The Hireman helps the NHS
11 June 2020
The main reason for the unprecedented national lockdown from 23 March was to restrict the spread of the coronavirus and protect the NHS.
Many businesses responded immediately by donating any stocks of PPE (personal protective equipment) to help frontline health workers, and one of them was The Hireman, based in London.
“Each of our depots in Canning Town, Croydon and Acton just cleared the shelves of FFP2 and FFP3 face masks, gloves and every other bit of relevant PPE, boxed it all up and delivered it to their local hospitals,” MD Neil Graham tells me. “We all felt we simply had to help.”
Neil says that the first few days of the crisis proved challenging. “Business stopped instantly and sites closed. But once hirers were granted ‘essential supplier’ status by the government, things eased as activity re-started, and I think the HAE (Hire Association Europe) played an important role in lobbying for that approval.
“Business is back to about 50% of normal. For several weeks, an unexpected positive factor was the massive reduction in London’s traffic levels, which made deliveries so much easier! There’s been strong demand for barriers and fencing for social distancing on sites, as well as for cleaning equipment and sanitising gels, and the need for these is likely to remain as part of the ‘new normal’.”
Like many people I’ve been talking to, Neil is realistic about the trading outlook. “We’re facing the worst global economic challenge for at least 80 years and I think a deep recession is likely. However, I am always a glass half-full person. The bounce back from the 2008 recession was phenomenal when it came, and I believe there will be many opportunities ahead.
“In all sectors, some businesses will flourish, others may not. We are all in the same storm but in different boats. Companies should take the time to look at how they operate, see what could be done better and improve efficiency. For streamlined businesses there will always be opportunities and I’m still very optimistic.”