When Coronavirus first hit us, we, like many businesses, went into a sort of confused toxic shock. How? What? Although we had heard the news from the far east it still seemed to come as a bit of a shock that here we were, in the advanced, digital, science led age of 2020, being cowed by something so small that we couldn’t even see it. It was quite humbling for us as a species really.
It took a while for our corporate compass to settle. As we are fortunate to have a B2C business as well as B2B, we were continuing to receive orders from many sources, no doubt some who were furloughed. With most normal social avenues a bit scrambled, it appeared that quite a few decided to take the opportunity to finally get around to long deferred home jobs and projects.
We found that online demand for railway track and ancillary equipment saw a tick upwards, maybe a few engineers in waiting had decided to use this time to fulfil that dream of building their own garden railway, whilst others would be carrying out essential maintenance or adding to existing projects. There is always something for a model railway engineer to do.
Demand for our Wedge Whiteboard which is an ideal tool for home schooling also saw a bit of a boost as Moms and Pops turned their hand to teaching and looked for ways to entertain and educate the kids at home. Now that businesses are starting to awaken from the sleep of lockdown, you could plot your progress on one of our whiteboards and keep your team clearly updated on your progress. What gets measured gets done, as my old mentor used to say.
In the early uncertainty we did furlough a significant proportion of the team, initially keeping just half a dozen colleagues on site and one working remotely. Our social media channels came of age, as they did for many, as normal modes of person to person communications were interrupted. Online orders continued to flow and after a short sharp shock we found that demand for moulded parts started to pick up as client stock levels started to deplete and new customers came looking for UK based manufacturers.
We brought more colleagues back from furlough, we now have over 50% of the team back and whilst we can’t say that things are “back to normal”, we may never say that, we do feel that the seismic shock of the initial lockdown period has now started to settle.
Social distancing, well, I suppose it is really “operational distancing” in the workplace, is something that we have all had to get used to. Each colleague has a “cleaning kit” which they must keep with them and wipe down any surfaces they touch and sanitise their hands frequently. Keeping a safe distance seems to be working OK, albeit it can get a bit compressed at the queue for the drinks machine if we do not stay alert to it. It is things such as this, flexible working patterns and home working, that we will all have to become accustomed. There may well be other changes that we need to make if we wish to bring other colleagues back from home working. Or perhaps home working for some is the way forward?
At least we feel we can see our way to adapt and navigate what seemed to be a catastrophic interruption to our activities, which is an incredibly positive outlook, given where we were at the beginning of March. We are about to have our first e-conference call, bringing together colleagues still working at home with those that are back on-site.
And many others are adapting and innovating their way back to full production or creating new start-ups. How many companies and entrepreneurs are now producing face masks (you can now get them in almost any design and colour), face shields, vodka distillery produced hand sanitisers etc etc? It really is adapt and survive, possible even prosper, for some and these, hopefully, will create the jobs lost in areas that have been found to no longer be viable due to consequences of Coronavirus.
If we can help with getting you back up and running, maybe you are looking to repatriate plastic injection moulding projects back to the UK, reviewing your existing supply chain or even have an idea for a new product that requires precision moulded plastic components, we would really welcome the chance to demonstrate how our 90 years combined UK injection moulding experience and proven resilience can work for you. Please do get in touch. 01453 833388.
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