Lancaster security firm defies odds during pandemic with move into supermarket sector

FGH Security had been well established within the door supervision and events industry, but when Covid-19 struck in March last year, the business had to take drastic measures to ensure its survival.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:02 pm

The company, based at The White Cross Business Park lost 90 per cent of its work overnight when events including the Pokémon Go concert, LFC Premier League Parade, and Glastonbury started to cancel as a result of the pandemic.

The hospitality industry soon closed down entirely, and with three offices in Lancaster, Manchester and London, and a workforce of over 250, losing work would have had catastrophic consequences for the business.

The FGH senior management team had calculated that they could continue to cover the usual running costs of the business for about four months and the company developed a "survive until month five" mantra.

FGH Security was established in Lancaster in 2003.
FGH Security was established in Lancaster in 2003.

This was if the team cut their salaries by 50 per cent and all business vehicles were sold.

The entire FGH team then made the decision to reach out to over 1,000 businesses in new sectors, including supermarkets, to enquire about potential work.

The efforts paid off, and just two days later, FGH received an order to assist with security guards at 100 sites of a major supermarket, with work starting the next day.

The business drafted in extra help and remobilised its workforce, and by the next morning, they had covered 90 per cent of the stores already and had a plan to fulfil the rest. .

FGH also assisted companies in its network, running a training program for a small number of delivery partners to gain SIA Approved Contractor Status.

From here, the calls started rolling in and FGH aligned itself with over 250 leading supermarket stores.

The sudden influx of work however presented a problem for FGH, they could not fulfil it all alone, and neither could their existing network of 20 approved companies.

Peter Harrison, managing director at FGH Security knew that many security businesses found themselves in a similar situation due to the crisis and saw an opportunity.

He suggested that a group of security companies work together to deploy door supervisors at supermarkets.

The company managed to secure 1,500 jobs during the pandemic year.

The team set to work focusing on auditing new delivery partners, which included partnering with organisations that had been previously competitors, or with whom they had not spoken to for twenty years.

The company managed to secure over 175 companies within its new network, and 51 of them are currently working directly with the business as delivery partners.

The existing FGH team were also used in the new positions the supermarket contracts presented.

Screening officers had taken a break from screening and could now be found on Companies House, running insurance checks, or verifying certificates.

Security controllers from the festival team were brought in to control and record the hours worked across all the stores and security supervisors turned their hand to route planning.

FGH also assisted companies in its network, running a training program for a small number of delivery partners to gain SIA Approved Contractor Status.

This involved running a series of training sessions and sharing FGH developed materials and documents to help raise the industry standard.

The core FGH team found themselves self-isolating in the office together to see the new projects delivered, before taking over a local hotel which became the company HQ.

In total in the first 12 weeks of lockdown, the supermarkets serviced by FGH had more than 50 million visitors to them.

Now twelve months on, FGH has successfully secured the business, with a turnover of £11.4m and 1500 jobs secured.

Peter Harrison, managing director at FGH Security said: “Our total partners included 175 companies, many of whom would have gone out of business or been forced to make many redundancies.

"We are extremely proud of the work we achieved in 2020 and are so pleased that we kept so many people safe around the UK. The FGH team means the absolute world to me, and I am so proud to be where we are today.”

Established in 2003, FGH are trusted by global brands to keep their assets and millions of people safe every year.

They are the first and only manned security company in the UK to make it as a Times Top 100 Employer and are ranked as the 89th Best SME in the UK to work for.