Lockdown easing gives hope for better days ahead

Chairman and Founder Anthony Pile gives an update on the business

It’s been quite a turbulent few months for the world. When the coronavirus was first discovered in China, no one could have predicted how it would so quickly lead to more than 300,000 deaths and cause over 20% of the world’s 7.6 billion people to be confined to their homes. But that is exactly what has happened.

For Blue Skies, we have had to react fast. With borders closing and lockdowns kicking in, we faced an immediate challenge from declining sales and a collapse of airfreight capacity. But thanks to the ingenuity and the incredible hard work of all our teams, we’ve managed to transform our business so that we can adapt to this vastly changed world. However, these measures have not come without significant cost, and across the business we have had to endure salary cuts, provisional factory closures, a reduction of temporary staff and the furloughing of some members of our UK team.

It has undoubtedly been extraordinarily tough, but there is now some light beginning to emerge at the end of the tunnel. Lockdowns in some countries are beginning to ease so we’re seeing more people return to the stores to buy our products, airfreight capacity is also improving and some of the airlines are making plans to resume their services soon. We have also received assistance from organisations such as USAID who have been keen to support agricultural development in West Africa and see Blue Skies as key to unlocking this growth in the years ahead.

It’s as if some of the towering storm clouds are slowly beginning to dissipate.

Alas, it is not over yet and there will still be difficult times ahead, including for Brazil which has sadly become the new epicentre of the coronavirus crisis. But while we continue to change and adapt, we can all feel a sense of pride in how we have acted so quickly and effectively to keep our people and our business safe. We have always believed in autonomous operations run by local experts from the host countries. How fortunate we are that this is what we’ve done because our business is in the hands of experienced and battle-hardened leaders who are doing a great job at the subsidiaries.

And so I want to thank every single person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past few months. From those who have taken salary cuts or been furloughed, to those who continue coming into our factories to meet orders, or who have worked long hours from their homes. You have all made a huge difference which will always be remembered in the history of Blue Skies. We celebrate the pioneers who started Blue Skies, but you are the heroes that kept us alive at a time when we needed you most.

We are not used to failure in Blue Skies and we have a way of winning. I’m absolutely certain that we shall get through to the other side and what’s more we will be stronger and the better for it.

Scroll to top