Tough market, tough decisions, tough outlook
It is with some regret that I see yet another (inevitable?) demise of a long-standing and well respected UK system builder.
I know that over the years Richard and his senior management did pretty well for themselves, their business and their employees.
He has employed a lot of people, and contributed a lot to his local economy. However, this event is more than "just" about the demise of HCI (although it was a significant event and had a huge impact), there are a dozen other contributing factors, most of them 'global' i.e. competition from global Goliaths (and not always 'fair' competition, and often the source of this inequity was a structural failing of the marketplace where many believed and still believe that the Tier1 giants enjoyed huge advantages that were not always 'fair' and that the authorities have been slow to confront), who had and still have the economic muscle to compete on a scale still woefully misunderstood by the whole local industry, these factors where there for all to see. If there is any criticism it is a failure to adapt, evolve and move the business model on should have been accelerated years ago, so there are many contributory factors, many of which I believe were entirely outside of his control. I wish them well under their new guise, but if it more of the same, I expect this phoenix like-rise to be fairly short. It was a little surprising to see the new tie-up, but one can only hope that they have a clear vision of what they will do in the future, at the very least there can be no illusions of what they have to do to be successful again.
In the meantime, let's give Richard the credit he is due, he has risked everything over time to build a business that was successful for a very long time, and will still be attempting to employ a lot of local people. So many of the criticisms I have seen here and elsewhere are in my opinion entirely unwarranted, if you think that you could have done better or he should have done better, perhaps you should try and achieve what he did over the years, perhaps then you would understand the other side of the coin.
I haven't spoken to Richard in a very long time, so if by any chance he or any employees, ex-employees read this post, I wish you all the very best of luck in the future.