Now we’ve all had a chance to settle into the New Year, it’s reassuring to see the continued commitment, enthusiasm and focus of the entire Smartway team.
The first few weeks of the year have already brought new challenges and disruption across the UK. Our work remains of the utmost importance as the NHS and health authorities across the globe faces significant pressure because of the pandemic.
However, we’re poised to rise to these challenges, leveraging the lessons learned throughout 2020, navigating the unexpected, and continuing to support healthcare professionals and, ultimately, patients.
Smartway’s most challenging year
Even before the global pandemic was declared, Brexit was on the horizon. The medical and health supply chain faced unprecedented uncertainty. Soon after, COVID-19 fundamentally redefined what safe, ethical business means, presenting new requirements that touch on every part of our organisation.
It’s hardly surprising that we count 2020 as our most challenging year on record. We know we are not alone in that. But we pride ourselves on our appetite for challenge – and our proven ability to overcome it.
In record time, we created COVID-safe workplaces, switched many roles to remote working where possible, and met rising demand from our healthcare professionals. The seamlessness of this transition is testament to the attitudes and efforts of our people at every level.
Later in the year, we responded effectively to a product recall that affected a number of medicines suppliers and wholesalers across Europe. For us, this was an opportunity to validate and verify our ongoing investment in safety, quality and compliance.
That investment paid off. Our extensive product traceability made it possible for us to identify and contact the small number of affected customers in hours, not weeks, resolving the issue with a minimum of disruption to the supply chain.
A continued commitment to safety
We spent the year continuing our investment in safety, quality and regulatory compliance. After expanding our regulatory team, we had three regulatory inspections. We are pleased with the outcome of all of them, as they demonstrate our continued improvement.
We also invested in new technology to make our regulatory processes more efficient, improving compliance and allowing for faster decision making. All of this represents our commitment to the same values and priorities as ever – quality, ethics and, ultimately, patient safety.
Thinking beyond 2020 – what next
In the context of increased demand and operational restrictions, a successful year could be defined as one where we simply continued to maintain our high standards.
However, we are confident about the coming months and years and, as such, have invested significantly in the future of the business. We will continue our focus on increasing the speed at which we move.
As well as digitalising many of our processes to increase efficiency and quality, we have new additions to our regulatory team and across all our divisions: aesthetics, clinical trials supply, unlicensed medicines, marine medical and veterinary.
We believe that our people define everything we do. It’s only by expanding our teams with talented individuals that we can maintain our superior level of service and care, even as we grow.
Behind the scenes, we have also made strategic investments, including partnerships, in several new areas to diversify our operations. We will have more to share on this in the coming months.
Measurable success and industry recognition
Finally, we were proud to be recognised in the Sunday Times PwC Top Track 250. Ranking mid-market companies by sales, the list saw Smartway climb from #129 in 2019 to #89 this year – a 35% improvement.
For Josh Cocklin, our Chief Executive who celebrated his one-year anniversary with Smartway in November 2020, this reflects the attitude and shared ambitions of the entire team.
I’m proud of what we achieved last year in terms of sales, but I was most impressed by the serious commitment that our people showed every single day. Our sales figures are the product of a million smaller moments. It’s in the combined efforts of our distribution teams, our account managers and, our customer service team. They were universally unfazed by everything 2020 threw at them and, in 2021, I’m confident in their ability to thrive further. It’s a team I couldn’t be happier with.
Josh Cocklin, Chief Executive