unassailable ‘fit & forget’ pressure moulded cable systems for hostile environments

Business Continuity Statement

2 November 2020


SMI remains open and busy manufacturing our fit and forget cable systems as has been the case throughout 2020, where the safety of our colleagues remains paramount and carefully managed.

We implemented our Business Continuity Plan on 18th March 2020, deploying all non-manufacturing personnel to home working status, then implemented a number of operational changes to minimise risks associated with Coronavirus to our remaining factory teams. We continue to review and revise plans on an ongoing basis, driven by the latest scientific advice.  

As early as March we were requested by UK Government to support the essential maintenance of submarines to sustain the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent (CASD) and the defence of the nation through our manufacturing teams designation as key workers, in order to maintain their availability for work and ensure uninterrupted manufacture.

Operational changes to support safety and social distancing have been implemented with extended hygiene measures across operations. Deploying personnel not directly involved in manufacturing into home work setting quickly enabled areas of the Andover facility to be repurposed, with adequate spacing put in place and additional wash stations deployed throughout the premises. These measures were augmented later by increased PPE provision and screens, updating as guidelines changed.

Visitors to our site are permitted only for essential reasons and in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols. We have recently introduced a new policy, requiring full coveralls and presence in factory locations only during factory breaks for tea / coffee / lunch for our teams, so cross contamination risks are materially minimised.

Supply chain assurance remains a priority for both customers and SMI. Securing ongoing supply of components early, was essential in our strategy to maintain uninterrupted manufacturing and meeting essential milestones for customers. We significantly increased bought-forward components into stock, to both secure supply, but also to keep many suppliers fully scheduled as the aerospace sector fell quiet.

We continue to work with customers to advance procure materials in order to safeguard manufacturing schedules and adhere to complex programmes. Risk mitigation and risk transfer activities are already in process with critical components dual sourced wherever possible and security allows.

We are asking all suppliers to inform us of any problems which will potentially impact open orders as soon as they present.

SMI Supply chain are continuing to work closely with suppliers, to identify and address any COVID-19 related issues, mindful of an approaching deadline for Brexit, where we have received a number of enquiries regarding our plans. 

We would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we have fully reviewed UK Government advice ahead of 31st December 2020 and taken appropriate planning actions accordingly.  Key actions taken include (but are not limited to):

  • identifying key product lines across the business requiring adjusted production schedules and rescheduled accordingly.
  • materials imported from mainland Europe plus non-EU countries come via a well-established process with robust supply chains, transport links but we are working closely with key suppliers to safeguard supply chains and ensure continuous availability.
  • encouraging customers to review stock levels and ensure orders are placed ahead of normal timing to protect against delays. Again, if concerned please talk to sales.
  • spoken to most key customers detailing our current approach to Brexit – and to detail our current lead times, estimated customs delays, and ask them to consider forecasting needs to include our stocking specific items for them and their customers.
  • continuing discussions with key Freight Forwarders to mitigate risk from customs delays, including reviewing alternative routes into the UK and preparations for increased customs administration. We are also working with providers to creating potential software solutions to assist.
  • constantly updating our analysis of the financial impact of a no deal Brexit, including increased duty and tariffs, increased cost of freight and customs administration costs, foreign exchange fluctuations and are looking at fresh ways to mitigate this to ensure minimal impact on customers.
  • we are also monitoring travel issues for our employees during and after a deal / no deal Brexit and in light of the Coronavirus.

Naturally both Brexit and Coronavirus make for very fluid situations, so our management team are constantly reviewing the situation and adjusting operations and business planning accordingly.