If anyone would have told you back in 2019 that the 2020s would come roaring in with a global pandemic, nationwide lockdowns and an economic crash, you’d have been forgiven for labelling them a doom-monger. The past 12 months have certainly been topsy turvy with all businesses facing major challenges. And we’re not out of the woods just yet.
However, what turbulence and challenges do is test your weak points, which can often lead to greater business resilience and strength, and like many organisations, CHH CoNeX was forced to pivot in order to keep our business running. Now, as we begin to see the light with news of vaccine rollouts, it seems a good time to start looking to the future, but to do that, we first need to acknowledge some of the achievements that got us through 2020.
We’ve listed some of ours below:
Protecting key workers
At the height of the UK’s first lockdown, national PPE shortages were hitting the headlines almost every day. CHH CoNeX was able to support field service engineers through our strong supply chain, providing hundreds of thousands of facemasks and hand sanitiser bottles to field service engineers across the UK. In addition to protecting our own small team of engineers, the equipment was also issued to other businesses involved in the supply, installation and maintenance of telecommunications networks, in addition to key workers in telecommunications, warehousing, kitting, marshalling, logistics and final mile delivery.
Reaching dizzy heights
Getting on the radar of global OEMs is an achievement for any SME and something that takes a lot of hard work, persistence and dedication. That’s why one of the most positive experiences of 2020 was receiving approved supplier status from Siemens after a long and detailed process. This is a major part of our long-term strategy to grow our presence in the rail sector – an industry that offers several opportunities for our rack and cabinet integration capabilities.
A breath of fresh air
Throughout 30 years in business CHH CoNeX has believed strongly in the power of partnership and collaboration. This year, Medilink Midlands got in touch with us to see if we could help with the manufacture and assembly of a proven medtech solution, which then led to us forming a commercial partnership with Pathogen Solutions for the electronics assembly of their innovative Medixair product. Medixair is a portable air sterilisation solution that has been tested and proven to eliminate airborne viruses and bacteria as part of effective infection control regimes. It plays a key role in reducing the airborne spread of Coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses when used in indoor environments. The partnership is proof of the opportunities that challenges can bring to businesses and we are already experiencing international demand for the solution.
Getting on the Government’s radar
Like most businesses, CHH CoNeX had to utilise Government support this year in order to keep the business stable. We had to take advantage of the Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay and VAT deferral to protect the business during the disruption caused by Coronavirus. We have never been ashamed to utilise support when we need it and by sharing our story, we quickly gained the attention of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They filmed a video of our team and an interview with Tim Hughes, our MD, who spoke about how valuable the support was to the business. You can view their report here.
There’s no doubt that the entry to this century’s twenties got off to roaring start. We’ve always said we like a challenge, but none of us could have foreseen the roller-coaster ride that was 2020. And although many predict that we’re going to face significant challenges for years to come, we mustn’t forget that there are also opportunities. We’re grateful that we are one of the businesses that has been able pivot and we count our blessings that we are ending this topsy turvy year in a relatively strong position.
As we look ahead to what the rest of the decade will bring, we remain confident that through our people, partners and leadership, CHH CoNeX is resilient enough to face whatever the rest of the twenties has in store for us.