At a time when we are looking down the barrel of a difficult winter, we’d like to remind ourselves of all that we’ve already overcome. This is to reassure our customers that Ventac has and will be the supplier to rely on and also that we are a company who knows that difficult times are when innovation moves from important to critical.
Back in March of this year, the Covid crisis hit us hard as the majority of our business closed down within a week. It is hard to forget the fear and uncertainty of that time when the world simply turned on its head and the way forward moved from planning on the year ahead basis to simply day by day.
We were fortunate in Ventac to have a very positive culture in the company which really allowed us to work together as a group. The first priority was keeping everyone safe and people throughout the company brought plans and ideas to feed into our Covid response plan; from IT solutions for those working at home, to changing work schedules to protect those with vulnerable households. I’m still not sure who flipped over the carpet tiles and painted arrows on them for the one-way system!
As part of a supply chain to essential businesses, Ventac didn’t close at any point during the shutdown as we took advantage of the large amount of space we have on-site to ensure safe working conditions. This uninterrupted record of supplying our customers, come what may, is something we are very proud of and intend to drive forward.
Our next priority was to adapt to the situation and see what we could do to contribute to the emergency response. Looking at our available manufacturing resources we quickly zeroed in on the manufacture of protective equipment (PPE). It was a completely new area for us but we reached out to other companies and state bodies such as Enterprise Ireland and Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR). The response was very encouraging as everyone was really supportive and open in helping each other with knowledge, contacts or simply time. Quickly we were working with companies big and small on each other’s PPE projects in a collegial fashion so we could move the development on at lightning pace.
Before you knew it we had working prototypes for 4 to 5 different pieces of PPE. An added benefit to this was a significant morale boost to everyone in the company. It gave a real sense of purpose at a time when everyone was dealing with their own fear and worry.
The speed of this development work allowed us to offer a product, disposable aprons, to the health services when the international supply chain was in chaos. In fact, we not only started supplying the Irish Health services but also the United Kingdom Health services.
It is clear we have more Covid challenges ahead but we have found the best way forward is by working in an open and positive way with all our partners to respond quickly to events.