Managing Director Paul Connor shares his thoughts reflecting on the year just gone and what lies ahead in 2022 for Blackwood.
Firstly, how would you describe 2021 for Blackwood?
2021 was the most challenging year I can recollect since taking over Blackwood Engineering in 1994.
Global demand for all products exceeded the available supply capacity and material and freight costs increased sharply.
The construction equipment market experienced a significant pick-up in orders caused by a combination of post lockdown recovery with our customers catching up on previously cancelled and delayed orders and governments around the world investing in infrastructure projects.
This demand resulted in severe capacity and cost issues with our China foundry suppliers, in addition to shipping and logistic constraints.
The skills and commitment of all our employees in the UK, Belgium and the Far East and great teamwork throughout the company helped us overcome many obstacles to ensure we were able to provide our customers with an excellent service.
Do you see the issues securing supply and material pricing impacting Blackwood as we kickstart 2022?
The global demand for all products is continuing to exceed supplies and costs are continuing to rise.
There is no doubt that securing supplies of counterweights and castings to meet our customers increased demand will continue to be our major focus.
How has the business adapted to meet these challenges?
In order to meet the significant increase in customer demand, we developed additional foundry suppliers during 2021, and the benefits of this strategy will be seen throughout 2022 as customer orders continue to grow.
Our decision in 2015 to develop major foundry suppliers in India has strengthened our sourcing capacity to meet the long-term demand for counterweights and casting products. We are now the largest importer of Indian counterweights into the UK and Europe.
The acquisition of the Blaina site will significantly improve our factory capacity and office accommodation in the UK and the investment in our Dilsen plant will also create more capacity for our European customers.
Any final thoughts?
Following the achievements in 2021, this year is looking to be another challenging and exciting one for our company. We welcome many new employees, who have significantly strengthened our team and I feel we have laid the groundwork for meeting the challenges that lay ahead.
As always, I feel the major difference between us and our competitors is the Blackwood Way, the skill and commitment of all our employees, without whom we are nothing.