As we’re all too aware, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives in 2020 and continues to do so in 2021. With local and national lockdowns, international borders closing and difficult social distancing guidelines to deal with, it has been a year of unprecedented change. Many industries have been brought to their knees by the disruption, while others have thrived. We caught up with Ian Lomas, MD of Lomas Engineering, to get his take on what the last twelve months have meant for him and his business.
Did 2020-21 feature any highlights for Lomas Engineering?
My first priority was to keep my staff on if at all possible, because I know that when this is all over, the business will return. A third of my staff were furloughed during the worst of the pandemic, but I’m proud to say that virtually everyone is back at work now.
We had a few key achievements throughout the year, despite the huge challenges we all faced. We were still able to conclude an important contract with STRATA in an overseas country at a time when travel was heavily restricted.
We were also able to build and improve our business and contacts in India with a new delegated representative, and we were delighted to win a new tooling package on a UK aerospace defence project which will continue for the next 3-4 years.
What lessons did you learn from the pandemic?
We can never take anything for granted as our work completely fell off a cliff and there was nothing we could have done to prepare for it. However, we believe we are now in a stronger position if anything like this was to ever happen again.
We are heavily aerospace-based and the travel restrictions hit us hard. However, we have a good spread across all aerospace markets (military/defence & maintenance and repair) which were not all affected as badly. Moving forward, we need to ensure that we maintain this diversity across our markets.
How will you apply these lessons to make 2021 more successful?
We have continued with our factory expansion as we believe that things will return to normal and we want to be prepared. We are also in a strong position to take on what will hopefully be a big increase in work as we have kept all our skilled workforce. This is in contrast to many of our competitors who have reduced their workforce.
How do you plan to grow in 2021? What is your main goal?
We plan to consolidate the business we have and build on this position by working with our current customers as there is a lot of new work coming in over the next few months. Obviously, we are always looking for new work and customers world-wide and will continue to do so.
What advice would you give to other businesses for the year ahead?
Keep an open mind as you cannot plan for anything like the last year!