In the old days, 20 years ago, January used to be a quiet month for production, even after the business had been closed for upwards of 2 weeks for the Christmas Holidays and was therefore a month when we looked to catch up on some of the necessary ‘other work’. It mainly included staff training sessions and clearing out.
However, because it is the first month of Solar Solve’s financial year, it is also an ideal month for a Staff awareness meeting to advise all employees how the business performed in the year just gone and what the Board’s aims and objectives are for the new year. We also carry out the Annual Staff Appraisals, hugely important meetings for the appraisers and the appraisees and of great benefit for both parties. In the photo below, Solar Solve’s Technical Officer, Krys Short is seen at his Annual Appraisal with Operations Manager, Carl Johnson and Managing Director Julie Lightfoot. Company Chairman John Lightfoot also sits in and took the photograph. January is also a good month to do some archive filing, create new documents, forms, plans and files that are needed for a new trading year.
Cramming all of these tasks into January worked very well back in the day and most of the ‘other work’ was sorted by the end of the month. I’m not sure if the Internet is responsible but as time has gone by over the last 2 decades, the handling of Enquiries, Quotes and Orders seems to be constant all year round and the amount of time we have to prioritise the other work is getting less and less. Obviously some of it has to be done immediately and certainly the Staff Appraisals are a top priority, with Staff Awareness meetings and Staff Training sessions close behind. To facilitate these important undertakings, nobody is allowed to take any holiday entitlement in January of each year. We now open for a few days between Christmas and the New Year as well, which is also a busy period compared to the Christmas holiday periods at the start of the millennium.
I mentioned in my blog dated 11 July 2017 that in December 2006, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York visited Solar Solve and during his tour of the Tyne Dock facility he was shown the Training Room that had a poster which stated, ‘WINNERS TRAIN, LOSERS COMPLAIN ‘ and commented that it was very apt. It is just as true now as it was 13 years ago and always has been, since training evolved in way back when.
I also mentioned the fact that the next training session was going to be a SWOT analysis exercise, something that we have been carrying out for a quarter of a century and was now a legislative requirement as part of our ISO9001 2015 accreditation. The original exercise took place on 27 June 2017 as can be seen in the other photo below. It was closed out in January 2018 but many of the 9 Actions were to be ‘continuously monitored as an operating procedure’ and so part of todays training session has been to follow-up on the closed-out actions. I’m delighted to report that 8 of them are progressing exactly as they should and only one has been allowed to slip in places but now the slippage has been observed and recorded, further action has been identified and will be carried out by end of March this year.