Updated: Dec 22, 2020
2020 has been a challenging year for many with each and every one of use impacted in some way or other.
The Coronavirus pandemic has dominated the year and our thoughts are with all of those who have lost loved ones and continue to be affected.
Recent news and roll out of the vaccine in the UK has thankfully given some hope for 2021 and the opportunity to spend more time together safely.
Local, regional and national restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 have had a massive impact on businesses across the globe with manufacturing no exception. Packaging Automation continued to remain operational throughout the pandemic and classed as essential workers the PA team are delighted to have continued to support the food sector ensuring that the nation was fed during difficult times.
We’re also proud to say that we played our part in helping the NHS too when a long-time existing PA customer who supplies the NHS with filters for ventilators, a vital piece of kit for treating patients in intensive care with Coronavirus and other life-threatening illnesses, approached us with the need to not only manage the increased demand for filters but with an immediate sense of urgency for a quick turnaround – we were happy to help!
As Brexit negotiations continued into the final hour and we reflect on this new relationship with the EU, we appreciate the far reaching impact on those we work with. We know that soft fruit growers are facing an unprecedented shortage of picking and packing employees with many turning to factory automation to help.
Despite the many challenges that 2020 has presented, Packaging Automation reported another year of business growth in 2019-20. 10% growth in fact, which means that Packaging Automation turnover has grown year on year for the last 5 years since 2015!
We were also lucky not to have to rely on the governments furlough scheme and not to have the unpleasant task of making any of the team redundant – definitely cause for celebration!
2020 saw us launch our new website and we continued to embrace technology and Industry 4.0 making full use of our Virtual Reality space at every opportunity. Adapting to the changing landscape that was 2020 we ran our first Virtual Open Day followed by a series of Webinars which, due to demand, we plan to continue throughout 2021.
We have continued to invest and grow and earlier this year we invested in a 3D Printer, which very quickly went into production allowing us to produce machine components cost effectively and efficiently .
#lightsoutmanufacturing was also introduced this year and plans to open a new Machine Shop in the very near future are now well underway.
With increased tooling orders and requests for quick turnaround tooling for seasonal product changes at this time of year, our investment in the new Mauri machine centre has certainly proved worthwhile too as this year the team have tripled production.
Our support to champion women in engineering continued at pace and our very own Tanya Westenraad was invited to join IMECHE (Institute of Mechanical Engineering) Food & Drink Engineering Committee – a very proud moment for PA, Tanya and her family – well done Tanya!
The year has also served as a very timely reminder of the real need to take care of ourselves and look out for each other. In response to the impact of the coronavirus and the imposed isolation this brought, we took some time to check in with the PA team and looked at different ways to support them. This year this included investing in Mental Health First Aid Training for two of the team and lots of the team have undertaken Frist Aid Training too.
Our quarterly Exceptional Employee Award received some fantastic nominations this year and the quarterly winners in 2020 were:
1 Lucy Holman
James (Jimmy) went on to win our Annual Employee of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution and support to the team, his exceptional customer service and first class clear communication skills. Very well done to all!
We have had a great fundraising year in 2020 and we’re sure the charities will appreciate all the help they can get at this difficult time. The PAL Birthday pals continue to raise funds for charity through birthday gifts and the additional fundraising activities have generated £1,266 for the Joshua Tree , a Cheshire based, Children’s Cancer Charity.
As we step into 2021 with a little trepidation, we do so with gratitude, positivity and enthusiasm. See you all in 2021!