Reflecting on a ‘challenging year’

Date: 14/12/2020

I THINK it’s safe to say 2020 hasn’t exactly gone to plan for anyone! It has been a very challenging year all round and we at Yorkshire Laser would like to thank our customers for bearing with us and our suppliers for doing what they could to give us some semblance of ‘business as usual’.

I am pleased to say we have managed to remain operational throughout 2020 although must admit the first wave of the pandemic in the spring was easier to deal with than the second. Service demand remained steady enabling us to introduce new COVID secure ways of working to safeguard our staff and customers while also bedding in our new pressbrake and laser.

However, the easing of the initial lockdown and return to work for many businesses that had previously shut down, saw a rise in demand for materials that were in short supply, including steel, which resulted in sourcing issues and inflated prices.

As the second wave of coronavirus took hold, we felt the impact of ‘test and trace’ with staff shortages rising by 40%, putting particular pressure on our production department. We tried countering this with flexibility, changing our loading schedule daily, while our people rallied round and worked extra hours, but there is a limit as to how much time can be clawed back in a week.

This combination of factors led to us taking the unprecedented step of closing our order intake in early November to any new orders requiring delivery in 2020. Keen to uphold our reputation for good customer service, we have tried to respond where possible in cases of urgent need but would like to thank those customers who’ve worked with us in the last month or so to modify their requirements to accommodate capacity limitations.

Looking ahead, we are changing our operations to ensure we are better positioned to handle the challenges that 2021 no doubt has in store. These include:

  • Increasing our workforce by 10%
  • Appointing a new highly-experienced Head of Operations
  • Implementing a new scheduling system
  • Maximising the opportunities provided by our new pressbrake and laser to increase our production capacity and capabilities
  • Investing in our business to give our customers good-quality products, on time and at a value-for-money price.

Our aim is to have our deliveries back on track during Q1 2021 and to keep them there going forward.

My final thanks has to be to our people here at YLF for all their efforts this year. At Yorkshire Laser we prize people – staff, customers and community – above all else. We believe in under promising and overdelivering, taking responsibility for our actions, being prepared for change and solution, not problem, focused. All these values can only be achieved through effective teamwork and the YLF team has played a blinder this year.

Once again, thank you for your patience in 2020 and on behalf of all at YLF, I wish you a merry Christmas and a good, safe and healthy 2021.

Matt Orford

Managing Director