Life begins at 40

Barton Petroleum 40th anniversary
Staff join managing director, Richard Burton to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary
On a recent visit to Barton Petroleum’s Wellingborough head office, features writer, Liz Boardman learned more about managing director, Richard Burton’s plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary and inject new life into the company. 
Moving with the times
Having celebrated Barton’s 40th anniversary in style at an Oxfordshire hotel in September, Richard is keen to move Barton Petroleum forward and has recently reorganised the company. “Business is difficult, conditions are tough and the industry as a whole faces fresh challenges every day.  We feel that by reorganising, we’re better placed to deal with those challenges, and I am pleased to say that we are already seeing the benefits.”
The company has increased sales resource appointing two new sales account managers and promoting Kevin Day to business development manager. Kevin has collective responsibility for sales over the entire company and is currently assembling a new team to strengthen this area of the business. In addition there are new depot managers at three out of the four depots, all of whom have come through the ranks. Steve Moulin is Leicester’s new manager, Mark Gamble takes the reigns at Wellingborough and Mark Varley has been promoted at Watford. Clive Morin has been also been promoted to develop the company’s key relationships with suppliers as well as taking overall responsibility for managing credit.
“We have some long-standing employees at Barton, and where possible, prefer to promote existing staff to new roles,” said Richard. “We’ve got a great team here and a very loyal customer base.”
Acquisitions, however, are not currently on the agenda. Richard admitted: “I’m not crazy about acquisitions. I would much rather grow the business organically from our own depots, however we will continue to evaluate opportunities as they arise.”
In line with the new changes, Barton is relaunching its website to enable domestic customers to order and pay online.

Barton Petroleum 40th anniversary
Barton Petroleum tanker

From small beginnings
Barton Petroleum was founded in 1972 by Richard’s father, Donald Burton and fellow Samaritan and friend, Roger Toseland. Having worked in the oil industry all of his life and having turned down an earlier opportunity to run his own business, Donald jumped at the chance to strike out on his own.
The company began life at a Portakabin on an industrial estate in Wellingborough. It now services the M1 London to Nottingham corridor from four thriving depots – Leicester, Oakley,Watfordand Wellingborough. Collectively, the depots have over four million litres of storage and supply approximately 100 million litres of fuel each year to the domestic, industrial and agricultural markets. Ideally located some 20 miles from Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, Barton also supplies a number of high profile teams, including Red Bull and Cosworth.
A way of life
Donald retired in 1996 when his son took over the reigns as managing director. Richard however, was actively involved with the business from a very early age. At 12 he would see in the night loads, make tea for the drivers, lock up and hitch a lift back home on the tanker. Having entered the business formally some years later, as a yard boy at the Watford depot, Richard then took a break to go to university. Keen to gain experience at one of the majors, Richard worked at BP for two years until he was called back to Barton by his father.
Continuity of supply
Like fuels, the supply of lubricants has also grown over the years and the company now distributes half a million litres per year. Barton is supplied principally by Morris Lubricants. “We have a long-standing relationship with them. They’ve been there right from the start, are a great company and over the years have become good friends,” explained Richard.
“Having the right suppliers and receiving excellent service is essential to our business.” Not only has the company forged a good relationship with its main lubricants supplier but also its fuel supplier – Phillips 66. Barton has been an authorised distributor for the Jet brand since 2007. “Security of supply is key,” added Richard, who lost 50% of his suppliers overnight as a result of the Buncefield incident in 2005. “We look forward to developing our relationship further with Phillips 66, particularly as they are now a focused downstream organisation.  We value their excellent service and close understanding of our business.”