Thursday, 30 May 2013

Supply Chain Collaboration Opportunities

A new collaboration of business, educational and professional bodies is being launched on the 25th of June this month at the University of Chester’s Warrington Campus. The Warrington School of Management (University of Chester), Warrington Collegiate, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (North-West branch), Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (North-Wales and Cheshire branch), together with the Birchwood Forum are working together to create a forum to share best practice on supply chain operations and allow businesses to discuss commercial opportunities.

At this breakfast event, which considers the streamlining of supply chains, an expert panel discussion follows on from presentations by Aidan Manley, Executive Director of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership support team and Nick Smart, UK Supply Chain Director for the Brakes Group. The Brakes Group are currently in the process of establishing large-scale operations at the new Omega site.
Professor Lawrence Bellamy of the Warrington School of Management said, “Supply Chains are at the heart of the economic success of the Cheshire and Warrington region and if the region is to continue to prosper it needs to stay ahead of the competition. This forum provides a platform for businesses to get involved by sharing knowledge and discussing best practice.”

Susan Spibey of the Birchwood Forum in Warrington, who originally identified the need for a strong regional supply chain forum noted, “We are not just here to consider supply chains and how to get the best from them, but also to encourage businesses to do business by sharing their opportunities with participants. We will be inviting leading regional businesses to talk about their achievements and also to say how other businesses can work with them at future events.”

Forthcoming events will be hosted by forum founders and business participants and will be based upon areas of essential knowledge such as legislation, technology, strategy and resource management. Parties interested in attending may contact for further information on this first event.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Go German for Growth

They employ around 50% of the working population of the UK, have been instrumental in making the German economy the powerhouse of Europe and are seen as the greatest single hope for pushing the UK economy out of the financial crisis. Who are they? SMEs. ‘Small and Medium Enterprises’, companies who are independent and employ up to 250 workers. Warrington and region is blessed with large leading organisations in the logistics, automotive, pharmaceuticals, energy and chemicals sectors. Larger firms often benefit from high-level government intervention, but SMEs are left lacking support. For anyone who talks to SMEs regularly then the obstacle of finance is frequently cited as preventing them from growing into larger firms (for those that want to grow that is!). Why is this the case when interest rates are low and the banks have had cash injections to make funds available for investment? It seems that lending criteria are still a barrier and banks restrictive. In Germany, bank lending to the ‘Mittelstand’ companies of the country, high-tech SMEs at the backbone of the economy, is proving to be highly profitable. And the bond markets are tapping into this too. The UK government (with taxpayer’s money) now owns (and therefore controls) bank stock. Why can’t our SME’s have the same opportunity? It’s just good business.

Industrial Reincarnation in Action

The job losses and relocation of operations at large firms with regional sites, such as at AstraZeneca and Shell Thornton can be devastating to local supply chains and their communities. However it is not always the case, as it was for much of the coal industry, that these losses are terminal. It may simply be that re-creation is awaiting. Large specialist operations require a highly skilled workforce and have facilities that may often lend themselves to other productive activities.

The historic demise of British Nuclear Fuels Limited and break-up and sales of the groups resulting signaled the disbandment of an industry, with mainly legacy activities remaining. However wind the clock forward from 2006 to now and it is the case that this region has a world-class Nuclear industry cluster resurgent. As for operational sites Daresbury has moved on to become a great science park and (Shell) Thornton Heath most recently a University faculty development. To make this re-creation happen then the provision of a skilled workforce, suitable facilities and good communications is critical to attract investment and the Warrington area has this advantage over many other regions: for the moment anyway. The question is how to stay ahead of the pack?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Knowledge Action Network

The power of working together

Here at the University of Chester we know that small businesses are at the heart of the UK economy, with creative, innovative and entrepreneurial idea. However, we understand that while setting up and developing your business you face huge obstacles and challenges. Through our work with small business we have found that, when business owners work together to share, support and network, It sparks creative and innovative thinking which is a catalyst for growth.

The Knowledge Action Network (KAN) has been developed though this understanding of SMEs and the issues they face. It provides a platform for small business owners to work with our experts and each other to innovate and grow. 

We know that this approach works, and we are ready to take action and grow with you!

What will you and your business gain?

ll An individual diagnostic to uncover your innovation needs. This stays with you throughout your journey and measures your growth so that you are able to reflect upon what you have achieved.
ll Four hours of individual expert coaching.
ll Membership of a Knowledge Action Group including access to experts and support from peer companies.
ll Membership of the Knowledge Action Network with networking and trading opportunities of over 200 companies.
ll 24/7 access to online support and materials.
ll Growth! We aims to help your business grow, and all our activates will be focused towards this goal.
ll ZERO cost – Eligible companies are fully funded to participate in the project.

What is your commitment?
ll Attend all the programmed sessions.
ll Working with us to track your growth.
ll Willingness to acknowledge and support the programme.

What do I do next?
We like to talk to businesses. To work out how best we can help you:
To talk to one of our team, call 01244 511177 or email or fill in an expression of interest form You can also follow us on twitter at @KAN_Chester.

Learn how KAN can help your business