AG Year in Review
Paving with Purpose
The Covid-19 pandemic struck fast and hard and had a profound impact on how we live and operate. Without warning, industries around the world were plunged into one of the most testing periods in their history.
The pace of change for the construction industry has been extreme as many companies faced a whole new set of challenges, including supply chain interruptions, increased lead times and significant skills shortages. New rules and restrictions relating to the pandemic exacerbated these challenges, forcing the industry to reframe the way we operated.
As a pioneering manufacturing company, which has been at the leading edge of hard landscaping solutions and building products for more than 60 years. Covid-19’s impact on our business was instant, but innovation and resourcefulness – two key components of our corporate DNA – have enabled us to not only survive but thrive. By investing in research and development and harnessing technology, we have been able to embrace these new challenges by adopting new processes and capabilities throughout the business.
As a third-generation family business that employs more than 230 people across eight locations meaning we were well placed to react quickly when the pandemic caused a nationwide shortage of building products such as steel, timber, bricks, and flagstones, subsequently increasing lead times to unprecedented levels. At AG we responded by quickly and safely introducing new shift-patterns and adding even more talent to the team to ensure we were able to continue delivering to our customers throughout the UK and Ireland.
We are committed to always going above and beyond for our staff and customers and have held family values at the core of our business since its conception 60 years ago. This deeply embedded philosophy has helped us win several prestigious accolades including the MPA’s Safer Management of Pedestrians on Site and Silver in the 2021 Energia Property and Construction Family Business of the Year awards. With everything that has happened since the first lockdown back in March 2020, it has been truly amazing for everyone at AG to be recognised in this manner, which is a testament to the outstanding work the team has been doing.
New Product Innovation
Our dedication to innovation has always been the primary driver of our success and throughout the past 12 months, we have continued to create a host of ground-breaking specialist building products:
- We have remained committed to playing our part in the development of a more sustainable construction industry evidenced by the introduction of our Enduur product enhancement process that improves the environmental performance of a wide range of our flagstones through the inclusion of our own Cement Replacement product as well as ensuring they stay cleaner for longer and are easier to maintain. Enduur is available in two levels, with Level 2 – available across our brand new Fiamma range – adding factory-applied surface protection.
- Fiamma is our most advanced product ever – a reconstituted flagstone resembling flamed granite that is aesthetically stunning, and a genuine alternative to natural stone.
- New government restrictions and the introduction of social distancing meant that firms had to change how they operated on site. The award-winning Machine Install Anchor Vertica®, for example, meets our new product development criteria of enabling construction to be better, faster, and safer. Thanks to this revolutionary technology, walls can now be built to virtually any height and in incredibly tight spaces, as well as being erected at near-vertical rise. This has significantly enhanced onsite health and safety standards and means site workers are now safer than they would otherwise have been when installing retaining walls manually. Plus, of course, it’s much faster to install too.
A Greener Future
We have continued to invest in the research and development of new environmentally friendly processes and products. This has included the creation of an inhouse sustainability team, solely dedicated to making our business more sustainable and energy efficient. As we start planning for 2022, we remain as committed as ever to reducing our carbon emissions and cutting down on unnecessary production outputs without compromising on the quality of our finished goods.
We have introduced a new wash plant at our Fivemiletown plant which created carbon savings of 51% in its first year and we have also switched to 100% renewable energy which has been a big selling point for our customers who want to source their specialist building products responsibly. This switch will enable us to reduce our Co2 levels by 1,500 tonnes per year.
We use recycled and reclaimed materials in our products and this is promoted on our packaging, social media, website, and brochures. By working with our employees, local community, customers, contractors, suppliers, and clients we have been able to have a positive impact on the environment which in turn led to us being awarded silver membership status within The Green Organisation, one of the UK’s leading environment groups.
Other examples of our dedication to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint include our plan to have a full electric/hybrid fleet by 2025 and our recent switch to bio-liquefied petroleum gas (bio-LPG) which has resulted in a decline of 70% in carbon emissions.
There is no denying that the past 12 months have presented new challenges to every business, including our own. However, every storm presents an opportunity to implement positive long-lasting change and that is what we have done throughout the pandemic.
Our business has already outlasted many economic peaks and troughs and our proven resilience, hard work, and commitment to delivering the best products to our customers will ensure we continue to learn, adapt and grow. We are looking to the new year with renewed confidence about what lies ahead.
We thank our colleagues for the exceptional work they have delivered throughout the pandemic.
To our customers, we thank you for your continued support and patience as we continue to navigate this new normal.