It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.
While none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.
Here, Business Link catches up with Grahame Tilley, CEO of fire and security specialists Tecserv UK based in Underwood.
Personally I am very optimistic about the year ahead. There has been lots of political wrangling throughout 2019 which has caused business leaders to become a little fed up. The upshot is that many have chosen to forge ahead regardless and take charge of their own destiny.
Tecserv UK specialises in installing and maintaining fire and security equipment, and many of the larger schemes we get involved in such as retail and office development projects take a while to come to a point where we get appointed, however we’re going into 2020 with a really heathy looking forward order book, which is unusual for us. I honestly believe this is due to an overall attitude of “we can’t wait for politics to decide our destiny..”
It’s very British to say so, but I think this stiff upper lip attitude will continue throughout 2020, regardless of the implications of Brexit negotiations, as company owners shun politics and focus on their own business strategies to protect and create jobs which in turn helps to protect their wealth.
Another area that affects our industry is health and safety compliance. Whilst I don’t see legislation changing, there have been a number of high profile fires which have called into question the culpability of those responsible for ensuring fire safety. I therefore predict that businesses will be seeking to ensure training, record keeping and other policies and procedures are more rigorously applied and more regularly reviewed and updated. Particularly if changes to business operations or external factors may affect fire and security risk.
Sector wise, I predict further troubles on the high street as retailers grapple with changing buyer behaviours. Interestingly for us, this has led to a demand for in store CCTV installations. As well as its obvious use to prevent fraud and theft, marketing teams have cottoned on to the fact that CCTV video recordings can help them to understand buyer behaviour and reactions to point of sale displays. Sadly, the shift towards buying online and a preference to drive to shopping malls means that I think we will continue to see a downsizing in the scale of retail in our cities centres and shift towards them being more business and leisure focused.