Every now and then, it’s good for any business to reflect. Not out of a sense of self-congratulation but to assess how key decisions, taken sometimes years before, have played out.
Certainly, as we look back over the past 12 months, it’s clear that the strategy we set as a new management team in 2015 continues to deliver significant benefits for our customers, strong growth for our company and great opportunities for our people.
Among the many milestones in 2017, our 30th anniversary stands out for me. We marked the occasion with a series of events, donations of a number of our products to local colleges and a partnership with the British Lung Foundation. It was great to see so many of our people getting involved.
It was also particularly fitting that the anniversary fell around the time that we received the Queen’s Award for Innovation. We had previously received a Queen’s Award for Export, but because of the nature of our industry, this new acknowledgement of our ability to lead the world in technology that keeps people safe in the workplace was very special to everyone in the company. We certainly take pride in flying the flag for British manufacturing around the world.
In June we welcomed the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and distinguished guests to our HQ in Poole to present the Queen’s Award.
The Queen’s Award also reaffirmed how the core values established by our founders three decades ago remain as relevant today as when they were first envisioned. These pillars – innovation, customer service and support for our people – enabled us to perform strongly again in 2017.
Indeed, as a new management team in 2015, we set an objective to double our business in size within a five year period – today, we are almost a year ahead of target, having grown significantly in the last trading year alone.
Anyone who has visited our Poole facility will know that space has been at a premium for some time (as our headcount continues to grow), so we were delighted when the opportunity arose to expand into an adjoining building. Work has already started on creating additional space to house the company’s corporate functions, which will open in 2018 – but we are particularly excited that the facilities will include a dedicated research and development area.
This new R&D area will provide the perfect environment for BOFA’s team of specialist design and mechanical engineers, technicians and support staff to push new concepts in the development of fume extraction systems for an ever growing range of materials and processes.
In addition, we have strengthened our senior management team to create the capacity to deliver our ambitious growth plans; we have opened a new office in Germany and added a business development function in Poland; and we have bolstered the sales team for our rapidly expanding USA operation. All of this progress means we look to the next 12 months with great confidence.
BOFA fume and dust extraction systems are now specified in multiple sectors in over 120 countries around the world. It’s great to know that our technology is not only helping organisations become more productive, it’s enabling people to go home healthy. It is an achievement that reflects well on every single member of the BOFA family and we look forward to an exciting 2018.
By Tony Lockwood, Managing Director, BOFA International Ltd