It was sad to see the end of the BBC series Ashes to Ashes last week. Throughout the series a stack of red shallow trays and a lone yellow deep tray have featured at the police office where the drama is based. Leading character DI Alex Drake was seen carrying the yellow tray holding her notes as she chatted with her boss DCI Gene Hunt. We, the staff here at Gratnells, all claim to understand what the ending was all about. Are they alive or dead but more importantly is this proof that there are Gratnells trays in heaven?
Nice to see the BBC has given a thumbs up to our popular 501 medical trolley with another order in this week for five. The Gratnells medical range can frequently be seen in the backgrounds of Holby, Casualty and Eastenders whenever their storyline has a medical angle.
So far so good. The government has denied reports that the Building Schools for the Future scheme is on hold pending a full review. There had been a feeling that any BSF scheme that had not yet appointed a preferred bidder was to be halted. This would leave as many as 60 schemes worth an estimated £2 billion in limbo.
However, the government is expected to scrap the controversial local education partnership (LEP) procurement model, under which a contractor is given exclusivity over a council’s school work for 10 years or more. Existing LEPs would be allowed to continue only if they could show they were delivering efficiency savings.
At a meeting of the BESA group of British Educational Furniture Manufacturers earlier this year there was a distinct feeling that the Tories were shying away from ‘Norman Foster’ style grand looking schools with an emphasis on refurbishments. However, many in the meeting were convinced that refurbishments actually cost more in the long run than building a new school. Are we about to see school being built in disused office blocks?
Technical problems at a Polish processing plant are causing sleepless nights to the suppliers of raw plastic. Industry experts ISIS news has reported that LyondellBasell has declared force majeure on Polypropylene from its joint venture Basell Orlen Polyolefins plant in Plock, Poland.
In a statement the company said that “as a result of unforeseeable technical production problems in the plant, it was unable to supply Polypropylene from Plock. Polyproylene is the base material for Gratnells trays.
The news comes as a blow to major plastic buyers who are already under force majeure restrictions from Total Petrochemicals.
One buyer said “I was going to use material from this Plock to replace what I couldn’t get from Total.”
The price of Polypropylene has been on the rise for the past six months and with these new restrictions on supply, price rises seem even more likely.
Pupils of Monk’s Walk School, a Specialist Science College based in Knightsfield, Hertfordshire, were set a tough assignment for a 2010 project. Find out how two local companies are getting on in the recession. One of their leading teachers Brian Purrett, a previous customer of Gratnells, asked if he could bring 14 pupils along to our Harlow factory, where all Gratnells products are manufactured, to see what we did and how we are coping.
Director Murray Hudson explained to the pupils: “It’s very important that we spread the financial risk to the company and we do this by exporting to 68 countries. This puts us in a stronger postition in that if one market goes down, the chances are another market will go up.”
‘The talk was exactly what was required’ said Brain after the visit ‘and the tour around the factory was a real eye opener to the students . Thanks to everyone who helped’
And it looks like Gratnells got the general election predection right! We guessed that our tray sales for the month of the election would be an indicator of the actual result – and we were right!
The blues were in the lead, followed by red, yellow, green and ‘other’. We wonder if we subliminally influenced the outcome when we shipped all these blue trays? No need to thank us Mr Cameron.
It’s always exciting when the new Findel catalogues land on my desk in the New Year. Has the hard work from the previous year paid off? Have new products got in and hopefully no products deselected. This year all the brand catalogues from Step by Step through to NES and Hope look excellent and it seems to be mission accomplished. As I leafed through the gazillion pages the phone rang with news that Findel had something to say and was I free to come to Manchester? Thrilled at the prospect of spending quality time on M6 I jumped in the car and headed for Sale Grammer school. Why a Grammer school ?… well I was about to find out. Unbeknownst to me fifty other top suppliers were also on the list and the Findel top brass wanted to tell all. We all sat in the assembly hall nervously awaiting Sam Walsh, the Managing Director. After watching a rousing film, Sam admitted that Findel had had an annus horribilis in 2009 and was looking to improve the situation including payments to suppliers. Hooray! There was a sting in the tale though, Findel also plans to introduce a new system monitoring deliveries to make sure we do our supplies on time. Booo. We all convened afterwards for a school lunch of tasty sarneis – well Max Campbell the titan of Sport and Playbase seemed to think so. Back down the M6.
But are Findel out of the woods yet? – my email pinged last week with the news that the company has said it will restate its 2009 profits, because of “discrepancies” in the figures for its education department. The company blamed changes in the division’s management, and it had come to light that some accounting entries had not been “properly substantiated”. What does it mean for their books? A £5 million reduction in its pre-tax profits.
Schools secretary: Ed Balls, MP for Normanton went to the private Nottingham High School and then off to Oxford University.
Shadow schools secretary: Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath went to the private Robert Gordon’s College and then off to Oxford too
The year started brightly with tray sales in the first quarter exceeding Q1 2009. Our main concern is the continual march of raw material prices. Polyprop prices are now the highest I have ever seen them and now exceed the previous peak at the end of 2008. How much more can they go up? www.prw.com