Vehicle and pedestrian control
Location: Bristol UK
Company website: http://www.avon-barrier.co.uk
The aim of Avon Barrier is a simple one – to provide a comprehensive solution to our clients, in the field of hostile vehicle mitigation solutions.
Formed by a group of engineers with considerable experience in vehicle control systems, Avon Barrier have developed a range of Vehicle Security Barriers that are categorized as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation solutions, independently impact tested to international standards (IWA 14-1, PAS 68 & ASTM 2656), our road blockers, gates, bollards and barriers are designed as counter terrorism measures protecting critical infrastructure against a hostile vehicle attack.
The business has evolved and developed into an authority in its specialist area and now protects embassies, government buildings, financial institutes, oil and gas headquarters, data centers, and numerous shopping centers and stadiums, around the world. Clients include the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office, Heathrow Airport, Total Oil, Shell Tower and the Bank of England.
By setting high standards of professionalism in its approach to providing solutions to its clients’ needs through thousands of successfully completed projects globally, Avon Barrier has gained an international reputation for quality project design, management, system implementation and aftersales support. Through existing contacts in Australia (DFAT) and Canada (GAC), Avon already has a strong Commonwealth footprint but are looking to expand. Recently they have had success in exporting systems to Singapore, Malaysia India and Nigeria and are ready to take advantage of further opportunities.
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How did the idea for your company come about?
We have been going for nearly 30 years so it is more evolution than anything else but we do have a desire to provide solutions for some of the world’s worst problems and feel proud to be able to provide protection (albeit limited0 against terrorist attacks.
What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Cashflow has always been the issue whether it is expanding or contracting.
What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Time to identify real opportunities and then be able to focus on them, inviting the world into your business creates a lot of traffic.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your company?
Become a genuinely international company, we are not a UK exporter so much as an International Business with its head office in the UK. Getting the mindset right for the business is critical to succeed in the international arena.
What has been your most exciting project so far?
We designed and installed the vehicle toll plaza’s on the Jamuna Bridge Project in Central Bangladesh some years ago, the project was described locally as the Miracle of the Jamuna Bridge
Have you been able to measure how effective the Avon Barrior products are?
We undertake testing against vehicle impact (7500kg at 80kph) as well as ballistic testing to BR6 and BR7 and blast testing (100kg explosives).
How did you hear about the CommonwealthFirst programme and what made you apply?
UKTI local rep was told about the initiative and passed the details to us to apply, we already work internationally and certainly with Commonwealth members so the fit seemed right.
What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
We hope to be able to contribute some of our experience as well as take out some of the international links.
What is a typical working day for you?
Start at 8.30 finish at 7.00 and then the usual continuous email / WhatsApp / text streams out of hours
Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
We will be the biggest in our specialist market and the market leader in physical protection against terrorist attacks.
What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Be prepared to live and breath the business and ensure that you employ good calibre younger staff that you can (and must) delegate to. The right calibre must be able to mirror your own work ethic.
Is there anything exciting you would like to share?
We are working on a major high profile European project at present but we cannot explain further as most of our projects need to remain confidential.