ADEY reflects on adapting to change in 2020

ADEY's head office team, prior to lockdown

ADEY’s group managing director Matthew Webber explains what it’s been like to manage a company through the pandemic and what his expectations are for 2021.

It’s been an unexpectedly challenging year but it’s taught us a lot about change and resilience. It’s definitely tested us at times but ultimately, I believe we’re coming out of it stronger, with a fantastic team and a profitable business because we’ve all worked hard together across the industry.

Over the last couple of years we’ve invested in leadership development for the senior management team and the benefits of this have really come to the fore this year. There’s been a great team spirit, that we’re all in this together, and that has really helped. Like many businesses, we had to furlough colleagues but good communication has been key to supporting both them and others who’ve continued to work.

We’re also mindful that maintaining good mental health during this time has been difficult for some. To further support employee wellbeing, we’ve signed up to Unmind, a mental health platform to tackle mental wellbeing, as well as providing access to health care support and employee assistance programmes.

What are the characteristics of businesses that have successfully navigated the pandemic?

I think one of the key things has been the ability to adapt; being agile has been essential this year. There wasn’t a great deal of warning with the pandemic or much time to prepare, particularly when the first national lockdown came there was a huge amount of disruption

At the time it would’ve been easy to just look inward at our own business, but actually it was remembering that our customer’s, the installers and engineers, world was changing fast too and giving them support really made the difference for us. For example, with our training centres across the UK temporarily closed, we moved our training sessions online to help more than 3500 installers to continue learning and upskill, helping them to be even better equipped when they could return to work.

What have been the biggest achievements for ADEY this year?

One of our biggest achievements is that we’ve continued to innovate and launched a new product in July, ADEY ProCheck, a revolutionary new digital water testing kit that allows installers to test and treat water quality issues in one site visit. It helps them to explain to homeowners why water treatment is critical to the health of their central heating as improving this understanding is a barrier the industry needs to overcome.

We’ve also been able to get our new in-house manufacturing site in Gloucestershire fully operational and open a third water testing laboratory in Manchester. All of this has been achieved whilst fully embracing a new COVID-safe working environment.

What does 2021 look like to you?

I think there are many reasons to be positive about 2021.  We are continuing to invest in the business, particularly in product development, continued innovation and expansion. As an industry, we’ll play a critical role in supporting the post-COVID recovery, especially with increased emphasis from government on the need to build and invest in solutions to make our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more efficient as part of the UK’s Green Industry Revolution.

There are also some factors brought about by the pandemic that are driving activity for our industry and will continue to do so as we go into next year. People are spending a great deal more time at home which in turn is inspiring a rise in the desire to invest in home improvements and maintenance.

That said, we’re also aware that further change is coming as a result of Brexit which will undoubtedly impact on trading conditions for everyone, especially businesses like ADEY that trade internationally. However, if there’s anything we’ve learnt from this year, it’s that we can deal with and adapt to change positively so that’s exactly what we’ll work together to do.