This time in 2019, none of us would have thought that we would experience a year quite like this one! Even the most comprehensive business plans wouldn’t have been able to prepare for a situation quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. What a year it has been, filled with a lot of uncertainty and concern, but equally full of hope and achievements.
Here’s what Fireco has achieved over the past year, pandemic and all…
We started off our year on a high! In January we moved from Hove to a new and much bigger premises in Southwick. We decorated the whole building in Fireco branding and our manufacturing facilities expanded massively, allowing us to meet customer demand. Just as we began settling in, the pandemic started to really kick-off and we got the notice to work from home where possible.
With our new premises and with new working arrangements, we wanted to further improve and adapt our operations, with a big focus on quality management. Later in the year, we passed our ISO9001:2015 surveillance audit 1. Having ISO certification means that we are following procedures to continually improve our business operations and the services we offer. So, passing our ISO surveillance is an integral part of making compliance easy for customers as it ensures we are providing consistent and quality products and services.
As soon as the virus came to England, we knew instantly we would be able to help our customers with germ control. Although we had always focussed on fire safety, we started promoting that our hold-open devices could help customers reduce cross-contamination on surfaces — by holding fire doors open, you minimise the need to touch door handles. Later on in the year as the weather got colder, the government advised that well-ventilated buildings could help minimise the spread of infection which is another great benefit of our hold-open devices.
As we approached the summer months with the hope that lockdown restrictions were easing and businesses were able to reopen, we realised that we could do even more to help our customers keep their buildings COVID-secure. We then designed and manufactured Germgard, the Smart Sanitising System. Germgard’s sensor detects when someone is approaching and will display a message on the screen advising the user to sanitise their hands before passing. We introduced three versions of Germgard so that it could be tailored to suit the needs of different businesses and risk levels. We’ve now helped hundreds of new and existing customers with germ control and fire safety.
As expected all events and conferences were cancelled meaning that we had to find another way to connect with our customers. Many events moved online, and to date, we’ve taken part in the FIREX and IFSEC Tech Talks, The Care, Dementia and Nursing Home Winter Pressures Webisode and Sponsored the FPA’s Fire Sector Summit.
Events weren’t the only thing that we’ve taken online this year. We’ve massively expanded our online services as we knew that’s where our customers would need us…
Fireco goes digital
Before the pandemic, we would take part in regular business meetings, host installer training at our HQ and present at shows. With all of this put on hold, we had to find new ways to interact with customers. We decided to start holding webinars and product demos through our website and due to high demand, we were organising weekly webinars with other companies which saw hundreds of attendees. Being able to carry on sharing knowledge about the industry and even enabling people to earn CPD points from our sessions has been such an honour and we’ve loved every minute of it.
One common theme we come across often in the fire industry is how difficult it can be to buy a fire door and specify all the right components for it whilst also ensuring it’s compliant to standards and regulations. So, we worked with one of our business partners, Safelincs, to create a fire door selector which gives you the ability to build your own doorset with all components available in one place. It prevents the need to buy everything from separate shops, having to check what products are compliant and coordinating different delivery dates.
Making compliance easy is our main goal here at Fireco and our Customer Support Team are an integral part of this. To make it even easier for our new or existing customers to contact us, we launched an online live chat service as another way to contact us aside from phone calls. We want our services to be accessible to everyone so this was an important addition to our services.
Celebrating One Million
Even throughout a very challenging time, we had a reason for a big celebration! We sold One Million of our original product, Dorgard. Fireco was established in 1995 with Dorgard as the sole product and here we are today, still selling Dorgard along with our other innovative products that we’ve developed over the years. That was an amazing feeling and one that wouldn’t have been possible without our employees, distributors and customers!
What to expect from us in 2021
We have some big plans for 2021, with a range of new innovations launching which have a very different twist on what we currently offer. The new products we develop here at Fireco are based on what our customers have asked for, so you should all find our launches very exciting! We will also (hopefully) be attending a few big events, including, FIREX and The Fire Safety Event. We’re hoping to connect with you all in person again!
We want to end 2020 on a positive note, by saying a massive thank you to everyone who has supported our business this year and all the years previous. Whether you’ve liked our social posts, hosted a webinar, bought a Dorgard, downloaded our eBooks or joined us at an event, you’ve helped us get where we are today.
On that note, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, from all of us at Fireco.