Zaun is currently celebrating its 20th Anniversary at what is the “leanest, greenest and keenest” point in the company’s history. The high security perimeter systems fencing manufacturer has reached its China Anniversary in rude health after bold investment decisions and innovations that sometimes ran against the grain.
Shrewd management, key contract developments, the support of clients and collaborators and a relentless focus on the customer have enabled Zaun to grow year on year since launching into the UK’s fencing market back in November 1996.
Co-founder and director Alastair Henman told Risk UK: “Trading conditions have been tough for a fair proportion of those 20 years, so we have had to innovate, invest and add more value to keep ahead and busy. Our ongoing investment in people, equipment and relationships has ensured that we have the most modern machinery and production software. This reduces wastage and speeds up production times, giving us the edge over the competition. Contractors have witnessed the change in emphasis and our commitment to customer care and strengthening relationships. They’re consequently collaborating on more projects with us.”
The business began on a small scale in Rupert Street, Birmingham, by importing mesh from Germany. A lack of space along with the lure of greater support from Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council tempted Zaun to its current five-acre site on Steel Drive to the north side of the city at around the time when the dot com bubble burst, sending shock waves through other sectors of the investment community.
Next followed investments in the depths of the post-credit crunch slump in the 44,000 sq ft multi-million pound Paul Holloway Manufacturing Facility that houses the world’s largest mesh weaving machine. This produces ArmaWeave, Zaun’s most intruder-resistant product for the high security market.
The past year has seen Zaun buy a new tube laser cutter, a further mesh welding line and engage in the automation of other key processes to further enhance its manufacturing capabilities and capacity as well as cut out waste.
Additional bailers and squashers have boosted recycling, while a new forklift truck has improved materials handling.
The new production equipment coupled with the process engineering brilliance of accomplished engineer Roberto Garziera – who has streamlined a series of processes and improved productivity and efficiencies in production – have helped make Zaun the “leanest manufacturer” in the perimeter systems market.
In recognition, Garziera has been elevated to Zaun’s Board of Directors as technical director. There have also been recent promotions for Chris Rowen (to operations director) and Chris Plimley, who has taken over the role of sales and marketing director.
New design software
Training for ‘shop floor’ staff has seen new welding qualifications for CE Marking and security-rated product manufacture. New 3D design software is replacing 2D throughout the business, in turn affording end customers clearer representations of designs, reducing errors and improving efficiencies.
Alastair Henman concluded: “The political, economic, technological and social environments have changed beyond recognition during the 20 years we’ve been in operation, but we have invested in the belief that we could produce innovative products that our customers would want. This philosophy has kept us ahead of the curve.”