Wire Belt, Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Proving your company is hygienically superior to your competitors is no easy task
But with an expertise injection from LSBU, Wire Belt is taking the market by storm…in more ways than one.
With established offices in the US, Germany and the UK, Wire Belt are now in the position to improve the company's competitive edge. The company's commitment to wire-based products, as opposed to cheap to produce materials like plastic, has long been a central component of their long-term business strategy.
They strongly suspected that their wire belting products were hygienically superior to their competitor's alternatives but lacked the research to support their claim. This is where a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) with LSBU helped boost the company's fortunes.
KTPs are programmes that encourage collaboration between universities and businesses in the UK. They involve three parties: a university, a recent graduate and a company – including small, medium and large companies, charities, not-for-profit organisations and the public sector.
Part-funded by the government, KTPs provide unique benefits to all three parties. LSBU get to apply knowledge and expertise to important problems facing businesses, are increasingly able to identify new research themes and undergraduate and post graduate projects and also publish high quality journal and conference papers. Recent LSBU graduates enhance employability and skills, and have the opportunity to earn a full salary. The company gets the qualities of an outstanding graduate partially paid for, and the expertise and technical of the university – who works in close connection with the associate. Read more about KTPs at LSBU.
Strengthening the brand
As Ray Tomsett, Technical Director at Wire Belt recalled, "We approached LSBU because it was one of the few Higher Education institutions that had the facilities to do the sort of technical testing that we wanted to do."
KTP Associate, Mark Vickery, was hired to conduct experiments to prove that Wire Belting at their company was both easier to clean and more bacterially resistant than their competitor's alternatives. Mark's research proved convincingly that Wire Belt's belting products were superior in a variety of health and safety measures, strengthening their market position and business plan and giving the company an important new marketing tool.
For the academics at LSBU, working with Wire Belt gave them the opportunity to gain first-hand exposure to 'real life' marketing problems and solutions. Furthermore the project assisted academics in developing a case based teaching example for students.
Forward looking strategy
Due to the rapid success of the first KTP, Wire Belt felt it would be beneficial to take on a very different second project with KTP Associate Dennis Yao. Dennis was tasked with developing an efficient system that allows different departments within the company to communicate effectively at all levels at any given time. "By using an MRP system (Manufacturing Resource Planning system) we will be able to know the status of every job in much more detail," said Ray. "This would enable our company to make better decisions and improve efficiency."
Dennis was in fact so capable of achieving this project, he was tasked with the additional project of designing a sales software model for Wire Belt's subsidiary in Germany, "Before, the German company would mentally calculate a quotation for each new order, a complicated process which would take three to four hours… with the new software the sales staff can do the quotation over the phone in minutes."
"In order to compete internationally a business like ours needs to be efficient," commented Ray. "This type of forward looking business strategy will drive the company forward in decades to come and help us focus on tomorrow. So far, the KTP has helped us achieve both these goals."