2021 Reflections … Goodbye, and Good Riddance

2021 Reflections … Goodbye, and Good Riddance

We asked our Managing Director, Howard Morris, to share some of his thoughts on the past 12 months… 

Read with caution #grumpyoldman alert! 

After decades in the construction industry, it’s fair to say that I’m getting a little long in the tooth when it comes to riding out storms. 

Availability of labour. Skills gaps. Material shortages. Supply chain challenges. I’ve managed the business through them all. But never have all these challenges (and more) hit at once. 

Until 2021. 

And while it’s easy to blame COVID and the ‘unprecedented times’ it brings for all our industry woes, the reality is that there was a ticking time bomb way before PCR, lateral flow, and self-isolation made it into everyday vocabulary.

I’d like to say we’ve been lucky at TFS. But I’d be lying. This year has been one of the toughest in living memory… but we’ve finished on a high. 

How?  

By staying true to our long-term strategy. Against the backdrop of industry challenges, market uncertainty, and COVID disruption, we’ve continued to invest in new machinery, enhanced solutions, and our team. 

Now, I’m not saying we haven’t had to adapt. We have. But we’ve done this without being deterred from a long-term vision that has been a decade in the making.

  • Availability of labour: when lack of labour impeded construction project progression, our off-site processing capabilities presented customers with a solution to keep things moving. 
  • Skills gaps: when faced with skills gaps, we found new and innovative ways to train existing staff and budding apprentices. 
  • Material shortages: when material shortages hit the market hard, we rapidly diversified to broaden the substrates we worked with, to give customers continuity and choice. 
  • Supply chain challenges: when the industry was presented with supply chain challenges, we evolved our offering to help construction sites claw back time in their programmes. 

And while we’ve successfully navigated everything 2021 had to throw at us, it’s not a year I’d like to repeat (apart from welcoming my first grandson to the world, that is). 

I’d rather ‘politely’ say goodbye and good riddance to this year, take the learnings from it, and hope that 2022 finally gives us, and the wider construction industry, a break! 

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