How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Scott Bader?
We have all been living with the profound effects of Covid-19 for at least six months and the predictions are that these will continue through the winter. The hope is that a vaccine will be developed which can reduce the most severe impacts of the disease. However, I think it is reasonable to expect that the roll-out of the vaccine could, in itself, take time. The impact on the Scott Bader Group in March and April, supply chain disruption, dramatic lock-downs and customer closures however, are unlikely to be repeated as Governments strive to keep economies open and companies are better prepared. Indeed, despite all the challenges, Scott Bader has continued to operate throughout, being here for our customers and has, to date, maintained a strong financial performance whilst protecting colleagues from the financial challenges that have impacted so many.
What changes have been implemented to keep Scott Bader sites Covid-19 safe?
Across the Scott Bader Group we have implemented clear guidelines to help protect our colleagues including social distancing and the use of protective equipment. One of the biggest challenges we face right now is Covid-19 fatigue and complacency – the actions we all need to follow can be laborious and frustrating – but we need to continue to adhere to them, even more so now than over the summer, as the prevalence of the disease in the community increases.
Has Covid-19 led to Scott Bader focussing on different products and markets?
As a result of the shortage of products that can act as a thickener for hand sanitiser, we were able to rapidly develop a range of thickeners that met the market need. These products have helped fill the revenue gap caused by the disruption of our markets earlier in the year. We have also been developing 3D printing resins to help print components for ventilators. This is an ongoing programme and potentially opens up longer term opportunities for us. Our markets in the U.S. and China have both been stronger than expected this year and this reinforces our strategy of focussing resources to grow these regions.
What are the next steps for Scott Bader with Covid-19 seemingly here to stay for the foreseeable future?
We need to continue to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines to safeguard our colleagues, At the same time we need to be conscious of the risks posed by Brexit, continued tensions between the U.S. and China and a general slowdown in the global economy. We will be cautious in the actions we take over the next year as we fully assess the impact of these significant factors.
What are your hopes for Scott Bader post Covid-19?
We have a strategy that we are focused on delivering. The effort required to manage through Covid-19, Brexit etc. is a major headwind to moving these activities forward. The most significant element of this is the inability to travel. This puts a strain on the communications across the Scott Bader Group and the Group Leadership Team will be investing more effort in trying to compensate for this. It also makes it difficult to develop deeper relationships with our customers and potential partners – a Zoom call is just not the same as a face-to-face meeting.
Do you have a final message for Scott Bader colleagues and customers?
Pandemics have a life and economies move through cycles – if we all work together, we can come out of these challenging times. However, it is clear that the threat posed by climate change and species loss is accelerating and we should all expect that fundamental changes will be required in the products we sell and how we live our lives as a result. Covid-19 has shown us that new ways of working can be effective, that we can all manage successfully through change, and that we shouldn’t be intimidated by the challenges of the future.
About Dr Kevin Matthews:
Appointed in September 2019, Dr Kevin Matthews is honoured to be CEO of Scott Bader. He believes the unique heritage, innovation and Commonwealth structure of Scott Bader is what ensures it remains a leader in adhesives, resins, gelcoats and speciality polymers manufacturing. With a strong technical background and almost 20 years’ experience as CEO of organisations in the chemical, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, he looks forward to driving this prototypical business forward as it approaches its 100 years.
If you would like to know more about Kevin and Scott Bader please get in touch.