2020 was a unique year for many reasons. From the global trade wars that stifled international exchange between the USA and China to the Global Covid-19 pandemic, our business and people faced significant threats that affected our bottom line, employee wellbeing and delivery KPIs to all our customers.
As we cross into the new year, Firstpart evaluates the highs and lows of 2020 and all the key events that shaped our performance in the year. This report also offers insight into what the new year holds for us and all our efforts to improve our overall customer satisfaction and manufacturing services.
For some parts of the world, February and March 2020 marked the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic. In China, however, the virus breakout had already started causing challenges with supply lines and supply chain elements as far back as December 2019. While we closed the year 2019 with an appreciable number of orders, the virus breakout affected our performance and capability to optimize resources for our regular quick turnarounds.
Sometime later, in January, the province of Hubei was placed under lockdown, with our business equally affected.
With major parts of the Chinese city on lockdown for over 60 days, Firstpart remained in compliance with the WHO and Chinese Government directives. The company and its staff ensured that work went on in a safe, remote, yet effective fashion from home.
We continued to partner with our global network of sister companies and manufacturing partners to use all available resources for making ventilator components, testing kits, and personal protective equipment.
Qualifying as an essential manufacturing business meant that our company was back up as soon as lockdown eased. Firstpart continued a habit of safety, ensuring that face masks remained compulsory apparel. We provided sanitizers, hand gloves, and other protective equipment to keep every member of our rotating teams safe.
From emotional care to frequent work-from-home conferences, we continued to prioritize our people's mental and physical health amidst the skeletal operations we ran. Through CNC machining, digital manufacturing, and additive manufacturing (3D printing), we were able to collaborate and deliver prototypes, test samples, and finished products to our global array of customers.
Like most other companies, our financial strategy turned out to be entirely different for the shocks and uncertainties of 2020. To stay afloat and keep our valued members of Firstpart, we cut down on capital expenditure, employed remote working, and ran shifts were possible to drive down non-personnel overheads.
We had planned to move into a new facility during the year, but the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a financial strategy of lesser capital expenditure, reduced overhead costs, more liquidity, and better debt/trade receivables management.
Injection molding continues to remain a crucial part of our subtractive manufacturing services at Firstpart. Our team's versatility and our best-in-class equipment have propelled us for a proposed launch of the specialized arm of our injection molding business – Firstmold.
Firstmold will handle all our specialty injection molding projects, providing services like mold making, mold maintenance, tooling, injection molding production, family molding, and more. We are hopeful that Firstmold will grow to become an essential part of the Firstpart business, helping us grow the business in line with 2021 targets.
Looking forward – 2021
Our outlook for 2021 is conservative yet optimistic. Firstpart is currently positioning itself as a key supplier for our existing and prospective clients, allowing us to grow and scale supply chains as required in the wake of post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
We also envision the completion of our new business premises and securing new clients in the medical, automotive, aerospace, FMCG, and consumer electronic space. With our recent investments, we're optimistic about how our digital manufacturing services, proposed "Manufacturing-as-a-Service," and additive manufacturing components will help accelerate diverse product development cycles.
From all of us here at Firstpart, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!