Versatility is the key as Arrow hits target

Electronics company landing contracts with household-name businesses at the leading edge of 21st Century technology

THERE’S a hive of hi-tech activity, poised for commercial success at the Innovation Technology Centre on South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

In the last of a series of articles focusing on businesses now taking off after moving to the 24,000 sq ft technology incubator, run by leading UK innovation centre operator
Oxford Innovation, Industrial Editor BOB RAE talks to a growing electronics company working for businesses at the leading edge of technology.

VARIETY is definitely the spice of life for Innovation Technology Centre-based Arrow Technical.

The company, founded just over a dozen years ago by electronics expert Dr Chris Worrall, works for some of the world’s top technology companies on some of the world’s cutting-edge electronics products.

Microsoft, BAe, Rolls-Royce Aerospace and Morphy Richards have all made use of the Advanced Manufacturing Park company’s business expertise.

And while you won’t find Arrow’s name stamped on the outside, the electronics in one of the products you’ve owned or used could easily incorporate some of its handiwork. Drill controllers, air-conditioning systems, dimmers for street lights, remote controls, medical equipment, digital photo frames that download pictures from the internet, PDAs, automatic leak detectors, even alarms that stop prisoners hanging themselves in their cells – Arrow has worked on them all.

Dr Worrall, who himself worked or BAe and spent time in America and Hong Kong before realising a lifetime’s ambition to set up on his own, puts Arrow’s success is down to its versatility, broad technical capabilities and its ability to provide extra design capabilities as and when its customers need them. Lots of bigger companies have shrunk their R&D departments and now call on Arrow to fill the gaps as and when they appear.

Arrow also works for small companies with no design capabilities and has moved on from simply designing electronics to packaging them and even small-scale manufacturing. Contracts that involve developing completely new products help to keep Arrow at the forefront of what can be done.

“When we have a new project there is an element of research and that adds to the pool of knowledge we have here. Every new job we have involves picking new things up and applying them. As a result we have a very, very broad range of technical expertise and capability,” says Chris Worrall.

The demands of that sort of business mould Arrow’s recruitment policies. “When we look for people, we are not bothered about them having a brain full of facts, but they do have to have the ability to learn fast,” adds Dr Worrall.

Not all the products Arrow works on are new, but the company is always being asked to extend the envelope. “Sometimes people come to us with an existing product and ask us if we can maker it cheaper, make it better or cure a problem they have got with it,” he explains.

Most of Arrow’s customers are UKbased, but the firm has a big client in Ireland, has sold products to Germany and worked for companies in the US, Finland and Denmark.

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