2021: a year of looking after staff and customers
You’d be forgiven for thinking it had been a tough year, with pandemic restrictions and increased logistics hurdles to contend with. But our teams expanded to meet demand, our brand and website got a refresh and we rose to meet all the challenges thrown at us. Read on to see how we’ve maintained our company culture and continued to meet customer needs throughout 2021…
New faces, new look, same level of service
You’ll have noticed we look a little different than we did at the start of the year. In early 2021, we went through the process of updating our brand and the results have gone far beyond simply an improved logo and colour scheme.
The new designs and layouts across our website, literature and exhibition stands work in two ways. Firstly, they are far more engaging, helping customers to understand what we do and find what they need more quickly. And, secondly, they instil everyone at aae technologies with more confidence and motivation than ever– in everything we produce and our approach to customer service.
We’re still the company you know, trust and respect, and we still have the same keen interest in what customers need from us. We’re just using our branding to more clearly convey our dedication, expertise and high standards.
Watching the company evolve and expand
We’re pleased to say most demand for our products comes from the renewable energy industry. With the world’s focus shifting away from fossil fuels, this is a constantly growing sector that will only see increased demand over the coming years. To keep pace with this demand for our products, we invested in growing two of our most vital assets: our workplace and our people.
With sales in Geophysical products this year more than doubling, we’ve expanded our workshop space to accommodate the necessary increase in production capacity and ensure we continue to satisfy customers’ needs.
We’ve also welcomed several new additions across all our teams, both in production and administration. Design engineers, a product manager, senior support engineer, quality control expert, sales staff and workshop technicians across all levels were included in this year’s new draft, bringing extra enthusiasm and range to our expertise and delivery.
Putting ourselves on display
Our new branding has been really put through its paces since Covid restrictions eased and in-person events started up again. The striking new expo stand marked a huge step up in our physical presence at these events, presenting our products in a dynamic, professional way and leaving a lasting impression on both prospective and existing customers.
This gave Paul Griffiths, our new business development manager, and the whole sales team the perfect platform from which to showcase our products, services and our company values. With his established industry relationships, Paul has loved getting out to meet everyone again, and with the rest of the team has wasted no time in catching up with old faces, making new friends and strengthening our position in our sector. Make sure you spare them a few minutes when you see them at the next industry event!
Pushing new innovations
This year saw a number of product improvements, which either directly addressed clients’ needs or gave clients new capabilities and improved functionality.
Here’s a quick run-down of what’s new:
In March, we were able to make mechanical changes to the 1519 to increase its load rating from 75Kg to 125Kg. This meant clients could release higher loads in shallow water applications.
In June, we waved goodbye to the 1319A and 1219A to make way for our new Micro Beacons: the 1329A and 1329D. Improved electronics and larger batteries combine to give longer operational life and the option for accurate depth aiding.
This Autumn, we added extra battery packs to our submersible BPK range to give greater flexibility for a variety of operations where remote power is required.
BPK-2470 is a rechargeable 3000m rated 24V 7A/H submersible power pack, while the BPK-2418 is a more compact 1.8AH version that can operate at the same depth and voltage. Both can give emergency power to a lost ROV/AUV locator beacon – doubling the listening/operational life for a 1100 series Mini Beacon for example – allowing sufficient time for the equipment to be recovered in the event of a power loss.
As ever, we can create custom solutions to suit client needs alongside our standard submersible power solutions.
December saw a significant milestone when we manufactured and sold our 100th MiniPod. We made significant changes to the RF protocol across our range, increasing the data throughput and allowing more MiniPods to be used simultaneously. The network can now also be monitored from multiple locations within range using additional RFR-101G receivers.
The optional addition on the 101GA of a Micro AHRS module allows the MiniPod to output its heading, pitch and roll to give higher accuracy on surveys.
All new MiniPods from 2022 onwards will have the new protocol enabled and upgrades are available for MiniPods already in the field. Please contact technical support for further information.
The big launch for us this year was Pyxis, our latest generation INS & USBL system – combining all our experience and expertise in USBL technology with an advanced inertial navigation system. As a flagship new product, we know the specs it needs to perform at, as well as the use cases and markets where it’ll be most effective, and our continual testing of the system reflects our quality, rigour and attention to details. Feel free to ask us for more information and find out how Pyxis could be just what you need on your project.
Meeting challenges, maintaining commitment
The many issues we faced through Covid and Brexit were also shared by our customers. Covid has led to personnel issues across the country, while Brexit meant shipping and logistics became a lot more complicated and admin-heavy. But we stayed healthy, invested in thorough training for our staff and remained on top of the entire process to ensure business flowed smoothly.
As well as items taking more time to reach us, and costing more to ship, we also had to contend with increased costs of metal and components across the board. And all the above issues have of course led to increased lead times on all projects. While we can take comfort from the fact we’re not alone in this, and these issues do have knock-on effects on our delivery, we are confident we’ve done everything in our power to minimise the impact to our customers.
From increasing our levels of stock, so we don’t have to worry about components running out, to taking on extra staff, expanding our workshop space and doubling down on our commitment to our values in customer service, we’re doing all we can to reduce potential disruption for our clients and maintain our commitment to their needs.
Driving forward into 2022
If we had to pick out one particular take-away from looking back over 2021, it would be an overall impression of progress. We’re not standing still. We’re adapting, taking on new challenges, improving our products, designing new products, and allowing our team to use their skills and growing the company in the right way.
But most importantly of all, we’re still listening to customers and working with them. Everyone has different needs, and different problems to solve, each to their own environment and objectives. We love working with that, taking problems and finding solutions.
The unifying force behind everything we do is the commitment, willingness and drive to be creative with our clients and produce the perfect products to meet their specific needs – and perhaps in the process creating something that the industry hasn’t seen before.
It’s going to be another exciting twelve months ahead. If we don’t speak or see you before the start of 2022 – have a very Happy New Year!
Struggling with your existing equipment?
Talk to us today, or maybe check out our up-to-date range of acoustic positioning and geophysical equipment.