A reflection on 2022 and what’s in store for 2023

A reflection on 2022 and what’s in store for 2023

Jonathan Oldfield, MD of Riverside Waste Machinery

It’s certainly been a year of challenges and uncertainty, with many businesses having to really ‘dig deep’ in light of such adversity. 

However, there have been many positives in spite of the unrest, where employers have shown that flexibility towards staff, commitment to change and a true fighting spirit have shone through and led to continued successes.

At the start of the year, demand for goods and services remained high off the back of 2021, and the opening up of the economy following COVID restrictions. This was good to see, although the supply chain bottle necks which have been ongoing for a while didn’t recover as fast as the demand did, causing delays for businesses trying to obtain goods. The knock-on effect is that companies simply couldn’t sell their products to customers, or certainly not within tight timeframes. 

Add to this the highest inflation rise the country has seen in over 40 years, the unstable and ever-changing Government – Liz Truss lasting a record 44 days in office – and the terrible invasion of the Ukraine, the UK economy has really taken a battering. 

There have been low employment levels – at only 3.5% – which has seen many industries also struggle to fill new vacancies, meaning they don’t have a full team to carry out their services. 

On a positive note, employers have really kept that flexibility and trust going when it comes to their staff working in the new-look hybrid model, and the technology enabling this to occur without major headache has really seen the model change. 

Going into 2023, I don’t think the struggle for many industries is quite over – it’s still a tough hill to climb. 

However, the Bank of England has predicted that inflation may fall sharply by mid-2023 following its intervention, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out given the external factors such as the energy markets, rather than just domestic policy.  

Higher unemployment is predicted, along with ever-increasing energy prices, which make for sad reading. But there are still jobs out there for the taking too – we’re actually recruiting for a field services engineer to join our team right now!

I believe that we will see a return of the ‘fix or make do’ approach. Which, in the waste machinery industry is something that we strive to push companies towards in any event. Why invest in brand new items when what you have is repairable, a good asset and a strength to your business?

I don’t think the future is gloomy, although we would all welcome brighter days, let’s face it. 

As businesses continue to ‘get back to normal’ following the fallout of the pandemic, I hope that we see yet further resilience and growth in 2023 – and a bit less uncertainty!