Heras is Europe’s leading end-to-end supplier of permanent and mobile perimeter protection solutions. David Owen is the newly appointed Country Manager for Heras UK, having being Operations Director for two years previously. Warehouse & Logistics News caught up with David shortly after his new appointment was announced.
Congratulations on your new role, what is your biggest aim for your time in post?
Thank you. Firstly, it is a great privilege to take on the responsibility of leading Heras in the UK. Our strategy for succeeding in the current climate centres on delivering on our customer commitment. To be sharing our expertise with customers right from a project’s inception ensures the customer gets the right solution they need to protect what matters to them.
What are your best-known products/solutions/services?
The overarching aim of Heras is to be recognised as Europe’s premium perimeter protection brand – proven by our reliability, commitment and expertise. Our core services are broken down into the following categories: demarcation (fencing), entrance control (gates), detection (fence mounted protection) and service/repair. We have a material supply department which serves integrators, and a supply and install department which serves the contractor and end user.
Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?
We have a broad customer base as our solutions can be adapted to any industry. A great example of this is the fact that Heras’s perimeter protection systems are specified for a leading online retailer’s new distribution and warehousing hubs.
Noticeably, of late we are seeing a lot of industrial units going up which need protection not just from malicious intruders getting in, but also protecting the company and the people on site from health and safety risks. For example, a notable company has very recently redone their fencing because a member of the public broke in and fell from the roof, which made the company liable.
What are your most recent product innovations?
The most recent product innovation is the Delta gate, a sliding gate which is perfect for the Warehouse Logistics sectors as it provides fast opening and closing of up to 1m per second. It is available for widths up to 19m and it costs less to be serviced, upgraded or repaired (in the event of being struck or damaged), as components are replaceable.
Although it’s an innovation that was primarily designed to protect the perimeter of sites of national or strategic importance, our latest generation of perimeter intrusion detection systems (PIDS) is starting to come into more warehousing conversations – especially for sites where the value of stock holding is very high or it’s a manufacturing or processing site which is potentially more susceptible to being targeted by activists or protestors.
What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?
We are seeing a lot of volatility around the supply chain. This is impacting the way our customers are doing business. Also, end users are changing their approach to large capital expenditure. Before, when people were scoping prices and putting tenders in they would take the quoted price and there would be an assumed level of inflation. Now we are being asked to anticipate inflations over the next twelve months and build this into our budget expectations. This has clear challenges both in terms of trying to give accurate prices, whilst trying not to price yourself out of opportunities.
Are you investing in staff training and skills development?
Staff training and skills development is taken very seriously. Year to date we have spent £15,000 on staff training alone. This is to ensure our workforce is properly armed with the correct skillset so that we can deliver on our customer expectations in a safe and sustainable manner.
All our managers are now IOSH Managing Safely trained, all of our Project Managers and Survey Engineers have completed their SMSTS training. Upcoming in the remainder of the year; all of our Plant Red CPCS Trained Operator Cards will be upgraded to Plant CPCS Blue Competent Operator Cards. Every Installer will be CSCS Blue Skilled Worker qualified (this is a legal requirement for Lead Installers, however all our Labourers will have this too where the industry standard for them is just a Green Labourer card).
One final, and arguably the most important, point to make is Heras’s commitment to safety, and this is engrained in everything we do. This is one of the key metrics that Heras measures itself on. Everyone who works for us, either directly or indirectly, should expect to work in a safe environment. We are very proud that we were recently recognised by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) for going above and beyond in putting measures in place during the Covid pandemic to keep all our staff safe.