Mirka is rightly famous for its top quality abrasives and innovative power tools – but how did the Finnish specialist navigate the last 18 months. Furniture & Joinery Production caught up with Mirka UK MD Craig Daycock, business sector manager – wood, Chris Brook, and the national sales manager, Pete Sartain.
Given the months of tumult we have all endured since March 2020, how does Mirka characterise the last 18 months in terms of the company’s performance, its customers and its well being of its staff?
Craig Daycock summarised: “Most of us appreciate that the COVID situation has been a testing time for many reasons, at Mirka, the first thing we did was to adapt swiftly to the prevailing protocols and guidance, we reorganised our working conditions to keep everyone safe, and of course, when things completely shut down, we adopted furlough conditions for staff. As the situation developed, some returned working from home with managers working in a hybrid set up … by and large the team all kept well and the wheels kept turning.
“In terms of commercial performance, against what has been a high performing period of trade thanks to consumers investing in home offices, home interiors, garden buildings and even extensions to combine and working from home conditions. It also helped that by not physically going to work, many families have been able save considerable to invest in their homes,” said Craig.
Chris Brook, business sector – wood, confirmed the positive situation: “All rather unexpectedly, the furniture and joinery sector’s recent strong showing is largely a result of the business-positive stance adopted by the Government during the pandemic.
“The various grants, schemes and loans have undoubtedly helped businesses survive, continue and even prosper, taking advantage of what some describe as a mini-boom for UK furniture and joinery manufacturing. These additional resources have enabled a businesses to invest and strike while the time is right..”
On the commercial side of things, Craig commented: “As a business, we have successfully navigated the 2020, and apart from one month, we have exceeded all our expected targets – some of them by a healthy margin. Overall, for the 18-month period I would say we are up around 30% on our predictions.”
Turning to the bedrock of the business, what is Pete Sartain, Mirka’s national sales manager, looking forward to? “First and foremost, I am looking forward to meeting our clients more regularly, and of course en masse at a trade show. We are very much looking forward to the W Exhibition in February – our plans are at an advanced stage and we will have at least one new product to show people and a couple of interesting surprise for visitors too!”
"One of the cornerstones of the Mirka business has been innovation. Throughout the COVID period, the company’s research teams have, as always, been steadfast researching new abrasive and tooling solutions for its customers solutions to bring to market, potentially add to its roster of industry firsts."