It’s our birthday! Oh how time flies when you’re having fun… The 17th of September marks our third year anniversary, and what better time to demonstrate our work, progress and of course, celebrate three years of supporting local businesses.
For those who may not know us, we’re a business support programme delivered by The University of Huddersfield, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). We provide strategic supply chain support to SMEs and associated services in the manufacturing sector.
Let’s start with the facts…
To date we can proudly say we’ve supported many manufacturing businesses, creating new jobs in the industry and working on multiple projects to develop and improve the performance of SMEs. I’m incredibly happy with the hard work and effort of the team, who have brought the programme a wide variety of expertise and knowledge.
– Steve Gregory, Head of regional engagement & Programme Director.
One of our success stories is how our team have evolved, from a small team of 4 to a solid group of 10 members. This means that we can say with confidence, that we have an even stronger industry experience and more supply chain experience.
Can we get three cheers for our original advisors: Steve Gregory, Rob Woollin and Ian Rhodes?
Since then, we’ve acquired some brilliant additions to our field team, including Peter McDowell, Richard Carr and Kelvin Roach. The other side of our team consists of Harry Govan (who has been with us for the duration), Mirek Raba (who still hasn’t been able to return from Poland – definitely a new angle on home working!), Paula Kennedy and Mel Comins (Some of us haven’t even met face to face yet!). You can view our full team and their roles here.
I joined the team in January 2021. After a long career in the Aerospace industry I was attracted by the idea of helping small businesses grow and achieve their potential. 8 months later I have had contact with about 60 companies and here are some of the recurring themes:
· Some want help with developing their business strategy
· Some want help with marketing
· Some want help with procurement and sourcing
· Some want help with implementing lean manufacturing
· Some want help with leadership – meaning letting go of the day-to-day for others to manage as they grow
· Some want help with preparing for external accreditation
· Some don’t know where to start
But all of them want business advice, which is where we can really help!
– Peter McDowell, Supply Chain Advisor.
Our Programme Journey
Like many, a huge and more recent adaptation for us, was how we adopted our support for companies during Covid. This includes the way we engage with them, implementing new office systems, new diagnostic recording and grant application paperwork. In consequence of the pandemic, is the way we have supported Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the wider region, with things such as PPE and health services supplies in addition to helping SMEs looking to diversify (having to or new opportunities).
In other news, addressing some of the new emerging issues in regards to applying technology in supply chains, is something that is becoming more popular every day. Therefore, our technology adoption strategy continues to develop in line with this demand. A range of new diagnostic tools that we offer free to companies, are available to identify areas of improvement, including the need for technology adoption.
Businesses are also looking at low carbon and green economy issues surrounding the ultimate goal of circular economy. For this reason, we are talking more and more about sustainability with companies, trying to demystify terminologies and ensuring that this area is at the top of our priority list. In result we have appointed a specialist in our team – Kelvin Roach.
We continue to support the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on webinars as well as other regional partners, and liaise with / introduce other LEP, ERDF supported programmes to businesses as appropriate. We have also positively affected the way the University works with businesses; as part of our offering we are able to introduce companies to the wide range of services and skills the University has to offer. As always, we enjoy the relationships we maintain with the growth managers across the region, in order to put business needs first; we’re all working towards one goal, and that is business support, so our connections remain vital.
And on that note, we want to say a huge thanks to everyone who works or has worked with us… here’s to helping more businesses as we move into our forth year!
Honestly, we’re not that bad – take it from them…
The project to collect machine performance data is seen as an initial step towards using data collection and analytics to enable our future objectives, including machine condition monitoring, as well as providing advanced diagnostics and intelligent problem resolution.
– Andrew Dawson, Operations Director, Siddall & Hilton Products Ltd.
Engagement with the University of Huddersfield kick-started innovation within our business and we couldn’t have broken into the rail sector without their support. We have really enjoyed our relationship with the University of Huddersfield and feel both parties have benefitted from the partnership. We’ve always found them very professional and genuinely excited about the innovation projects that we have carried out together.
– Simon Gibson, Managing Director, AUS.
I just wanted to say thank you for referring us onto manufacturing champions. It’s great to be working with Don and the speed at which grants are being approved is amazing.
– Chris, Visual Systems Ltd.
We are very grateful to the LEP and Huddersfield University for the grants, which will allow the Beechwood division to leap forwards immeasurably in terms of safety, quality, cost and delivery. The investment in the new machine alongside our investment in our people will ensure we can deliver huge benefits to our valued customers in the years to come.
– Howard Pickard, Managing Director, LBBC Beachwood.
We are passionate about the products we make and are continually looking to innovate with new products. The project undertaken with support from the Supply Chain Programme is to engage with an external consultant who will help us to prepare the data required to protect the Intellectual Property associated with a new product that we have in development.
– Andy Pedley, Founder, The Poured Project.