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Repurposing businesses through the COVID-19 lockdown - news article image

Repurposing businesses through the COVID-19 lockdown

18 May 2020

2 minute read

Members of DFK UK & Ireland a leading association of independent accounting firms have been talking to their clients in order to understand how businesses are repurposing through the COVID-19 lock-down.

In the seventh in a series of articles, Helen Rutter from Manchester-based Royce Peeling Green spoke to Elaine Shepherd, Director of JA Harrison & Co (Manchester) Limited.

JA Harrison & Co is a leading UK gasket and sealing solutions manufacturer with sites in Greater Manchester and Cardiff. They have been in business for over 120 years and supply a range of industries from food and drink to aerospace.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the UK, JA Harrison & Co started to see their usual supermarket customers enquiring if they could design and supply a full face visor. The company were quick off the mark and soon had a design and prototype available using existing materials, skills and machinery on site. This first design allowed them to supply supermarkets and individuals.

JA Harrison & Co wanted to further support the NHS and healthcare frontline so went down the accreditation path, working with BSI to pass the relevant quality and safety tests before gaining CE accreditation at the end of April 2020. The final CE compliant product is a lightweight reusable clear full face visor with a soft headband and multiple fastening points for maximum safety and comfort. JA Harrison & Co are now a Government approved supplier to the NHS and can also supply medical grade PPE to anyone wishing to source their own PPE. The next step is furthering the design of the visor to fit over helmets so they can be used in the construction industry.

Elaine spoke about the company’s proactive approach to marketing this new product through social media, local contacts and knocking on the doors of frontline businesses. As the Government has now announced their plans for bringing people safely back to work, JA Harrison & Co are hoping to tap into the wider market to increase the safety of social distancing in the workplace.

Elaine’s tip to other business owners thinking of re-purposing their manufacturing and surviving lockdown is

“Research what’s needed where and look at whether you can adapt your manufacturing capabilities accordingly to try to fit the relevant criteria. You’re constantly adapting and learning from it. In order to reach the NHS buyers get your name on to the Government portal as an approved supplier for the frontline buyers to choose from.”

Repurposing businesses through the COVID-19 lockdown - news article image

Author:

Fran Kidd

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