Made in Britain: Warrior Doors

What does your company do? What products services does it provide?
Warrior Doors specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of high quality security doors and panels for social housing communal entrances, high value retail businesses and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) projects.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
I’m a carpenter and joiner by trade, and I used to spend much of my time maintaining and repairing damaged doors and entrances in social housing buildings. That gave me insight first-hand into how the lack of security and constant threat of anti-social behaviour impacts on the wellbeing of residents.

I understood the weaknesses in the design, materials and structure of the majority of these doors and decided that I could provide a much better, cost-effective longer life product and substantially improve the safety and security of social housing tenants.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
The company started in April 1997 as Sure Lock Home Security Doors and Windows Ltd, but over a period of time there was confusion in the market with lock manufacturer with a similar name, so in 2012 the company was renamed and branded Warrior Doors.

In the beginning, we got help and advice from Business Link. We’ve since accessed help from a number of advice and funding schemes.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
The primary objective in setting up the company was to protect tenants by providing high security communal entrances in social housing, at affordable prices for housing associations and local authority landlords, and we are achieving this. We’re constantly reviewing designs, materials and structure, as we are always looking to improve what we do.

We have also expanded into other sectors including High Value Retailers – particularly jewellers – and Critical National Infrastructure, and we are proud to have made doors that have successfully protected people and property in attempted armed robberies and in the Birmingham riots of 2011.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge has been sustaining and growing the business through such a long and deep recession. We’ve had to adapt and improve business processes to better manage internal resources and suppliers to fulfil customer needs. This has been one of the main drivers for us to invest in equipment and take more control of our manufacturing processes.

We’re a family business and that can create its own unique pressures and challenges, but at Warrior Doors, we’ve shared the responsibilities and stresses and worked together to reassess our business objectives, to develop plans to survive and grow stronger.

How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Without a doubt, it’s our quality and value for money. We genuinely strive to – and believe we do – make and install the best, most resilient high security doors for the social housing market.

What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
There isn’t one single decision, but there are a few things that have made a huge difference.
We have welcomed advice and guidance from experienced people including the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), GrowthAccelerator and HSBC who have helped us to obtain grants and aided us in planning more strategically.

We submitted our products for rigorous security testing by BRE Global which was a huge commitment that we couldn’t have made without the financial assistance. I don’t think we realised just how good the doors were until we had them tested. Once this became apparent it enabled us to promote our products in markets that specify doors that are proven in high security performance tests.

For anyone else looking for financial advice and guidance, I’d recommend the Business is GREAT campaign, which offers a range of information, inspiration and support for businesses to take the next step in their growth journey.

Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
We’ve recently moved to premises double the size of our previous factory and we’ve invested in new equipment including a state of the art tube laser cutter and powder coating plant. We’ve only be able to do this with the assistance and sound advice from the MAS and HSBC and the grants that have helped fund our expansion. We want to continue to grow in the next twelve months, because the more doors we install the more people will be protected.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be clear about the business you want to develop – ideally you will be passionate about it, because sometimes it seems it’s only the enthusiasm and willpower that helps you through.
Take advice from experts; you may know your business but they may be better equipped to help you plan and organise the supporting processes and foundations that will overcome – or even prevent – some of the pitfalls.

SME’s are the backbone of the UK economy, and the government is offering assistance through a range of schemes to help entrepreneurs succeed. Investigate and take advice to see what is available – it could be the difference between failing or succeeding, particularly when times are tough.

What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
There are two things; firstly, creating employment – it is particularly pleasing to give jobs to local people. Secondly, producing high quality security doors that make a real difference to people’s lives. It’s very rewarding to know that Warrior High Security Doors reduce fear by protecting vulnerable tenants and families in social housing properties. It’s also good to know that our doors have thwarted and helped capture armed robbers, and prevented theft and damage.