People and businesses everywhere have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. But here in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, some businesses have done more than just survive. Many have changed business models, working practices or even completely pivoted to a very different economy, and some have even helped people or businesses in what is a very human crisis.
In this series of articles businesses share their stories and some of the pearls of wisdom they have picked up along the way.
Whilst everyone has done something different, they’ve also all benefited from some of the business support available – that can also help you thrive, not just survive.
Business Leaders: MD Martin Keegan
Company name: Radwell International Ltd
Business activity during (Covid-19): Continuing the day job, but also using networks to support charities with more PPE. Development of the RadStep 2020.
Pearls of wisdom to thrive not just survive: listening to customers and tailoring your offerings based on export market variations.
Newcastle-based industrial automation parts and repair specialists Radwell International remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, working together with manufacturers and food processors to ensure their automation equipment ran and essential food and goods supply chains were maintained.
However, in line with their philanthropic ethos and reputation for innovation they wanted to use their expertise and connections to help in some way with the pandemic situation.
Radwell MD Martin Keegan said: “There was an initial shortage of PPE equipment due to soaring demand. Using our global buying power we were able to source personal protective equipment (PPE) and donate thousands of face masks to local charities and medical facilities, including The Alzheimer’s Society, Dougie Mac, Macmillan Hospice and Alice Charity.
“In addition, we were also able to offer same day delivery to customers for all PPE orders purchased online, including hand sanitiser, face masks, wipes, gloves, thermometers and face shields.”
Radwell wanted to go further with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic by utilising their innovative capital. A Radwell engineer drafted a design for a step that could attach to the bottom of a door to allow foot operation, thus reducing contact with door handles to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. An aluminium prototype was successful and The RadStep 2020 went into full production.
The easy to use product works with both left and right opening doors and has already achieved more than 10,000-unit sales globally.
The innovation didn’t stop there and the design team then came up with another device to help stop the spread of the virus, the RadTouch-2020, a non-contact personal stylus-tip tool that can be used to avoid contact with often used surfaces and touch-screens such as those on cash machines, self-checkouts, kiosks, and industrial interfaces.
Martin Keegan added: “From the initial confusion at the start of lockdown the team at Radwell soon got down to work, coming up with innovative new products and rallying to support local charities and organisations working with the vulnerable.
“We are fortunate that we have the cash as a business not to depend on financial handouts and loans. We have however, valued the support during lockdown from Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. We found their daily information updates invaluable and informative and several of our staff attended the various webinars relating to international trade.
“The most important lesson that Radwell has learnt relates to the importance of listening to customers and tailoring your offerings based on export market variations. We are proud that our innovative products are successfully being sold globally and that we are helping to combat the spread of COVID-19.”