11th April was the official opening of Feritech’s brand new Innovation Centre. Based in the countryside near Falmouth, this was the culmination of a project that was years in the planning and took 15 months to build.
For us, it is a massive step forward on our business journey. The new facility, which is on a 3-acre site and has cost £3 million, is several times the size of our previous building.
The facility has been designed in a way that will enable us to continue to grow the business and expand. It has been built not only to serve our current needs but also deliver our future ambitions.
So, what have been the driving principles we have followed? And what would be the considerations we would advise anyone considering a similar project to keep in mind? I have shared some of my thoughts below.
Focus on the future vision
We have built our reputation in subsea geotechnical surveying and we have expanded to cover advanced engineering for different kinds of extreme environments too. Our expertise in providing ingenious solutions for subsea environments is also relevant for aerospace, telecoms and other challenging marine environments such as offshore renewables, including floating offshore wind. Our new facility has been designed to ensure that we will be able to meet the future requirements of these new and emerging sectors as well as the sector in which we are already leaders. We are focused on our future business.
Focus on the environment
Our new facility has been designed and built in a way that is completely in harmony with the natural environment.
The site is designed to harvest its own water from boreholes that we have drilled. It has a state of the art solar roof, combined with on-site power storage. This will generate more than enough electricity for our needs and the surplus will be ‘exported’ to the grid. In addition, we will use air source heating for our offices. The site and surrounding area will have over 5,000 trees planted, to help it blend with its rural location and promote bio-diversity.
I believe that in future, environmental credentials will continue to grow as an important factor when choosing suppliers. There are also significant savings on energy costs to be made from our approach, so this will again help safeguard our future business.
Focus on building team satisfaction
Throughout the design, we have taken into account the everyday experience we will be able to offer our team. A productive and satisfied workforce is critical for business success and so we have made this a key part of our focus for the design process. For example, there is a landscaped grassy area overlooking the lake where staff will be able to take breaks al fresco when the weather is fine and where we plan to hold staff BBQs in summer. And the internal office space has been designed to take full advantage of inspiring views over rolling countryside. Even simple things like spacious personal lockers have been considered too. In today’s competitive job market, attracting and retaining the best staff is critical to business success and the quality of the working environment is an important consideration.
Focus on adaptability
As has often been said: ‘The only constant is change.’ And in today’s volatile world, that is even more true than ever. So, although we have a clear plan right now for how the space in our new facility will be used, we are mindful that in a few years, our needs may have changed. The facility is largely open plan and has been built in a way that means we will be able to adapt it quite easily if we want to in future, as we introduce new services and perhaps work in a different way as technologies evolve.
Focus on maintaining a competitive edge
In our new facility, we will offer an exceptional range of disciplines –product design, fabrication, machining, embedded software, electrics, electronics, hydraulics, 3D printing – all on one site.
It will be the only facility of its kind in the south west and one of very few anywhere in the UK to offer such a comprehensive range of services on one site. This means we can streamline and project manage the whole design and production process for clients and turn around projects faster.
The ambition to offer this compelling competitive proposition has been a driving principle of the whole project. It is not just bricks and mortar, it is critical to our competitive edge.
We believe that in building a new facility, we have built a new future for the business on very strong foundations.