There is no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year for everyone in many different ways. We all had to adapt and make changes as we faced a global pandemic. Covid has had a big impact, but we set high standards and the COMS team found new ways of working to ensure we could still deliver projects safely and efficiently, whilst adhering to these new restrictions. We also repurposed our head office at West Lakes Science Park to provide socially distanced meeting space (whenever this was possible).
During the first lockdown in March, we used the time to strengthen all our business functions to support future growth and we are now in a really healthy position to grow further. We have outsourced a lot of our work to industry specialists who include:
• Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd for all our marketing social media and promotional activity.
• Lamont Pridemore as our accounting and tax specialist.
• Bunetts for all legal and contractual work
• DMA Safety Management to support with our HS&E
• KCS Solutions for IT Support
We also achieved Cyber Essentials Plus certification, which has been developed as part of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme and helps businesses take steps to protect their business online.
It was important for COMS to gain this certification as it is often a major requirement to win new business in the types of industries we work in (read more here – link to other blog)
As well as making significant improvements to the business, we also developed our COMS team, with our average personnel numbers growing for the 6th consecutive year. Most significantly two of our founding directors, Dave and Anita Garratt retired and we welcomed Matt and John Garratt into the roles of HSE and Finance Director. In addition, Grant Taylor was promoted into the position of Associate Operations Director. We added commissioning capability and now have a fully established team in place allowing us to grow further now we have the capability and infrastructure in place.
We continually look at ways to develop our business and team to ensure we are an integral part of the local community and we were proud to start a graduate programme, with the recruitment of Jack Phillips in early 2020. Jack has now completed his first year with COMS and is well on course to becoming a Systems Engineer.
As the start of the pandemic we distributed PPE to various charities, day centres and care homes and towards the end of the year we able to make end of year contributions to several good causes across Cumbria.
By making significant investments and improvements in our business we have continued to grow and 2020 is no exception with an increase in turnover of 10% in otherwise very uncertain times. We added BAE Marine Systems to our growing list of major clients and we led and collaborated with other SMEs to bid for large frameworks we could not have done alone. We were delighted to have tendered for and won a multi-year pre-operations framework for £2.6m through Morgan Sindall delivering work for Sellafield Ltd (read more about that contract here). We also joined Nuclear South West and attended events in Bristol and Bridgewater and gained new friends in the Hinkley Point Supply Chain, so are excited to develop our services outside of the county in the future. By proceduralisisng our operations delivery processes using best practices from various client processes, these are now fully transferrable skills we can utilise elsewhere.
We are now set for another successful year, despite the rocky start with another lockdown and further restrictions, but we feel positive that we will continue to grow now that we have even more robust procedures, capabilities and infrastructure in place.