Bates Office Services, a major supplier of office equipment and services based in Rochester, Kent, has diversified its business model to support healthcare services throughout COVID-19, having received a £3 million increase to its invoice finance facility from HSBC UK.
Bates Office Services has been supplying UK businesses, including the NHS, BBC Studios and public sector procurement services, with office supplies and services since 1982. As the coronavirus pandemic caused a surge in demand for vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the company completely shifted its business model to support the healthcare industry throughout the crisis.
The enhanced financial support from HSBC UK has allowed the company to quickly secure gowns, gloves, masks and hand sanitiser and meet urgent requests from NHS Trusts, local authorities and private sector businesses. Supporting both existing and many new clients, 85 per cent of the business’s sales are now of PPE.
The company is now beginning to take orders from offices preparing to return to work once the Government restrictions are lifted. Whilst it expects PPE and hand sanitiser sales to decrease as the UK moves out of the pandemic, Bates will look to implement its newly expanded business model permanently, continuing to support healthcare providers both with PPE and traditional office supplies going forward.
Jacki Edmonds, Director at Bates Office Services, said:
“As soon as we were approached by our NHS Trust clients, we were determined to do anything possible to provide the tools they needed to stay safe at work. Over 70 per cent of our usual sales are general office supplies, so this was a huge shift for us. We’ve been working around the clock to secure PPE and deliver it as quickly as possible to help protect our wonderful nurses, doctors and carers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support from HSBC UK. We’re extremely grateful to the team for processing our funding request quickly, which has not only enabled us to support the NHS but also helped keep the business trading throughout COVID-19, keeping our employees’ jobs secure.”
Having experienced first-hand the importance of supporting the healthcare industry at this time, the Bates team has also been providing voluntary services to hospitals by helping transport vital equipment and collect confidential waste free of charge.
Victoria Ritchie, Area Director for London City MME, HSBC UK, commented:
“Bates Office Services has shown incredible dedication and ingenuity in a time of great uncertainty for businesses. When our team was approached by Jacki for additional support, we were inspired by their dedication to supporting the NHS. We fast-tracked their request and were able to approve the invoice facility increase within four hours, ensuring the team could respond to the thousands of requests for PPE as quickly as possible. We applaud the company for their work during this time and look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with them going forward.”
Bates Office Services is headquartered in Kent but has a further four offices across the UK.
HSBC UK is working closely with the Government and UK Finance to identify emerging issues and make sure customers and businesses have the advice and support they need. For tips and advice for businesses around planning for any possible disruption, visit www.business.hsbc.com/novel-coronavirus.
The new measures build upon the package of support that HSBC UK has already announced for business customers.
- Launched BBILS, CBILS, CLBILS and CCFF
- Allocated £5bn to help businesses that need support
- Removed the £100 Small Business Loan fee to relieve the pressure faced by SMEs across the country
- Removed informal overdraft fees – As of 1st April we will no longer apply any Informal Overdraft fees
- Offering repayment holidays to free up cash within businesses
- Stopped all unauthorised overdraft charges
- Reviewing overdrafts or trade loans to allow stock to be held for longer
- Offering companies involved in the supply and manufacture of ventilators preferential pricing, extended repayment terms on loans and fast track approval times to support the unprecedented demand on UK hospitals.
- We have also extended that support to customers that can give immediate help to essential public services and vulnerable people. We are contacting clients involved in the manufacture and supply of Personal Protective Equipment to offer preferential finance and, where possible, the direct purchase of supplies and equipment for essential public services.
- We will also offer similar terms to clients involved in the wholesale of food.
- Our relationship managers have been proactively contacting customers to see what help their businesses need.
- We’ve launched a coronavirus helpline to support any customer queries and a dedicated coronavirus hub on our website.
- For businesses trading internationally:
- £3bn to importers and exporters that need additional support
- pre-approved 60-day extensions on trade loans for customers with a sound trade loan/financing record
- a one-hour turnaround on the issuance of Shipping Guarantees, enabling customers to transfer or receive goods from their counterparty faster
- a dedicated helpline that connects directly with trade finance specialists (0800 783 1300, open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday), in addition to the support being offered by relationship managers