Fit for today…
ahead of the game for tomorrow
04 November 2020
Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Jay, reflects on how Anderson has coped and adapted to the COVID-19 crisis, and talks up the measures that have been put in place to secure the company’s future.
I remember seeing a cartoon in a newspaper recently in which a man was lamenting to his wife, ‘Sometimes I wish we could go back to living in precedented times.’ It made me laugh, but also made me think. The only certainty of the past four years has been uncertainty, with all existing concerns amplified by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
It is though, in times like this, that strength and resilience come to the fore – and I have been privileged, but frankly not surprised, to have witnessed this first hand.
It’s not been lost on me that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for our staff; with temporary salary reductions and the cancellation of our annual bonus scheme all necessary to ensure the future of the company. It hit us hard, but our collective efforts to get through have been bolstered by morale growing ever stronger, a shared sense of pride in what we do and an ongoing commitment to the communities in which we operate.
I want to thank all of our staff, partners and clients for getting behind the decisions we’ve made and the changes we’ve initiated over the past six months. From setting up and monitoring our two COVID-19 test sites at Erith Quarry and Faversham Lakes, to the reinduction of every single staff member and contractor, everyone has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that everybody feels safe and confident returning to work.
We’ve certainly had to be creative in finding solutions. One example that springs to mind is the necessary redesign of all patio spaces. Where before, we used 900 by 600 paving slabs, which required a two man lift, we had to quickly rethink the spaces to work with smaller slabs to adhere to the 1m+ social distancing rules.
Elsewhere, in our head office, we invested over £100,000 in new paperless systems to drastically reduce the need for physical contact – and we’re in the process of establishing a desk booking and cleaning scheme, which will ensure all workstations are made safe after every use.
During this recent period, some tough decisions had to made. Subsequently, a small number of our colleagues and friends are no longer with the company. Understandably, when a large company with an annual turnover in excess of £100m sees its income halved overnight, overheads have to be carefully examined. Prudent cash management processes have always been in place, and with the fast implementation of the Government’s furlough, these losses were kept to a minimum.
Workflows still continue to be disrupted, owing to difficulties in our supply chain. But as with everything else during this period, the experience and ingenuity of our people, means we keep on keeping on.
Adapting to new working environment
I recently had the pleasure of visiting our Chilton Place site near Sudbury, Suffolk, and met with many of our people on the ground. It was incredibly heart-warming to hear how keen staff members were to get back to work and how they’ve embraced the new environment. But please don’t take my word for it. Watch the video below and hear it from the source.
Finally, I want to reassure everyone that, as a company, Anderson is primed and prepared to weather this storm and those to come. In its 33 years, Anderson has faced numerous periods of uncertainty. However, through brutal financial crashes, political turbulence and now a pandemic, we continue to learn, adapt and grow.
Since even before the financial downturn of 2008, our Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Short, and I have regularly modelled scenarios that could adversely affect the business. Through this pre-emptive work, we’ve built robust contingency plans that can, and have been, put into place in a moment’s notice. No one could have predicted the COVID-19 crisis but – through preparation, experience and instinct – we immediately knew what we had to do and how we had to do it.
Again, I’d like to personally thank our staff, partners, clients and customers for the rigour and resilience they’ve showed throughout the past six months. If the latest news of new lockdown restrictions is anything to go by, we’re not through this yet. However, the actions we’ve collectively taken throughout this crisis have so far, without doubt, secured the company’s future – meaning, we at Anderson remain ever resourced, conscious and capable.
Yours as always,
Chief Executive Officer