TFM Networks is this year celebrating twenty years in business, having launched as Technology Facility Management Ltd in 1995.
The Buckinghamshire-based business specialised in hospitality and retail in its early years, redesigning networks for the likes of Travelodge and Officers Club, building the first check-in network system for Premier Inn.
However, on 11th September 2001, with the ink still drying on a deal with a major US hospitality chain, the hotel industry collapsed almost overnight, threatening to take TFM with it.
“Despite all the fantastic work we’d completed for major clients, the acquisition we made on 10th September was rocked by the terrible events of the following day,” says Tom Yates, Chairman and Co-Founder of TFM. “The US hotel market crash almost put us out of business and we had to sell many of our major assets and downsize in order to survive. Despite turning over millions the year before, we were reduced to just six staff and back to square one financially, turning over under £200,000 that year.”
After a period of consolidation, the company was reborn in 2003 as TFM Networks, developing a scalable MPLS solution over broadband with Tiscali. The business was also quick to recognise the imminent rise of Chip and PIN and how this would create a need for faster, always-connected networks in the retail world.
A UK-first followed in 2006 as TFM Networks installed the first QoS-enabled broadband MPLS VPN, for high-street fashion retailer H&M. This guaranteed a consistent high quality service that the retailer could depend on. TFM’s growth subsequently accelerated and the company continues to go from strength to strength.
Stewart Yates, CEO of TFM Networks, comments: “We have come a long way since we began in 1995. Our ability to adapt and committed people got us through a continually evolving technological and economic landscape not to mention the worst terrorist attack and economic recession in living memory and we now stand as one of the leading business-only network providers in the country. We remain a proud family-run business that continues to deliver networks that have helped UK businesses grow immeasurably over the last decade.
“We’re already preparing business for the next wave of challenges we will face as communications technology and our online activity continues to dominate our lives. Growing online demands are driving the expansion of networks requiring more data intensive networks and the expansion of IP addressing into v6. We’re also embracing what’s known as the Internet of Things, a world of interconnected smart devices that will automate a variety of services for business and consumers alike. We’re looking forward to the next twenty years in a rapidly evolving industry.”