Time to reflect

The end of the year is always a reflective time but with the recent completion of FB Chain’s new premises, MD Peter Church has been thinking about what has been achieved in the last few years.

In the week leading up to Christmas, we achieved a target I had set myself when I first took over as managing director in 2011: we moved into a brand-new building. The warehouse and office that FB Chain has occupied since 1985 has been swapped for a bespoke, state-of-the-art facility about 75 metres from the old site. And now that we’re all moved in and ready to begin the next chapter of FB Chain’s story, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect.

Many people would judge a company on its balance sheet development, but the things I am proudest of do not directly show in our numbers. We have done some amazing things over the last five years, and at the heart of all those things has been our committed staff. Providing a good modern working environment for the team is a small way of thanking them for all their efforts and commitment.

I am also proud of the money we have raised and donated to charity. Like many companies around the UK, we have taken part in national fundraising days like Christmas jumper days, Movember, and coffee mornings, but what has made me proudest is our support of local groups. We often have some direct connection to these via a staff member, and it is incredible to see what relatively small amounts of assistance can do. We have also had some fun while doing so, such as last week’s visit to a pantomime through sponsorship of the local amateur dramatics group. When the group needed support, we stepped in to cover some of the upfront costs. As part of the deal we got some tickets and enjoyed a fantastic night out, with several team members bringing their children to their first traditional pantomime.

Additionally, our support of a local youth music group resulted in a chain song and a great evening as we attended its premiere at a local youth club. To steal a tagline from a major credit card ad: “There are some things money can’t buy.”

A good attitude to change

Change can be hard but I am proud of our ability to make alterations to the way we work, adapting to ever-changing circumstances. I have been amazed at our ability to sustain performance under conditions of rapid transition and pressure. I am equally delighted that we have learnt that the route to success is sometimes blocked, and sometimes requires us to take a step back to continue moving forward. Our attitude to change has helped with major projects like new material requirements planning and manufacturing automation, but most importantly it helps every day to handle whatever our customers and the market send our way.

I won’t lie, our efforts around apprenticeships have been a challenge and my thoughts on this subject could fill a blog in its own right, but I am proud that we have given a number of people (both young and young at heart!) the chance to start and advance their engineering careers. Seeing people grow truly is the most rewarding part of my job.

The next few years will be exciting and challenging but I am proud to say that we have the right people and the right attitude to handle whatever comes.

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