite for lifelong learning. I’ve since gone on to complete qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an HND in Graphic Design, and have worked in B2B marketing communications roles in both global corporates and SMEs. I can truly say that it was my apprenticeship which gave me the foundation for the career I’m in today.” Michelle admits the current crop of apprentices makes her feel ‘really old’, especially the way their course learning is delivered. She explains: “When I started out in the world of work we were using floppy discs and were heavily reliant on faxes. The only mobile phones you saw were the bricks carried around by the sales team and I was sent on weekly day-release to the local college. “The internet and business emails were in their infancy, and yet today’s apprentices like Laura makes use of an online portal to study, with a few face-to-face workshops throughout the year. It’s definitely light years ahead and makes the delivery of assignments much easier. The fact you can complete a professional qualification from a recognised body like the CIPD as part of an apprenticeship really takes the scheme to another level. The core values, on-the-job learning and what you get out of an apprenticeship are still the same however; it’s a valuable and effective way to start your working life.” Jason adds: “Seeing our apprentices develop is really rewarding. People like Laura and Michelle are real assets for us and for our installers, as they are able to not only provide us with marketing and HR advice and services, but extend those to our installer base who need the help too. We are always on the lookout for hardworking, proactive and diligent people who are passionate about what they do and we’re delighted to be able to offer apprenticeships across our sites in a variety of functions.” For more information on careers with Glazerite, visit www.glazeritewindows.co.uk/trade/company/job-opportunities
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Glazerite strengthens senior management team
The Glazerite UK Group Ltd has strengthened its senior management team with three new appointments and an internal promotion. The operations and technical-focused positions will allow the fabricator to further improve service levels across its three largest sites. Mark Towers joined Glazerite on 7th January 2019 as Bolton-based North West Division General Manager/ Director Designate. With over 25 years’ industry experience, Mark has worked to improve the output of a number of manufacturing operations, ranging from composite doors to glazing, and has also held senior positions at ODL Europe Limited, HansenGlass Processing, and HM Doors. Mark says: “It’s an exciting time to join Glazerite. I’m very much looking forward to working with the team at the Bolton site going forward, with an initial focus to continue improving standards at the site and carry out the investment and extension programme planned for this year.” Taking up the position of Group Operations Manager is Andrew Worroll, who will report directly into Group Operations Director, Ian Lloyd. He has over 20 years’ experience in operations, production and supply chain, and will focus mainly on Glazerite’s Wellingborough sites, in order to free up more of Ian’s time to focus on the Group Operations strategy. In December 2018, Glazerite also welcomed Mitchell Gooch, who took on the role of Group Technical and Processing Support Manager at the fabricator’s Peterborough site. Mitchell, who has previously worked in technical roles at SGM Windows Manufacturing Ltd, won the prestigious Apprentice of the Year G12 award while at Pioneer Trading Company Ltd. In addition to these key appointments, which form part of Glazerite’s strategy to better serve its growing base of installers, the fabricator has also announced that Chris Price is joining the board of Directors as Group Procurement Director. Chris will focus on further improving the product development programme and procurement process across the group going forward. Jason Thompson, Glazerite Director, says: “2018 was a challenging year for us and the industry as a whole. Despite this, we’ve increased our products and services portfolio, and strengthened our sales and marketing team with specialist expertise in areas like digital marketing. We have been stretched in some areas, which highlighted the need to further strengthen our senior management team. Now, with Mark, Andrew and Mitchell in place, we’re in the best possible position to go forward and achieve our plans for growth in 2019 and beyond. Combined with recent and planned future investment, we’re well-placed to serve our growing installer base and help them to become best-in-class.” (Above image from left to right, Andrew Worroll, Mitchell Gooch, Mark Towers)
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The Glazerite UK Group Ltd manufacture and supply uPVC Windows, Doors and Conservatories to trade customers from sites in the Midlands, Northwest, East and Southwest.

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