Keep On Keeping On…Staying Safe, Staying Open, Staying Successful
As we pass the 6 month marker since lockdown was imposed, we feel drawn to reflect on our journey as a company and more importantly, as individuals that make our company a whole.
There is probably not a business standing that can say these haven’t been challenging times. Even those that, like us, have found new opportunities throughout the pandemic, wouldn’t be entirely truthful if they said they hadn’t at times felt overwhelmed.
From having to find new ways of working, adopting and adapting to new technology and running a manufacturing plant – which for obvious reasons cannot operate unless people are physically in the building – the past 6 months has not been without its challenges.
Health and safety in the workplace is a significant responsibility in normal trading times; throw a highly contagious and potentially dangerous virus into the mix and those responsible for it will tell you that implementing new working guidelines practically overnight, whilst considering longer term implications, is testing for even the most experienced professional.
Six months ago, when we started to introduce new ways of working, we had to just get on and do it. But half a year of practicing these new procedures, which includes moving to 3 shifts to allow social distancing on the factory floor, working from home for office based employees, and considerable investment in screens, hand wash, PPE, safety signage and new office layouts, we have been able to pause to take stock. Of course, we never stop learning, reviewing, reminding and implementing changes if we think things can be improved, but today, as we await with baited breath the new restrictions that may be imposed ahead of a second peak, we stopped to feel what the impact of these 6 months has been.
On top of the physical implementation of new rules, we cannot overlook the impact of such rules on our teams’ mental health, on both those who have administered the rules and taken on that responsibility for so many employees, and those carrying them out on a day-to-day basis, in a bid to keep working and keep the business prospering. In the early days there was definitely a feeling of adrenalin and newness that powered us through, but as the months have ticked by, with very little in our personal lives to mark the time, it has without doubt started to take its toll. Those who come in can get tired and frustrated at the impersonality of distance. Those working from home start to feel isolated as the days get shorter and the opportunities to be outside reduce. We are under no illusion; as human beings it goes against what we naturally want to do and yet we are so rewarded to see that our teams continue to do this, to keep our business operational.
We feel really fortunate to be able to say that at Airedale, it has been team work at its best. New rules, new instructions, new technology and new shift patterns are all great on paper, but the success of their implementation comes down to each and every individual employee. To continue our success as a business, we have to stay open… and to stay open, we have to stay safe.
In globally difficult trading times it feels wrong to shout about how well we are doing as a business. We know many aren’t and we know many people are struggling. However, we also want our customers to know they can continue to rely on us. Bucking the trend of the pandemic, we have seen demand for our products soar. As the leading UK manufacturer of air conditioning products, we have been the go-to brand, particularly for Data Centres for which precision cooling is critical. With more people continuing to work from home, the growth of the data centre industry will continue, meaning prosperous times for cooling solution suppliers such as Airedale.
Being a British manufacturer has been important for many of our clients, especially in recent times when they are looking for quality and reliable products. With our onsite state-of-art research and development laboratories and extensive manufacturing facilities, our ability to deliver quality and durability has increasingly been in demand, so much so that we are now considering expanding into new production facilities. We have plans to recruit over the next 6 months in line with this, as Airedale International continues its work across the UK and across the world.
Having received our largest ever single order in the height of the pandemic from a Frankfurt based Data Centre, we can confidently say that this is testament to the skill, expertise and extensive knowledge of our team. £10m orders don’t come in without diligence and dedication to our clients. Reliable, durable, yet dynamic and innovative, Airedale International has a proud tradition of delivering ground breaking products that last. It might not be the sexiest advertising strapline, but in times of trouble we are the ones our clients turn to, because we deliver.
Six months ago we wrote a blog as we anticipated our journey throughout this pandemic and in it we predicted it would be our people that get us through. Now forecasting strong growth for this financial year, on top of 23% growth last year, we continue to recognise the strength of our individuals, the relationships they have with their clients, their extensive product and industry knowledge and their ability to uphold Airedale’s esteemed reputation for quality and reliability in what is proving to be for many, one of the world’s most difficult trading times ever.