From zero to £300M in just 6 years…
When personal development guru Earl Nightingale stated at a self-improvement conference that “We become what we think about all of the time,” one young man at the back of the audience blurted out “But I don’t want to be a girl!”
Positive statements, made to inspire, inform or educate can be twisted to mean something other than intended. And it is specifically for that reason that I am slightly nervous when announcing our goals at Amberstone for the next 3 years. Will I be misunderstood.
In announcing our intention to become the UK’s largest privately owned security solutions provider by 2025, will we be seen as braggards. I hope not! I am simply trying to explain how our company, which did not even exist in 2018, has gone from first year sales in 2019 of a respectable £14M to over £100M just three years later. And how, in just the next three years, we intend to triple that to £300M of profitable sales.
A wise man once said that to appreciate how far you have come, first you must remember where you started. In 2018 Cardinal Security fell into administration just two years after Jason Trigg, the Founder, had exited following an MBO by the management team. Jason returned to salvage what he could from the remnants of Cardinal in 2018. It was from the ashes of Cardinal that ultimately our new company, Amberstone Security, was created – the business I joined.
In the background, around that time, Jason had been developing some really exciting Ai technology-based security solutions at a separate business, Amberstone Technology. The objective was to use historical and live data to assess risks and predict what resources would be necessary to mitigate them appropriately. One hugely beneficial consequence of this approach was to make obsolescence obsolete! In other words, paying to have resources sitting idle “just in case they were needed” was to become a thing of the past.
So, when Cardinal fell, Jason’s vision was to put the guarding company and technology companies together to create something that had never been done before – using Ai to make sure the right people were in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. Eliminating obsolescence, and in the process making response more relevant and thereby improving service. This data-driven approach to security solutions was a hit almost straight out of the starting gate. And so Amberstone went from zero to £14M sales in half a year.
Now, as I said, the company has set a goal to hit £300M in profitable turnover by 2025. To achieve this, we are reorganising our business to better focus on the needs of individual customers…
Large security businesses have huge amounts of experience that they might deploy through perhaps retail and non-retail, but that is the limit of their distinction. And whilst that may have been OK once, the revolution in retail means that businesses are now far more complex and nuanced than ever before, even when operating in narrow omni-channel environments.
We don’t want to be a large behemoth of an organisation, where retail expertise in any one vertical is diluted by being spread across the entire organisation. To support customer growth, we see that a more specialise support service is necessary. We want to be respectful of the different facets of each clients’ business and ensure that they see an even greater level of service than they get now.
So Amberstone is enhancing its operations from singular horizontal integration to include vertical segmentation also. To do this we segment retail into five verticals. They are Grocery, Non-grocery, Distribution & Manufacturing, Fashion and Hospitality.
Each vertical will have its own senior director to whom the account lead will report, who themselves will be director or manager of the business supported by a team of colleagues.
In addition, Amberstone is creating a new Support Services Division that will work across vertical business units. This division will offer tailored support in areas such as IT and HR that again respects the differences between, say, a distribution business and a non-grocery retail business.
As new business verticals are established and expanded, there will be ever greater scope for clients to flex up or down based on their risk-based security models. The amount of manpower available to Amberstone, allocated on a risk-based analysis, will then offer ever greater flexibility in a whole host of areas. For example, that could be flexibility not only in terms of experience and qualifications, but also finessed to take account of familiarity with geographic location. It is obvious that keeping staff with local knowledge within their locale has potentially significant operational benefits.
The overall strategy of our new approach has been summed up in the company’s Strategy Statement for 2022 – 2025…
“To facilitate the right person, in the right place at the right time internally and externally, by using data to drive a risk-based approach to all business decisions and investments. Excellent customer service must be our number one priority, supporting client problem statements by taking a company values-based approach, every time.”
This development represents another big step forward for the industry. Just as risk-based security modelling drove down costs and increased service levels, so now we believe the introduction of this new working structure will bring even greater returns for all stakeholders.
It is an innovation of which we are very proud. One that we believe will allow us to support our customers’ growth and realise our own ambitions too.
It has become what WE think about, all of the time..!
Dan Hardy is Managing Director at Amberstone Security
For more information, visit www.amberstone.co.uk