It’s that time of year again when we look back at the past 12 months and ahead to the next 12 months to come. We can all agree that 2020 was not the year we were expecting. With the onslaught of COVID-19 we have had to find new ways of working, new ways of communicating and new ways to keep each other safe.
At the outset we were granted an exemption during the lock-down period to maintain production of deemed essential composite items so we’ve been lucky enough to have maintained activities throughout the year but for many weeks a large number of our workforce had to be furloughed. As always our team has pulled together and worked hard to comply with the new measures in place to ensure our workplace is fully COVID compliant. This has meant that as a company we have been able to continue to deliver a quality service to our customers in line with our company values. We know we are one of the lucky ones – many companies in the manufacturing sector have not been so fortunate. That said we did not escape unscathed and there have been some casualties both through redundancies and staff choosing to move on during their furlough period but overall we have adapted to these challenges and can now once again begin to look forward.
Our Sales Team has worked tirelessly throughout looking for new customers and despite all the challenges that 2020 there have been many successes. We have several new customers joining our extensive portfolio of blue-chip companies.
We have been able to commence work in a new sector securing our first project in Space as we were selected by Moog Inc. to design and manufacture complex tooling and subsequent composite components for the Small Launch Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle (SL-OMV) project. The SL-OMV is designed to deploy CubeSat constellations and guide small satellites to their final orbit. The first SL-OMV will be supplied by Moog Inc. to Lockheed Martin as part of the UK Spaceflight Programme, supported by the UK Space Agency.
2020 has also seen us open a dedicated Thermoplastics facility. Having originally commenced production of thermoset composites on a smaller scale back in 2011, this new division will further bolster our appeal with many new and evolving customers. It is already keeping our dedicated thermoplastics laminating team busy outputting 200 parts a week. demand for processing of thermoplastics has quickly evolved in recent years as organisations increasingly consider aspects such as environmental impact, performance and cost. This is especially important amongst the EV (Electric-Vehicle) sector where increased weight means reduced range. We envisage this to be an area of our business that will grow substantially.
There have also been other highlights throughout the year: we were featured in an article about business in the East Midlands in the Financial Times; were able to host HUUB for our annual Pancake Race (Pentaxia won), we carried on our charitable works raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Save The Children by participating in national charity events and were visited by our local MP Amanda Solloway.
We welcomed our new Finance Director, Lisa Wilding onto the management team. We also had our first AS9100D and ISO9001:2015 annual surveillance visit where it was identified that our management system controls are continuing to meet requirements with no major or minor NCRs raised.
So, despite everything that has happened in 2020 there are many positives to reflect on.
As we move forward what is the new normal at Pentaxia? For the foreseeable future, business will continue with all our COVID measures in place. To date there has been minimal cases within our workforce and for this we are very grateful. It may be some time before we can eliminate social distancing, virtual meetings, mask wearing and hand washing etc but as we have always recognised our staff are our greatest asset and keeping them safe and well along with their friends and family is a key priority for us.
2021 will start with a strong orderbook which is a great position to be in and means we will be able to look to bolster our staffing levels to further increase our fantastic workforce. In this ever-changing climate every day is a challenge but we are confident by pulling together as a team, we will get through this and come out of this even stronger.
We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers and suppliers a safe, positive and prosperous 2021.