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How Kirkstall’s united team made the best out of a 2020 we all never expected

Our Operations Director, Iqbal Bahai, first heard the word ‘Coronavirus’ just after having Christmas dinner with his family. Returning to work in the new year the key global focus points for the business were set in our 2020 business plan, these included things such as the impact of Brexit and the Introduction Medical Device Regulations.

January to March the order book was on budget and it was full steam ahead, then on February 11th the WHO first registered the word Covid-19, this turned everything on its head over night. Then within 4 weeks by March 22nd the UK was in lock down, and like a flick of a switch the market for medical instruments and orthopaedic was turned off due to global cancelations of elective surgeries.

This wasn’t like any previous recession.

In our lifetime we’ve never seen anything before that effectively turned the economy off, and we suspect that most senior directors and managers in any company in any sector will have never experienced this in their working careers.

However, the leadership here at Kirkstall Precision Engineering, led by our MD Adam Thornton and our Operations Director Iqbal, have a positive attitude approach and our robust business plan (built around the old saying of “Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail”,) and cashflow forecast drawn up by 1st week in March looking and planning for worst case scenarios meant we had a strong base.

A team united behind a common goal.

Our immediate business reviews with customers on the business impact to them and us revealed some useful insights and like many other businesses we reached out for a number of Government supported initiatives to ensure the people here at Kirkstall felt reassured and secured.

The proudest part of 2020 for us all here at Kirkstall was how our people got behind our drive to help save lives. We implemented a Covid safe environment and quickly adapted our business psychology to new means of communication (such as using Teams, working from home and flexible furlough).

This proved invaluable when the call from Rolls-Royce came to help them in providing crucial parts for ventilators for the NHS. It was at this point that the collective team effort and passion for helping people from everyone at Kirkstall came to the fore and we are truly proud of the response from every member of our team.

Still time for the regulatory audits.

In the midst of all this we had to undergo 2 tough regulatory medical audits during the year with the results giving us a glowing outcome. It also gave us time to focus on the business rather than time in the business. New investments, new marketing strategy, new ERP system, the recruitment of a new QA manger.

“Repair the roof when the sun is shining” as JFK once said, and that’s exactly what we did here at Kirkstall Precision Engineering.

2021 has its challenges but we are ready.

With a no deal Brexit on the horizon and still challenges around with Covid-19,  we are remaining realistic but equally we are going into 2021 with a bold vision. To quote our MD Adam, “It’s times like this for me I feel it’s crucial to have a strong vision and goal to keep focused, and we are truly focused on making 2021 something special for everyone here at Kirkstall, our suppliers and our clients… bring it on”.