Thursday, 27 June 2013

Supply Chain Forum launch success

(L-R) Aidan Manley (Executive Director, Cheshire and Warrington LEP),  David Stonley (Senior Manager, Peel Ports) Susan Spibey (Director, Birchwood Forum), Nick Smart (UK Supply Chain Director, Brakes Group), Brian Hardacre (CIPS), Neil Caldwell (CILT), Professor Lawrence Bellamy (Associate Dean, Warrington School of Management), Peter Crompton (Direct BE Group and Chairman, Warrington& Co.), Phil Kerr (Business Development Manager, Warrington Collegiate)

Over 50 Warrington-based organisations attended the breakfast launch of the new Supply Chain Forum at the University of Chester’s Warrington campus this week. 


The Forum is a collaboration between the University’s Warrington School of Management, Warrington Collegiate, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (North-West branch), Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (North-Wales and Cheshire branch) and the Birchwood Forum.

The aim of the group is to share best practice on supply chain operations and allow local businesses to network and discuss commercial opportunities. The first event discussed streamlining supply chains and included presentations by Aidan Manley, Executive Director of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and Nick Smart, UK Supply Chain Director for the Brakes Group. The Brakes Group is currently in the process of establishing large-scale operations at the new Omega site in Warrington.

Professor Lawrence Bellamy, 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.

“I am delighted that our first forum was such a success; we will continue to build on this by providing a regular platform for businesses involved in supply chain management to share knowledge and best practice.”

Forthcoming forums will include discussion around topics such as legislation, technology, strategy and resource management.

Anyone interested in attending future events should contact Warrington School of Management at

Thursday, 20 June 2013

It’s about what you ‘gnome’

PR and Events Management student, Max Mayer, has put his last three years of study into good use by launching a new events business – Neon Gnome.

The student entrepreneur launched his company after winning the prestigious ‘University of Chester and Santander Universities Enterprise Challenge’ in May. The £750 prize was used to launch his Warrington-based events management company and the resulting publicity helped secure his first client. Neon Gnome ( offers businesses bespoke managed events packages and supporting creative solutions – including: PR, video and photography. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Supply Chain Ripples in the Pond

The AstraZeneca Alderley Park facility operations are expected to close by 2016. The research and development activities of the company there are migrating south, along with many job opportunities. It has been moving towards this for some time. As the Warrington Chamber of Commerce noted ‘the changes at AstraZeneca will have an impact on the Cheshire/Warrington economy far beyond the employees and direct suppliers’.  Supply chains can have many tiers. These are layers of suppliers working right from the initial extraction of raw materials to the delivery of the final product, sometimes operating globally. Swathes of suppliers may also be used to provide services which are not directly involved in the product, but in the general operations of the company too. These activities and the financial transactions which go with them lead a ‘multiplier effect’, where an initial spend leads to layers of further spending. We need some big spenders to create big transaction waves, otherwise we can lose tiers of suppliers and communities can suffer. Warrington has some large projects coming through which will help to fill the regional void in Port Warrington and Omega. We just need to make sure that more are coming than are going. Entrepreneurs and politicians need to work together on this.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Free specialist advice for Warrington businesses

Delegates at the first sessions of the KAN

A range of small and medium businesses attended the welcome event of the Knowledge Action Network (KAN) project at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester recently.

The project brings together business owners and University expertise to explore new ideas and develop creative approaches to growth. It encourages business owners to take a critical and objective look at their companies with support from specialist speakers, University academics, individual business coaches and business peers.

The first of four development workshops will be held on Friday, 5th July and local businesses are encouraged to make the most of this fully funded scheme supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Monthly workshops and activities, including access to a personal business coach, will continue to the end of the year, with the opportunity to network with other small and medium sized businesses across the region. 

Businesses already signed up to the project cover a wide range of sectors from manufacturers of industrial hoses through to sports coaching and business cost reduction specialists. 

Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Associate Dean of Warrington Management School, said: “At the University we know that small businesses are at the heart of the UK economy with creative, innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. However, we also understand that setting up and developing a business can create obstacles and challenges.

Through our work with small businesses 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.”

Businesses interested in joining the Knowledge Action Network in Warrington should contact Sandra Carr via phone on 01244 511177 or email

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Make your banker work for you

If you own or manage a small firm then most of your conversations with your bank are probably around loans and overdrafts. If you don’t need them then what value then are you getting from your bank? Banks aren’t exactly paying lots of interest at the moment.  A meeting held with representatives from a local ‘corporate banking’ provision at a well-known coffee shop in a well-known shopping centre in Warrington today made me reflect upon what the role of a bank may be to a business. A refreshing approach from the bank indicated that they tried to add value by supporting their customers on more than just a transactional basis. They put suppliers and buyers together; they spent time with senior company staff in the workplace and fed back on company ‘opportunities for improvement’. Simply they recognised that if their customers grew then so did their business too. The trouble is not all banks are so proactive. Firms or people seldom change their bank account, so banks have little incentive to try harder. So why not take a look at your banking arrangements? They all do loans and overdrafts, but how many can make a difference by adding value? Make your banker work for you, you’re paying!