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How can ironmongery keep clients happy, businesses productive and profitable?

Contractors, maintenance companies, installers, door manufacturers and specifiers can do more than you think in keeping their clients happy!

The palm of a hand holds 2 pointy silver nails
"For want of a nail the shoe was lost"

How can this be true? After all it’s just about door handles – right?


I’m sure you’ve heard the following famous proverb:

‘For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail’

This proverb dates to the 13th Century and has many versions. All describe a situation where a failure to address what seems a minor issue escalates and multiplies into a major problem. Ironmongery is a bit like that, as many have learned over the years.

Every year vast sums are lost in businesses across the country due to sickness absences leave and the accompanying loss of productivity. This is not to mention the pressure on staff and management.

It is estimated that in 2021 the cost of absences due to sickness in the UK was £20.6bn.

‘For small businesses and SMEs sickness can be a huge issue, and with businesses already struggling, the cost to them in additional sick days is likely to cause more stress by further stretching budgets during a time where the costs of running a business are already significantly higher for many than they were last year.’
John Atkinson, Head of Commercial Business at Novuna Business Cash Flow

Some of this was due to COVID-19, but the figures for previous years are still huge; in 2010 it was at a similar absence rate level of 2.2%. Even the fittest and healthiest under 50-year-olds are susceptible–those least at risk from infectious diseases such as seasonal influenza and bad colds. It is sensible of course for people to avoid infecting others wherever possible. But many ‘soldier on’ and come to work sneezing and coughing. Research shows that in 40–90% cases, adults infected with rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold) have it on their hands.

And herein lies the problem. Infection such as influenza and rhinoviruses to a greater or lesser extent are transmitted through Fomites – any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents (such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or fungi), can transfer disease to a new host. (Also, other highly unpleasant examples such as hand-foot-mouth disease, cold sores and – sorry about this – diarrhoea).

A Mintel survey found that only 72% of males aged 16-34 think it’s important to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose, compared to 85% of Brits aged 55 and over.

(Another uncomfortable finding is that whilst almost all (98%) of Brits aged 55 and over believe washing hands after using the toilet is important, this figure falls just 85% of men aged 16-34).

Many in the younger demographics tend to take these things in their stride. But the same cannot be said for the older people and those with other health challenges and have less resistance to opportunistic infections. And besides it is still unpleasant and even miserable. The human and monetary cost is considerable.

A woman sitting at a desk in an office sneezes into a tissue. A man sitting at a desk behind looks on with a concerned face.
A survey found that only 72% of males aged 16-34 think it's important to wash their hands after blowing their nose.

So, what about the horseshoe nail? All it takes is for a bug to be passed on to enough staff to start a snowball effect – a business meeting cancelled, an opportunity missed, a bid lost, fall in revenue and profit, layoffs and even business closures. It sounds dramatic but it happens.

But there is a simple, low-cost solution to the problem.

It is the areas we touch the most that can harbour pathogenic organisms due to lack of hygiene and prevent diseases spread. And that includes those door handles.

Playing your part: Antimicrobial Ironmongery for better business!

Harmful microbes can remain active and replicate on the surfaces of common touch points in public buildings. This includes items such as door handles, push plates, WC indicating bolts, and washroom fittings. When specifying these items for projects in high traffic spaces such as offices, hospitals, and schools, there is a need for a more hygienic approach ­– to reduce opportunities for bacterial growth.

Research has shown that SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 remains active on door handles and furniture for more than 72 hours. Many other microbes including E. coli and the MRSA superbug can survive for many hours, days and in some cases even weeks on non-porous surfaces.

Antimicrobial Ironmongery is proven to inhibit the growth of most types of harmful bacteria, including E. coli and MRSA, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, on the treated surfaces of these touch points. The inbuilt surface protection works 24/7 and is effective for the lifetime of the product.

This means that users of your building, whether that be staff, visitors, or other members of the public, can benefit from a more hygienic environment.

Reducing the spread of seasonal viruses, as well as more serious infections, should be a priority – but often gets dismissed because it is assumed to be more expensive (which you’d be surprised to hear is not necessarily the case).

As professionals, we should carefully consider our clients and advise them of the risks.

Make this simple change in your new project, or when you next refurbish or refit your offices/workplace.

It’ll be the best investment your client could make in the long run, and you will be considered wise and thoughtful. The person who had a horseshoe nail in their pocket for just this occasion.

And who knows – you might even have saved their business – all for the supply of an antimicrobial door handle.

Think about it…


Poole Waite’s Self-Sanitising Antimicrobial Ironmongery Range, proven to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, E. coli, MRSA, and many more harmful bacteria, offers a solution to those who wish to create more hygienic working and living environments.

Performance testing

Products from our Self-Sanitising Antimicrobial Ironmongery Range have been independently tested for efficacy against SARS-CoV-2.

  • The test results show a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of >80% after 2 hours when compared to a stainless steel control, when tested to ISO 21702:2019.

This shows our protective coating pro-actively inhibits the growth of SARS-CoV-2 on the treated surface of our ironmongery, making these products more hygienic.

We have had our Matt Black, Matt White and Clear Coat powder coated products independently tested on their antimicrobial performance. Tests for contact times of both 10 minutes and 2 hours were conducted at an ambient temperature (20⁰C – 22⁰C), using MRSA and E. coli bacteria.

  • For MRSA, a reduction of >99.99% was achieved within 10 minutes on all types of plate. This reduction was not increased after 2 hours.

  • For E. coli, a reduction of >99.999% was achieved within 10 minutes on all types of plate. There was no recovery after 2 hours.

The report concluded that the antimicrobial technology will almost entirely reduce the microbial load of most, if not all, bacteria on treated surfaces within a short time of contact.

Poole Waite & Co Ltd is now the only architectural ironmonger in the UK to offer a complete ironmongery range with proven efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

View the range on our website


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