By Tony Lockwood, Managing Director, BOFA International
Global growth, significant investment in infrastructure, multiple award wins and a change in our corporate ownership… 2018 has been a truly remarkable year in the life of BOFA International.
Over the last 12 months, we have achieved many significant milestones, thanks to the exceptional performance, motivation and sheer hard work of everyone involved with BOFA – wherever in the world they are based. In short, it’s been our most successful year ever.
Of all the landmark moments, perhaps the most significant from a long term business perspective occurred in September when BOFA concluded an acquisition agreement with Donaldson Company Inc, a global leader in industrial air filtration systems. For BOFA, being part of the Donaldson family is a perfect fit strategically from a technology standpoint and provides the company with Group resources to support our ambitious growth plans.
I am delighted to say that this investment in innovation is already proving its worth, widening the technology gap with our competitors and creating value for customers through product development.
The most important infrastructure investment in 2018 was the opening of our new Centre of Excellence in Poole, which includes one of the world’s most advanced fume and dust extraction research and development facilities. Indeed, we were delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent to the new building in May to perform the official opening ceremony and to join with us in celebrating the innovation mindset that characterises the BOFA way of working.
I am delighted to say that this investment in innovation is already proving its worth, widening the technology gap with our competitors and creating value for customers through product development. As a result, our systems are making the workplace environment safer for many more thousands of people around the world while at the same time delivering significant productivity improvements for companies. This year we have launched new products that continue to answer the demand for safety, increased uptime and maximum performance.
All this good work also resulted in growing acknowledgment of our achievements among our peers and the wider business community. This includes BOFA being named the BDO Mid-Market Company of the Year; entering the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 list of the UK’s fastest growing exporters for the first time; becoming the British Chamber of Commerce Dorset High Growth Company of the Year; and winning the Made in the South West Export Award.
I was also honoured to be named Business Leader of the Year in the Dorset Business Awards, and my marketing colleague Sally Newman received the Marketing Excellence accolade just last month.
All these achievements inspire us to go further. Our North American presence has been boosted through a new distribution partnership in Canada and we’ve significantly strengthened BOFA’s position in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Although Brexit uncertainties remain, we see huge growth opportunities in pan-European markets and are positioning ourselves accordingly.
So as we look to 2019, we are determined to build on the success of the last 12 months. We are actively planning an expansion of our international footprint to help drive business development in higher growth regions around the world, and we will be bringing to market world-first technologies, including our iQ2 operating platform, as we keep step with the march towards the Industry 4.0 automation revolution. We look forward to showcasing this as Laser World of Photonics in June.
Of course, we wouldn’t be the company we are today without the support of our increasing global customer base. Our service ethos has always rested on the development of long term relationships founded on a deep understanding of our customers’ needs… and you have my personal assurance that this will continue into 2019 and far beyond.
As we head towards the festive period, I’d like to wish all our staff, suppliers and customers very best wishes and we look forward to welcoming you in the New Year.
For details of our holiday opening times, please see here.