It’s been a year that no one saw coming. For a business like ours that exists for the protection of workers in roles that involve risk, 2020 has been a busy one. But one that’s come with its fair share of challenges none-the-less. As the year closes, still marred by the uncertainty of what course the coronavirus will take next, we take stock of what this tumultuous year has brought and look ahead to 2021.
Handling the COVID-19 crisis
When the reality of the coronavirus pandemic emerged in late winter, we were inundated with requests for our Personal Protective Equipment – a term that’s now become part of the nation’s everyday language, where it probably wasn’t before. Face masks, hand sanitiser, visors, screens – all manner of products were suddenly the must-have products to help protect people from this new and deadly enemy.
Our priority was to protect our existing, loyal customers. We were able to maintain the usual supply in most areas, ensuring that we minimised disappointment and shortages wherever possible. We strived to keep workforces protected, not only against the everyday risks they’ve always faced but the new threat of COVID-19.
Many of the industries we regularly supply continued to operate throughout lockdown, such as construction and refuse collection. In addition to NHS workers, the police and fire services, they too became the frontline heroes that we celebrated throughout springtime. We were proud to support these organisations with the PPE they needed to help keep them doing their jobs safely.
The arrival of the cowboys
As PPE became harder to come by, we noticed an alarming trend of ‘pop-up’ PPE suppliers. New businesses surfaced to cash-in on increased PPE demand, some bringing uncertified PPE to market that didn’t comply with regulations, nor that was CE marked. They claimed they could protect organisations desperate for PPE, but with no expertise or knowledge of the stringent rules that apply. Unlike established PPE suppliers, they generally weren’t registered with the British Safety Industry Federation. What’s more, these pop-up PPE providers had no understanding of the businesses they were serving, potentially compromising the safety of those workforces. Fortunately, as supply chains have normalised, there’s been a noticeable decrease in cowboy suppliers.
Valuing our relationships
During the spring and summer, it became clear how vital the working relationships with our customers and suppliers are. In many instances, we got to know our customers better than ever. We’ve learned about their homeworking set-ups and how we can support them in new ways.
We’ve also enjoyed fantastic support from our suppliers. Working together with them, as we have over many years, meant that we were able to continue to stock the majority of our products with little or no delays. We could keep our existing customers safe and started to supply new organisations for the first time too.
Developing our customisation capacity
While Covid-19 has dominated this year, we didn’t stand still with other developments. During the year, we’ve grown our garment customisation team and now have double the capacity available. It means we can offer more flexibility than ever for heat-sealed and embroidered uniforms and workwear, getting products to our customers faster.
As 2021 rolls around, we plan to continue to grow Contego. We’re starting by bolstering our customer support team to offer more customers better and faster support. This growth in personnel will be complemented by developments with our popular Online Management Portal, giving our customers access to an increasing variety of tools to manage, analyse, and report.
We may never see another year like 2020. It’s been a time with a great deal to reflect on and learn from its challenges and opportunities. To all our customers and suppliers, we wish you a happy and healthy festive break, and we look forward with optimism to 2021.
Contego Safety Solutions stocks a wide range of corporate workwear, protective clothing and PPE, including our WEARMASTER® range. We also provide a bespoke uniform design and manufacturing service to ensure that you get precisely what you are looking for in a company uniform.
The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.