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The greater the obstacle the more glory in overcoming it

PUBLISHED: 04/08/2021

If there was ever a headline that sums up how the Chiller Box team are feeling as we write this latest blog, this is it. We’ve had a really busy few months and the enquiries from potential new clients or existing clients, keep coming so there is lots of positivity right now. However, if we flashback to just over a year ago in the first lockdown, many of our projects were paused and we faced real uncertainty about the impact that COVID-19 would have on the hospitality industry and our own business in the long term. It would have been so easy to sit back and just wait for things to get better, but when you’re faced with challenges it’s so important to face them head on, change how you do things, be prepared to be flexible and always remain positive.

Overcoming months of uncertainty

The hardest thing about running Chiller Box in the early stages of this crisis was the unknown and the uncertainty we faced. What did lockdown mean for our employees? Were our friends and families safe? How long will this last? What financial support is available? These were all questions we asked ourselves; trying to get our heads around some of these thoughts become a real daily challenge as the pandemic moved at such a fast pace.

We worked together to overcome these worries. Keeping the team motivated in the toughest of times was something we knew we had to do, but this meant hours of work to understand the situation we faced. It involved studying national updates, industry press and tapping into the many webinars that were being run to inspire us, as well as keeping in contact with our clients to keep projects moving where we could. Zoom allowed us to feel connected as a team and I would share my ‘view from the bridge’ regularly. During times of crisis, I genuinely believe it is important to remain honest without causing fear, and to inspire rather than demoralise.

The trials and tribulations of tiers

As we moved into the introduction of tiers and then a second lockdown, we were able to continue working on many of our existing projects, but this wasn’t always straightforward. Staff were having to get used to working wearing PPE and sometimes the pandemic caused project delays, beyond our own control, that we would have to work around. However, we were given the hope of an end to the worries with news of the vaccines coming and this gave us all some hope of better days ahead.

During this time, we changed our marketing approach as we had to look at every single outgoing cost. We always knew this crisis wasn’t going to beat us, but it was extremely important that we managed budgets effectively to protect us for the long-term. The lockdowns were used wisely to plan for the future, so we were ready to take on this new world in a different way when the hospitality industry bounced back.

Getting ready for reopening

As talk began about the reopening of the industry in the spring, this led to a busy few months as we worked with some new businesses to get them ready. This included installing air conditioning and ventilation at Ignite Gym and, more recently, working on the stunning Medi Meze & Lounge where we did the design and build of the bars and kitchen. Our team worked so hard during this period to ensure we didn’t cause any delays to any of our projects. When you are working alongside other contractors, this can often mean you having to adapt and be flexible, right at the last minute to change the work you have planned in.

The issues of supply versus demand

In recent months, supply chain issues have been a difficulty across the industry. As it’s a very dynamic situation at the moment, with different suppliers having varying degrees of stock issues, we are having to design based on client needs and then do a check at time of order based on stock availability at the required delivery dates. We’ve had to cast our supply net wider and, if at time of the order we are unable to fulfil the clients’ needs, we have been looking at alternative suppliers with similar products who have availability in the timeframe. It’s important to us that we always find a way to deliver our high levels of customer service, despite any obstacles, and ensure we are meeting the needs of our clients.

So what challenge is next?

With so many different challenges over the last year, this is always a big question. Is this situation over? Or will we be faced with more difficulties caused by COVID-19 as we head into the autumn and winter? But we can’t, and won’t, complain as the post-restrictions’ era is generally very busy for the Chiller Box team, and we are relishing the opportunity to have a whole lot of new challenges to navigate. As always, we make the most of the thrill of the high seas we find ourselves in.