I firstly hope that you are all keeping safe and are getting through the last bits of such a rollercoaster of a year. I think we can all agree 2020 was a bit of a car crash. With a global pandemic, extreme social and political unrest, the continuing climate crisis and battered economies I sincerely hope that 2021 will bring the light at the end of the tunnel I think we all so desperately need.
I thought it was right, as Managing Director of Project Fire, to thank you for your support over the last year. Despite COVID lockdowns and restrictions, Project Fire was able to remain open and traded throughout the entire year. We can’t thank our distributors and customers across our markets enough for supporting us during a time that has been very tough for many businesses.
On a brighter note. We were delighted to introduce several new team members, both in manufacturing and the design offices. Since we’ve grown as a company we’ve been able to concentrate even more on doing what we love best – innovating and thinking up new ideas to keep buildings safe from fire. So far this year we’ve designed a new key-switch and pump and have come up with new manufacturing processes designed to improve product quality. We’ve also filed new patents and have some exciting developments coming in the new year (that we can’t quite shout about yet).
We are happy to say that so far, none of our team has tested positive or had to isolate and we have been able to manufacture and deliver according to demand. We adapted our warehouse and working conditions to be able to trade safely and in line with the UK’s COVID restrictions. We minimised physical contact with split shifts and (very) late night working to which I’m incredibly grateful of my staff for, all while delivering the same quality standards that we have always strictly adhered to. In the offices for example, we adopted a ‘one in one out’ door policy which sometimes resulted in a few awkward shuffles! That being said, taking advantage of the reduced traffic around the site we decided to carry out a refurb, including a new canteen for our team and a modern business lounge area to welcome our customers back in 2021.
It has also been a year of video meeting fails, I’m sure many of you have heard “can you see me, can you hear me now, I think you’re on mute!?”, over the last 9 months. However, with more and more people adopting this technology we have now brought all of our CPDs and courses online, discovering the possibilities of cloud-based learning and reaching a wider global audience. Our CPDs and Sprinkler talk, in particular, saw a huge increase in numbers and we’re looking to expand our educational arm even further in 2021. Our creative team is also working on a new e-commerce platform to streamline ordering and provide an even better service for our customers.
Reflecting on the year, for many of us our aspirations and goals got put to one side but working in the fire protection industry our shared higher purpose has always been to keep people safe. One of my highlights was seeing Project Fire help with the early opening of the Grange Hospital so they could provide much needed COVID beds in Spring. On this occasion I thought it was great to see our products are not only helping to keep buildings safe, but also playing a part in projects that directly contribute to saving lives. I’m looking forward to future projects in 2021 where we can have such a direct impact in local communities.
Finally, although this year hasn’t been easy, I do think businesses have shown how resilient they can be in the face of unprecedented global upheaval. I am cautiously optimistic about the year to come and think that we are now much more prepared as a business community and a global community after 2020. I hope sincerely that the 1st of January marks a new tone for both health and business. In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful festive season and a happy New Year.
All the best,