For the Team at Rivertrace and myself, 2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. Like most people in all nations and all industries, we have experienced unprecedented changes in the way we live and work.
On a personal note, we lost one of our great friends Steve Parks from Wake Media. He will always be fondly remembered.
As a company, we have built a business based on long term relationships with key Customers, Agents, OEMs and Suppliers across the globe. Our sales team are used to visiting all parts of the world on an on-going basis to service these relationships and grow our business. The advent of COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions and lockdowns not only in the UK but across all nations put a stop to our traditional method of selling.
We were forced to adapt if only to keep up with the ever-changing advice of the British government. As a manufacturing company, it is vital that we keep production going. That was put at risk by the impact of COVID-19 on members of our staff and their families. However, we made some changes and met the challenge head-on. We put in place new ways of working. We had production staff working from their sheds, the Production Manager and I were distributing work order picks and collecting assembled parts, our MD, Mike Coomber and his family came into the workshop to help building and calibration. We restructured our space to ensure safe distance and accommodated staff working from home. The level of commitment from the Team at Rivertrace was incredible. However, it wasn’t just our staff who rose to the challenge. We kept getting deliveries from Suppliers, we kept getting sales from our fantastic network of Agents and Customers and we even managed to attend several service visits (safety protocols and restrictions observed and mitigated).
What did we learn? If I look at the numbers, we managed to build more and sell more year on year. A brilliant achievement, given the constraints. Equally as importantly, we managed to keep people safe. This was evidenced by a successful site audit by HSE late on in the year.
We also learnt that there are alternative ways of working. We adopted the use of Teams as a primary source of communication. We even did virtual customer Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs). We utilised technology and implemented cloud-based systems both for internal use and for our customers. We continued to develop new products and services. In short, we fast-tracked our digital transformation road map.
However, this post isn’t about a self-centred celebration. 2020 was a tragic year in many ways. We wanted to thank everyone associated with Rivertrace for their help through these challenging times.
From all of us at Rivertrace, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to working with you all in 2021 and beyond.