IT investment pays off as ISD prospers during covid crisis

Published on 16th October, 2020


The board of Gloucester composite panel company ISD Solutions is anticipating a strong financial performance in 2020, partly due to a £1 million investment in IT over the past five years.

Years of commitment to the company’s tech strategy left the Gloucester-based firm well placed to survive the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic and emerge thriving from the crisis.

High demand from the food sector has seen ISD completing several large construction contracts for distribution centres following the nationwide rise in online shopping.

Despite placing a number of the company’s 120 staff on furlough and making a small number of redundancies, ISD has adapted to the new environment and is now hiring for new positions.

The recent surge in orders has led to recruitment in project management and health and safety, with more vacancies likely to be filled over the coming months.

ISD Solutions is the major trading division of The P&M Group Ltd, which was founded in 1947.  In keeping with many boards who followed the oft quoted “never let a good crisis go to waste” the board of The P&M Group thought it was important to review their business as a sensible response to the consequences of coronavirus.

The staff changes coincided with a company restructure which has seen a broadening of the management team, embracing working from home as part of a blended approach to work and a reduction of office space across its three sites in the centre of Gloucester.

Andy Moon, Chairman of The P&M Group, said: “We’ve been very fortunate that our work in the food production and logistics industry was classed as essential during this crisis and we are pleased to have played our part in keeping the nation fed.

“And while we realise our recent experiences and challenges will be familiar to many businesses, we are pleased to have been able to accelerate our plans to modernise a well-established business, so we could tackle the crisis head on.

“In short, we were well placed to take our opportunities and we’re now looking forward to the future of the business.”

Andy added that a key ingredient of the company’s success was a culture of trust between the management and staff, following years of careful recruitment and a clear dialogue to ensure that expected company standards were effectively communicated.

“As with much of society, this crisis has resulted in us speeding up the evolution and implementation of ideas that were either being discussed or already happening,” he said.

“Indeed, the work we have done for several years has served us well since this all started.  We have a good relationship with customers and suppliers, we are financially strong and we have skilled and dedicated staff who follow a strong culture.

“We have well over 100 years of industry experience among our board members alone, with almost the same again between other members of our newly-expanded leadership team.

“The knowledge and expertise, combined with our IT investment – almost £700k on software and support and the remainder on capital expenditure – has made us realise that, in fact, no radical change was needed.

“However a review of the business as an important exercise which has enabled us to identify a number of areas to help us become a leaner, quicker business which is fit to respond to our current and, hopefully, future challenges.

“Despite our industry-leading technical expertise, companies placing orders worth millions are taking that as a given.

“We are coming to realise that these firms are more focused on the ability of a company to meet challenges such as scale, financial strength and supply chain links to deliver projects.

“With a changing economy and society it is important that we adapt to these requirements.”

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