Written by Andrew Moss, Managing Director at Horizon.
As we come to the end of 2021, we reflect on what has been a turbulent two years. COVID and Brexit have brought significant change to our lives. Change brings opportunity. What Horizon has achieved during this period is breathtaking.
The cycle of change
Change has been the one and only constant. In 2019 we were adjusting our shopper journeys to be more COVID relevant. In 2020 we had to pivot our focus on massive challenges in the supply chain.
Just in time deliveries became a thing of the past. COVID recovery had seen demand for raw materials surge and lead times reflected that. Material costs and delivery dates rocketed to what seemed to be unsustainable levels, but they just kept increasing – and still are now. Simple things like a brown card box went from 1 week to 12-week lead times… and if you can’t pack it, you can’t ship it… These challenges also affected our clients, we can’t promote products that they can’t produce… so priorities changed by the day.
COVID brought obvious challenges but ultimately Brexit was more disruptive. Our ability to trade within the EU changed overnight… yes it was a long time coming but nothing could prepare us for January 1st 2021.
Finally, the worlds environmental conscience returned with carbon footprint once again becoming a key consideration.
Every challenge brought its own opportunity. The reopening of physical nonessential retail drove massive demand for our solutions.
A bungee recovery is what we hoped for and what we got… but servicing this requirement was challenging when the supply chain was broken. We rapidly invested in new machinery to bring more processes in house, even making our own packaging. Bringing more processes in house allowed us to control our costs, lead times and emissions.
Sourcing our solutions from the Far East became too expensive and 12-week lead times became 20 weeks. We went local with all processes, either in house, or from sub-contractors. I guess we took back control and at the same time – reduced the carbon miles. ‘Just in time’ became ‘Just in case’.
Brexit persuaded us to invest in Europe. We opened our first warehouse in Holland and the creation of Horizon Europe BV put us back on an even footing. This move has seen demand increase to pre referendum levels.
What lies ahead?
Increased demand in such tough times has given us the confidence to invest further. Plans are afoot to increase the footprint of our UK HQ and radically redesign our show room.
Alongside this we are investing more in Europe, with our German trading partner looking to further integrate into the Horizon group.
To help manage this growth we have now started a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Aston University. The creation of a change management role within our business will prepare us for even further challenges – with key focus on lean management, omni-channel marketing and environmental impact.
We continue to support POPAI and are in our third year as GOLD sponsors of the POPAI Awards. We also fully embrace POPAI’s sustain program and intend to fully integrate into our environmental policy as we move forward to ISO14001.
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