Magenta Security provides high quality, bespoke security solutions to clients within the retail, healthcare and commercial sectors across the UK. Recently, Managing Director for Magenta Security, Abbey Petkar took time to tell us more about his role and the innovative work provided by the successful company.
Magenta Security provides high quality, bespoke security solutions to clients within the retail, healthcare and commercial sectors across the UK. With our head office in Hounslow, we also have operations in Birmingham, Kent, Swindon and Manchester. Our tailor-made security packages are devised to suit client’s individual requirements, and our service-based ethos ensures high levels of customer satisfaction.
On the topic of services, Magenta Security provides security officers, mobile services, as well as a range of bespoke security solutions. In addition to these services, our partnerships with external suppliers means we can provide a variety of additional services. Also, we hold ACS accreditation for security guarding, keyholding services and door supervision.
Magenta has grown 20% year on year by retaining existing customers, providing new services and winning new customers. However, this is just one of our headline statistics. Gross profit has increased 2% year on year. Magenta has a five-year growth plan which is based on the company growing organically. This will primarily focus on winning contracts for the operation of further sites for existing customers, and investing in marketing to help win new business.
As Managing Director of Magenta Security, I established Magenta Security Services with one security officer and one customer more than 22 years ago. Today, it is an award-winning company which is recognised as a leader in its field. Before setting up Magenta, I spent eight years at one of the UK’s largest security firms, rising from the role of security guard to middle management. However, I was unable to progress any further. Instead, I set up Magenta, providing me with an opportunity where I could make a real difference to the industry. People would be hired and promoted on merit – regardless of colour or gender, we would be CSR focused and deliver great value for customers. Ethics were also a key factor in the founding of Magenta, which is why I didn’t take any clients from my old role and built the business from scratch.
Throughout the years, I have worked hard – some might even say crusaded – to change the perception of the security industry through market leading initiatives. One of these was the publication of a whitepaper which offers businesses advice on selecting a security provider.
‘Managing Your Security’ looks at the key criteria businesses should consider when looking at a security provider including licensing, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and customer service. I wrote the whitepaper because I believe selecting a security company should go far beyond looking at how much it cost. The informative guide has given businesses the insight they need in order to make an informed decision.
Also, I have been dedicated to raising standards within the security industry by promoting key issues to a wider audience, talking on a wide range of issues; offering advice to other businesses and helping others implement best practice. Through this, my reach goes beyond the security industry, and my achievements have been recognised by the wider business community.
Two key issues in particular have been CSR and licensing. In both instances, I have and continue to lobby my peers, clients and even the government to improve standards. Whether it be voluntarily or through legislation, we must continue to improve in both areas. In terms of CSR, we should all be more environmentally friendly, we should all be more philanthropic, and these are issues I have raised time and again, whilst instilling into Magenta’s operations and ethos. As a result, CSR has become an integral part of Magenta’s business strategy. Magenta was the first manned guarding company to achieve ISO 14001, and since then has gone on to create a business founded on sustainability.
Security industry licensing on the other hand is a political minefield, but it cannot be ignored. As an industry, we are plagued by rouge operators and I see it in black and white. Clients need to understand the difference between the good and the bad, a better system of licensing can achieve that, and I will not stop lobbying for change. To achieve this, I have joined the security industry’s small business board – which focuses on achieving change at governmental level.
Such political matters don’t however get in the way of success, and I am delighted to say that Magenta has a portfolio of clients including embassies, educational establishments, heritage sites, blue chip organisations, healthcare and retail clients.
We have, for example, been working with a healthcare company since 2009 and recently extended the contract. We provide a variety of services including manned guarding, CCTV monitoring, key holding and patrol services. Also, we created a bespoke training package to enable its porters to gain security skills – including training to the SIA standard, customer service, fire safety and conflict management. Our staff have even been trained to understand medical gases and have medical training to be able to use them in case of an emergency.
In 2007, 2009, 2011 and again in 2013, Magenta won the contract to provide security services to the Royal Parks – a contract awarded by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Magenta is the sole supplier for the provision of security for all the Royal Parks and Cemetery, working in partnership with the Royal Park’s management, and liaising with the Metropolitan Police, to ensure a good visitor experience to the parks.
To achieve all this, I firmly place my team and their personal development at the heart of the business. Here at Magenta, we provide staff with on-going training, which allows security solutions and customer service to be combined effectively. Our staff are trained in Security and Customer Services. However, as each customer is different, we ensure our security guards receive specific training to work on the sites they operate on. Also, we consult with customers to see what training opportunities they would like the security guards to receive. Such an ongoing training programme allows us to achieve best practice and achieve customer care objectives.
Our training programme has major benefits for customers, as staff turnover is significantly
lower than the industry standard. Throughout our time in business, we have not lost a customer through poor service and this can be accredited to the training staff receive. Our client retention remains one of the highest in the industry – in fact more than 97% of clients remain with Magenta for at least three years.
Also, hot off the press, some of our latest include training to support organisations in light of the increased terror threat faced by the UK. This includes advice on how to keep buildings, individuals and customers safe. In support of this, I have committed to train staff as first aiders and fire marshals – training that has already resulted in the saving of one life and one business from a fire.
Such training is not aimed just at the clients. I recognise that it is also important growth for our team, which is why it is such an important part of our investment and staff retention strategy. In the last 10 years, Magenta has had a staff turnover of 9.7% – a figure well below the national average. In fact, during the last 12 months, Magenta has seen no changes to the management team make up.
At Magenta, we can attribute such a high retention level to the training, motivation and benefits we give employees. Some members of staff have been with the organisation since 1995. Since January, all new members of staff have passed their probation, settling in to their business roles and embarking on NVQ training.
Our staff are incentivised to stay with the company via a range of different schemes. Clients are issued with service certificates and gift vouchers, which they can award to the employees who have been outstanding. Customers issue the incentives to staff working on their site, and clients are also involved with the giving of long service awards. Also, I have worked closely with our team to source staff discounts with suppliers such as mobile phones, heating bills and travel.
I have personally and therefore, so has the company long been advocating for pensions for security guards, and taken measures which are seen as noteworthy in the security industry. Most simply, we pay employees higher rates to reflect the cost of living in a modern society.
It has always been my goal to put Magenta on the map as the beacon for high standards. Therefore, I have promoted the initiatives Magenta Security has introduced to help other companies achieve the same level of success. This influence is helping change the mindset of those choosing security services. Their choices then allow the sector to grow and improve for all. However, it goes beyond just the security industry, I have long been an advocate of internationally recognised standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, both of which have allowed us to work with clients and peers to achieve best practice for all. In fact, achieving ISO14001 is probably the high point of my career. We were the first company to do so in Europe, and it was so cutting edge that none of our customers or suppliers understood what we were doing. It was a challenge, but the end result has had a significant impact on the business.
Being selected for such a prestigious award is a real honour, not just for me but for Magenta as a whole. As a business, we do not attribute our success to one individual but to our team as a whole. This award therefore represents the input of many people and I thank them for their support throughout the years. It is this sense of team work I would impress on anyone else looking to succeed as a business leader. In the service industries in particular, it is people that count far more than anything else. Business owners and chief executives need to lead by example and demonstrate exemplary service levels if they want their staff to follow suit.
Here at Magenta, we don’t just try to improve our own business but those around us – offering advice for free to all those that ask – even peers and competitors. Such an attitude will make any business succeed, not just now but for years to come.