2023 at FIS Chemicals: The Year in Review
As the end of 2023 approaches, we caught up with FIS Chemicals Chief Executive Officer Kenny Woods to discuss the year from a FIS perspective.
• • •
FIS: The conclusion of another year at FIS is fast approaching — what are the key priorities across the FIS team as 2023 draws to a close?
Kenny: All areas of the business have been working hard to make sure FIS customers are supported right up until the festive holidays, and throughout. When the break comes, we place top priority on enjoying the time off — it's a great opportunity to rest, recharge and refocus as the new year begins.
We've got lots to look forward to next year, but we always want to ensure that our customers, new and established, are getting what they need and that the FIS team are feeling happy, healthy and energised. We've got a great group of people here, and we want to ensure that our positive workplace environment continues into 2024.
FIS: If you were going to summarise 2023 at FIS in three words, what would they be?
KW: Ambitious, Innovative, Safe.
I choose the last one because it's one of the most vital aspects of what we do — and I'm delighted to say we've had no incidents or accidents in 2023.
FIS: We've seen a few new faces arrive at FIS this year, what has the influx of new staff members brought to the wider team?
KW: We've definitely had a renewed youth, energy and freshness with the new additions to the FIS team — different levels of experience and backgrounds have offered us new ideas and perspective, which can be some of the most difficult things to produce on an ongoing basis. The younger members of our staff are also 'digital natives' and their understanding of IT, social media etc. is helpful (particularly when I have an issue with my mobile phone!)
There's a real sense that the younger generations are more health and environmentally conscious, and that's another refreshing aspect of it — even if it comes with some new lingo for us 'oldies' to learn and some terrible music in the office...
"Since 2020, we've brought new products to new markets, had our first sales in various countries and regions and continued a sustained focus on ESG and Net Zero targets. Smarter Chemistry."
FIS: Since taking over as Chief Executive Officer in 2020, what changes have you observed in the business?
KW: Since 2020, we've brought new products to new markets, had our first sales in various countries and regions and continued a sustained focus on ESG and Net Zero targets. Smarter Chemistry.
We've also broadened our sector focus — including the Marine sector, Industrial Cleaning and Waste, to name a few.
There have been challenges too — the big ones being the COVID pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine and ever-rising costs. These have led directly to supply chain issues and logistical puzzles to solve, but I'm really proud to say the FIS team have worked hard to adapt and work through them. We adjusted to the world of video meetings during the pandemic and now we can be flexible — still travelling to visit clients in person but always having the option of a Teams call when needed.
Those same supply chain issues have worked in the opposite way too — customers suddenly need suppliers and manufacturers that are closer to them, and we've gained business as a result. Parallel to this, we've established manufacturing bases in the US and Middle Eastern regions. Being closer to our growing customer base is a key priority for us and this will enable us to achieve that.
FIS: How are you spending the festive break?
KW: I'm looking forward to a festive break spent at home with my family — relaxing, enjoying good food and watching a bit of Christmas TV and, of course, the football.
I have an interesting Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) in store — I'll be in the office between Christmas and New Year, but then will be flying out to Thailand to see my eldest son for a week. He's been training at a mixed martial arts / muay thai boot camp for three months and will be competing on the evening of the 30th — so I hope we'll be able to see in 2024 together without any trips to A&E! It'll definitely be my first New Year's Eve with mosquitoes.
FIS: What are some of FIS' objectives for 2024?
KW: In some respects, more of the same — keep going, work hard, feed our sustainable growth and seize opportunities when they come.
As I touched upon earlier, we want to capitalise on our newly established presence in the US and Middle Eastern markets, offering localised manufacturing to customers and building up connections by supplying great products. This is an approach that we hope will yield opportunities to work with more clients in the Far East region too.
In terms of R&D, we want to continue developing new products that offer better solutions to customers and have effective application in a wider range of sectors. At the same time, we won't forget about our established customers in various industries, and we'll be looking to grow our presence in areas such as Marine and shipping.
We are interested in how acquisitions might help us expand the business too. If we see an opportunity that fits well with our business model and future plans, we'll explore it and see if it will add value to FIS Chemicals. Standing out and being 'special' in terms of our offering — our product range, R&D capability, service standards and responsiveness — will be crucial to achieving our goals and growing the business, and so we are always conscious of this in everything we do.
This growth will also likely result in some more new faces arriving, we're looking to expand the team in the right ways, with people who can make us even better as a group and more effective for our clients.
Lastly (but far from least!), our path to Net Zero will continue in 2024. We currently generate 40% of our energy requirements through on-site renewable energy, and we've reduced our on-site energy usage by 40% during 2023. We're now exploring options for expanding our PV solar array at FIS HQ and adding a battery storage system — a combination that would be capable of supplying 100% of our energy requirements. This would be a fantastic step forward, building on the good work we've already done.
For the latest news and updates from FIS, follow us on LinkedIn.