When the directors at Bridgwater-based Aspen Services first heard about the scale and complexity of contracts at Hinkley Point C (HPC) they were initially sceptical about the scale of opportunities that could be available to local businesses.
With the help and support of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Supply Chain Team, they are now reaping the rewards.
Founded in 2001, Aspen Services is a specialist when it comes to commercial catering facilities, delivering top level design, installation and ongoing repair and maintenance to a wide range of customers including educational establishments and leisure outlets such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.
“We serve anywhere that has a commercial kitchen or catering operation,” says Gary Druitt, Director and Project Manager at Aspen Services.
The company currently employs 28 people, with 10 vans out on the road carrying out repairs and maintenance. Although based here in the South West, it is very much a nationally-focused business, with household-name clients throughout the UK such as supermarket chain Lidl.
Gary continues: “We’ve also just finished a project for the MOD at RAF Lyneham and have an excellent reputation for looking after customers of all shapes and sizes.”
Five years ago, Aspen’s management attended its very first HPC supply chain meeting in Minehead and around the same time joined the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.
“It was all part of our statement of intent that not only were we committed to supporting the HPC project, but also a demonstration that we were ready to do whatever was required to start bidding for the work packages,” says Gary.
“In truth, we were sceptical at the beginning as we thought the work would go to much larger companies rather than local people. But we could see the opportunities so we reached out to find out more.
“It was the beginning of a very long, but very rewarding, journey,” he adds.
Because of the nature of its work, Aspen has always been thorough when it comes to health and safety but for a contract at HPC it had to undergo many more processes in order to gain the necessary accreditations, including ConstructionLine, Exor and CQMS Safety-Scheme.
“I can’t tell you how many meetings, seminars and networking events we went to,” continues Gary. “It was a long, hard slog, but we were learning every step of the way and through the Supply Chain Team we were making all sorts of new connections to the project until, finally, we were in a position to go for some of the work packages.”
In the last two years Aspen Services has won no fewer than three contracts:
- Central Production Kitchen – supply and installation of catering equipment in new facility at Junction 24
- Supply and installation of catering equipment for the coffee shops in East West and North Buildings on HPC
- Maintenance contract for the catering equipment at Hinkley Campus (at HPC) and Sedgemoor Campus (in Bridgwater)
Gary says: “It goes to show how determination and perseverance are the key to success with HPC. My advice is to network as much as possible and look to the Supply Chain Team for help and guidance.”
Today, the after effects of the work Aspen has won at HPC extends beyond the construction project itself. Aspen’s achievements are benefitting the company’s business development activities outside of Hinkley and into other markets.
“We’ve definitely moved up significantly in terms of the value of projects we can now confidently bid for,” Gary says.
“We’re very proud of what we have achieved in the last five years and now, thanks to HPC, we’re ready to take our business to new heights.”
To find out more about Aspen Services click here