David, and colleague Andy Taylor, were immediately impressed by the huge scale of the operation. No less than 400 employees and a fleet of 100 vehicles are based at this facility that handles production and assembly as well as storage and delivery.

The company also owns two sawmills in Scotland and Wales, from where timber is sent either plain to be turned into fence panels, or as component parts pre-cut to size which are then assembled in Kidderminster into panels for various products. Alternatively, some smaller products are brought in ready assembled.

Extensive product range

On being shown around, the visitors were left with no doubt that Forest are one of the UK's biggest manufacturers of structures such as garden sheds, workshops, arbours, log cabins and summerhouses. Their collection of fencing panels, trellis and gates are second to none and other products range from decking to raised beds.

When a customer buys these products through GardenSite, they are picked and moved from storage to the loading/transport area ready to be sent out to locations all over the UK. Unsurprisingly this is an extremely busy area where teamwork and efficient logistics are all important.

David and Andy also visited the extensive showroom, one of the largest at any manufacturer in this country. Here, if any confirmation was required, it was clearly apparent that if a garden product is made from timber, then it is more than likely to be supplied by Forest.

Looking to the future

As for the future, Forest are preparing for a busy winter, stocking up on fencing panels in case replacements are required to repair any significant storm damage and they are already planning ahead for the spring when products such as raised beds and cold frames will be in demand.

To improve customer service, it's always important to gain an insight into how our suppliers operate, understanding the processes involved in transforming basic materials into the finished product that we offer on GardenSite. In this respect, our day visiting Forest's HQ proved very informative, and we wish to thank our hosts for their hospitality.