As we approach the year annual anniversary of lockdown back in March 2020, SPA Power Machinery have taken a look back at the past 12 months.
Based in South Yorkshire, the machinery distributors describe their experience of Covid as ‘uncertain at first, but feeling more positive every day’. Combine that with the recent exit from the European Union had led to an interesting ride, ‘every day brings a new challenge, it can sometimes feel a bit like whack-a-mole but we just take each day at a time, solving each new thing as it comes at us.’
Speaking of their experience, Company Director Laurie Anthony says; “The first few months of Lockdown 1.0 were deeply uncertain, like most companies we didn’t know what was going to happen on a number of fronts – obviously keeping everybody safe was priority number one, followed by worries such as if our suppliers were able to provide, what would happen if we delayed our orders. All of a sudden, our sales forecasts had to go out the window, nothing was going to be as planned anymore.
We firstly assessed the potential damage – How much stock did we have? How long we could remain open for without any sales coming in?
After frightening ourselves with the ‘what-ifs’, we decided that the best thing to do would be to get up to date with all the things we had been saving for a rainy day.
We put in new digital systems to replace our dreadfully old-fashioned paper filing systems, (no more handling hard-copy folders now Covid is here). This kept the team bust for the first few months when things were at their quietest. We also created some new videos of many of our products whilst we had a bit more time. Things then started to improve, we soon realised that farming was not going to stop just because of Covid, and with farming comes a requirement for machines, repairs, and servicing. Slowly the phone started ringing again, and we were able to support our customers with whatever they needed.
We were very fortunate that our suppliers were able to continue their supply, having made some changes to manufacturing in a Covid-safe environment. Our suppliers are based in Germany and Australia, so their lower than average Covid rates worked in our favour.
By the time we got to the end of 2020 we were then working very hard towards the Brexit deadline, making sure that we had plenty of stock imported to allow for any delays in shipping come January 2021.
The first few weeks of 2021 have been predominantly Brexit focused. Import and export of machines and spare parts has been an experiment so far, with varied results in both transit time and cost, but nothing too much of a problem to date. We are working with a few different providers, with a combination of sea freight, air freight, and road freight. The very late Brexit deal left a lot of questions unanswered until the last minute, but we are confident that the transport will settle down once the new systems are understood by everybody.
We are optimistic going into 2021, grateful for the vaccine, and hopeful that one day in to not too distant future we can all meet again at a trade show over a cup of coffee and a bacon butty (British pork, of course!)”
SPA Power Machinery are the European distributors of Easy Petrol Post Drivers, and the UK distributors of Westermann (Farm Cleaners and Moss Brushes).