23rd March 2020 was a day many of us will never forget, the impact of COVID-19 was instant on all business sectors in one form or another with shops, restaurants, hotels and offices sending their loyal staff home and locking their doors for what turned out to be longer than any of us probably expected! Other companies felt the pressures of supply like never before and were expected to facilitate the needs of the UK population at the drop of a hat.
Furlough became the new buzz word and panic hit the nation as the Governments response to COVID-19 took hold of every aspect of our lives.
We all quickly adapted to being (un)socially distanced from one another, thousands of people fell ill and sadly lost their lives, thousands of jobs have been lost, our children’s education hit the floor and mental health in the UK hit an all-time low.
While all non-essential business was closed with immediate effect and we were all told to Stay Home, Save Lives & Protect the NHS, our front line workers stepped up and supported all aspects of life ensuring food supply continued, medical care was available to all and teachers continued to support the demands of home schooling as best they possibly could.
Every Thursday saw many of us religiously stand at our front doors at 8 pm clapping furiously for the people we hoped would be able to save us should we or one of our loved ones be unfortunate enough to need their care in the pandemic.
If you had told us just last year that this is what 2020 had in store, we would have laughed and said, ‘you’re crazy’.
Throughout these last month’s Pentagon have continually adapted to meet the increased manufacturing demand of the essential production lines that we produce. Heavily involved in the manufacture of medical products we navigated the needs of our staff,some vulnerable, some caring for others, the spates of self-isolation and the odd emotional breakdown here and there! We have learnt and rolled out furlough where necessary and adapted our factory setting to ensure and maintain social distancing for the safety of our entire team. These past months have felt like nothing short of a whirlwind.
Now we find ourselves in July 2020 in a world where face masks are now mandatory in public places and we still cannot hug our loved ones. We are starting to see the UK ease out of lock down and businesses welcome their customers once more (albeit from behind a screen or a plastic visor!) But, for us here at Pentagon it is only now, 4 months on, that we as a business are feeling the real effects of COVID-19 in relation to our own business services.
Some maybe be thinking, ‘oh lucky you!’ But with around 30%of our production being for the aviation sector and travel still being drastically affected by planes being on the ground and thousands of jobs lost there are many hurdles still to face. Now we have the instant shut down of air bridges casting a huge shadow over travel for the remainder of 2020. We are faced with huge uncertainty regarding supply into this industry sector. However,we are confident that in time our skies will once again be busy with aircraft and the demand for production of aviation products will return but we just do not know when that may be.
Despite the hurdles all is far from lost for the Group as the demand for medical supplies remains high and new product lines are coming through the development stages. Customers who have tooling overseas are beginning to look for UK suppliers going forward and may be spurred on by the impending fear of a second wave this winter.
So whether you are a business owner who had to shut up shop in March or a front line business that has worked throughout it just goes to show that nothing has been untouched by COVID-19 and there is much uncertainty for all of us as we cautiously climb our way back out of lock down.