SECOM’s Head of Physical Security Calvin Avery reflects on his journey building our Physical Division and recounts about the remarkable achievements they have accomplished over the years in making the department what they are today.
The Beginning – a 5 year plan
“When I took over the Physical Division 5 years ago, it was clear that I needed to identify where we needed to improve to become a successful part of SECOM. I was given the green light by the board to do what was necessary to transform Physical (with little to no investment). This gave me an opportunity to change fundamentally by using our initiative. I saw the need to build an entirely new division using the existing team and the framework that was in place at the time.
“I decided to put a 5-year plan together that needed targets to be hit on a yearly basis to achieve our goals. My team consists of 2 Administrators, 3 Engineers and 2 Designers. Without them I would not have been able to achieve my 5-year plan and they need to be acknowledged. The knowledge and longevity of my team was very apparent, just under utilised.
“Physical was known for gates, barriers, bollards and roller shutters and a few bespoke fabricated jobs. Our office was based near Maidstone and not very appealing. Hardly anybody knew where we were, or that we even existed (including our own staff!) My first thought was to redesign the interior of our building. I had engineers and the fabricators at my fingertips so it made sense to do everything ourselves. We painted every room and the exterior facade in our own time. Sometimes we would work till late at night as long as pizza was mentioned, and some weekends were thrown in. We built a meeting room and a large demo room. For new furniture we begged and borrowed anything we could get our hands and bought via ebay.
“One of the hardest things on our journey was to keep Physical going whilst all this work was going on. We opened a revamped Physical Division within 8 months to a rousing success. Whilst we were doing all this work, I could see that my team where re-energised and pumped, and I wanted that to continue. We had a meeting where I outlined that we were going to build on what we offered to our customers. Instead of offering 5 products we now offer over 50, and growing! It’s all about offering a service through innovation and commitment from my team.
The Middle – a new office
“Due to the success of what we had achieved over the first 2 and a half years, we were rewarded with a new unit in Rochester! The board employed an interior building company to build and decorate offices and a mezzanine. This took longer than expected due to the Covid 19 pandemic and I had to project manage the work as well as simultaneously move Physical in the right direction. From start to finish it took around a year, but it has all been worth it. We now have a large new workshop, a demo room and separate floors Physical and National Accounts which is also home to Internal Sales.
“Part of my role is to bring in new Physical products for SECOM. One product came to my attention: an Xpanda. It’s a sliding retractable gate that acts as a deterrent and is manufactured in South Africa. Instinctively we knew that when Covid 19 hit, this product would become invaluable; and so it proved to be! A well-known pharmaceutical company became a regular target in the high street, so we managed to install and secure over 250 Xpanda jobs during the pandemic. I’m very proud of my team in the way we handled that unfortunate time with the rules and restrictions put in place. I dealt with South Africa on a regular basis to make sure we had enough containers shipped over to keep up with the demand.
“The service Physical provided during this time was second to none. Because of that success we are now installing Xpandas for a large retail outlet. In this period I also brought in fire stopping and fire doors which over the years has grown substantially. Fire stopping products are used for compartmentation. They are unique and they can save lives; particularly in the light of what happened at Grenfell Tower. If the building had been fire stopped it would have saved so many lives. We have recently fire stopped hundreds of hotels throughout the UK and Ireland.
“I have recently discovered another new product that I am very excited to share, and believe will do very well. That is our new SECOM Physical Security Plantation Shutters. They are an amazing product that can complement the look of your property whilst keeping you safe and secure. Our shutters come in 5 standard colours, however we can do custom colours. The beauty of our shutters is that they can be installed internally or externally for windows and doors. They are extremely strong and versatile, providing total privacy, and with a flick of a finger you can allow as much or as little light as you like. It doesn’t matter if your property is new, old or under construction, we can tailor the install to meet your needs. These luxurious aluminium shutters are very high quality. They can be used everywhere within your property. They are weatherproof for patios and entertaining areas. They can even be used for wardrobes and accessorising areas.
“Because our shutters are so strong and secure, we have been asked to make the top floors of some properties into a safe area. This allows you to have peace of mind by simply installing an internal sliding shutter at the top of the stairwell or any other potential area that suits to protect you and your family. SECOM Physical offers a quality assured product with a 10-year guarantee. My team will survey free of charge and advise you on the best way to utilise your new luxury security shutters.
Not the end – a bright future
“I have achieved my 5-year plan and Physical is a well-established division within SECOM now. I think my team have been my biggest success. I need to thank them for all their help over the last 5 years because I would not have been able to achieve what I set out to do without them. My team and I are committed. We believe that Physical still has a long way to go and we believe that we will get bigger and better over the coming years.”
If you are considering having Physical Security to help give your property that extra level of protection, whether it’s for your business or your home, contact us to get a free quote/survey today. Our demo room is open to all!