Family business, Panorama Antennas, is now in its third generation. With over 70 years’ experience, it is a leading designer and manufacturer of antennas for radio communication. In the Coronavirus pandemic it successfully adapted the business to quickly meet a surge in demand and comply with emerging safety guidelines.
The company’s continued commitment to cutting-edge research has ensured that its antennas meet the demands of forever evolving communication technologies. This enables Panorama Anntennas to keep its customers’ communication channels open even in the most challenging conditions.
Operating internationally, as well as in the UK, the company supports a wide variety of sectors including the emergency services, the education sector and energy and utilities companies – to name but a few.
Vital connectivity in the crisis
During the coronavirus pandemic, the company experienced an increase in demand for its products and solutions. The unprecedented challenges communities faced prompted fresh needs to arise, which the company’s products and solutions were quick and effective to resolve.
In Texas, as the State’s children adapted to home learning during the lockdown, Austin’s Independent School District fitted antennas to its school buses to provide Wi-Fi capabilities up to 200 feet. During the school day, the buses were parked in particular neighbourhoods to give schoolchildren access to free WI-FI to conduct their virtual learning studies. The success of this prompted other districts to adopt the approach.
Back in the UK as the Nightingale Hospitals were being built and working with a division of EE, the company provided 4G antennas in the temporary hospitals so patients could keep in touch with their families via a free WIFI.
To aid the COVID-19 testing programme in the US, Panorama Antennas supported those sites where testing was being done via ‘drive-throughs’ in supermarket car parks. The company provided ‘deployable network cases’ – a suitcase with a wireless lan network over 5G (creating a secure Wi-Fi bubble). This enabled the testing sites to upload their bar code readers’ data quickly and securely to the testing programme’s central HQ, irrespective of the strength of the internet connection in each location.
Adapting the business quickly
Faced with growth in demand at a time when the UK was also in lock-down (and COVID-secure guidance for business premises had yet to be published), Panorama Antennas had to work quickly to adapt its operations.
For its central factory, distribution centre and office in London, Panorama Antennas reviewed social distancing measures on a site by site basis. The office team migrated to working from home, whilst the factory and distribution centre had new sanitising and social distancing measures introduced and different rotas created to minimise the risk to employees.
And with sites across the world, the company successfully applied its COVID-secure approach to premises to comply with local territory regulations.
Drawing on strengths and the legacy of strategic planning
Reflecting on how the company was able to meet both new health and safety stipulations and an increase in sales so quickly, Panorama Antennas Director – Christopher Jesman – said,
‘It helped that one of the Directors had worked in the food production sector during his career. We were able to draw on his knowledge in applying stringent safety measures to manufacturing and distribution.”
“We were also well served by the infrastructure investment we’d already undertaken. In preparation for Brexit and potential changes in international trade tariffs, we’d recognised the need to be agile as more uncertainty was unfolding globally. It led to us to establish different sites around the world to broaden our supply base and trading options. We had also invested in a big IT networking programme which, when the pandemic unfolded at different times globally, greatly helped our global teams remain connected and work seamlessly.”
A passion for innovation and solving customers' needs
Commenting on the company’s approach, Shipleys Managing Principal – Simon Robinson – said,
“Since its inception in 1947, Panorama Antennas has always had an eye and passion for innovation. Keen to create solutions for customer needs as they evolve, the Jesman family has created a highly successful and strong business. The Directors’ strategic thinking and forward planning has greatly helped the company to adapt well and demonstrate exemplary agility – even in the unthinkable of a pandemic. We are delighted to have supported the business and the Jesman family over many, many years. Their ongoing commitment to supporting communities with innovative and often vital solutions, will no doubt leave an impressive, long-lasting legacy.”