AB Dynamics is a UK manufacturing success story. In 2014 SRA were commissioned to design a new headquarters for AB Dynamics and, for the last five years, we have worked with them to realise their ambition. The success of this working relationship along with their continued growth is such that this was followed by a second building, currently under construction, with a third building now in the early stages of design.
Based in Bradford-on-Avon, AB Dynamics design and manufacture advanced engineering systems for the automotive and technology sectors, exporting 98% of sales revenue. Their clients include the top 25 global automotive manufacturers and their products range from driving simulators, kinematics measurement equipment, moving target crash testing equipment and driverless robots as featured on television.
In May 2013 they listed on the London Stock Exchange reporting revenue of £12.17M for the year. Then, in early 2014, SRA were engaged to design a new headquarters for the 60 strong company to allow them to expand from their base in a 1960s industrial shed.
The challenge they set shines a light on some of the management strategies that have resulted in their success with the brief for the new headquarters having three key components:
Provide a high-quality working environment – good people and talent are a business’s biggest asset.
Provide a high level of adaptability for frequently changing needs – this has allowed them to react to their fast developing R&D and product lines.
Project an image as a global engineering manufacturer.
Rising to the challenge, SRA engaged in a collaborative but rigorous design development process along with AB Dynamics and the rest of the design team, resulting in the delivery of the headquarters building which was occupied by the end of 2017. This went on to win ‘Project of the Year’ at the Constructing Excellence South West awards and provided AB Dynamics with much needed capacity for further growth.
Throughout 2017 this growth continued with revenue rising to £24.6M as they took occupation of the new headquarters in Bradford-on-Avon with 2018 bringing further consolidation and success and an increase of nearly £12.5M, to £37.05M.
Reflecting this, their number of employees increased to over 200 staff, with the flexibility of the original design successfully able to adapt and accommodate these changes. The story of AB Dynamics’ continued success and growth led to SRA being commissioned to design a second building, their new design and development facility, which is currently under construction and due in the third quarter of 2020 with a new third facility for manufacturing in nearby Melksham due for delivery in 2021.
From the outset, founder and Chairman Tony Best, recognised that a company’s buildings make a statement about the organisation. He wanted buildings that communicated engineering excellence to everyone who visited; especially global engineering customers from overseas. The appearance of the headquarters is strikingly contemporary and, in Tony Best’s words,
This was echoed in the requirements for the second building which was to be ‘from the same stable’ as the first, unifying the two buildings to establish a campus feel and consolidate the image of the company.
AB Dynamics understand the importance and correlation of quality built assets and company image. They invested in their buildings to provide a quality working environment, attract talent and project their brand values to prospective clients. This foresight and ambition is surely part of the reason why they are a British engineering manufacturer performing on the global stage.