Merry Christmas from HallMark!

Hi All

I was returning yesterday from London where we had just given a Christmas Eve Eve (!) presentation to a major retailer. When I got to Paddington I saw a number of Christmas messages coming from various HallMark managers to their teams. It’s so uplifting to see colleagues prepared to put their personality and individual good wishes into messages which are a bit different from the standard ‘Christmas bauble and candle’ e-cards.

Anyway with the presentation out of the way, I wanted to drop a note to everyone as well, to add my thanks, and to give a traditional wrap-up of the year.

It certainly has been another busy year for everyone. That’s a good problem to have, and if we want to achieve the aim of being highest trust compliance services company working across the broadest range of applications in the food sector, (and all the opportunities that affords our people), then there is still a lot of work to do.

You may not hear so much about the business development front but it’s been all hands to the pump this year. Of course the FSA tender has been the big one, but we shouldn’t forget that we delivered 43 bids this year with an 82% success rate (well done the bid teams – the effort which goes into these is pretty substantial – we had at least 10 people working on the retailer bid which was about 250 pages shorter than the FSA tender!); we are looking at more acquisitions, small and large, which will come to fruition in 2017; and our partner network (organisations which we are working with on a contract) is well over 40 right across the agricultural, food, scientific and educational sectors. We’ve also invested significantly in the things we need for a larger, diverse and more data driven organisation – financial and people management, and particularly new technology. You may also have seen we’ve dipped our foot into the waters of social media, which is definitely raising our profile – thanks to Ellen (our Agriculture Team Intern) who tells me our Facebook page visits have gone up 822% in a week. I guess that’s a good thing (!) – because we will be communicating much more in 2017, and there’s a lot to talk about.

Given what we’ve seen in 2016, I hesitate to predict what may happen in 2017, but given the work we have done over the last few years, I think we’re in a strong position – lots of ideas, a terrific track-record, great people, and we’re ahead of the game with our technology. We’ve invested at the right time, and I’m very positive that it will work out well, and perhaps better than we might imagine.

Once again, thank you to all, and I would like to wish you and your families a peaceful and happy Christmas.

John Gerard – Managing Director.

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