What new emerging markets will take a business to the next level? This can either be a physical market like an international territory or a new sales platform like embracing e-commerce.
What are the challenges associated with internationalising your business either through import or export? And what are some of the innovative ways to get around universal issues like port delays?
For importers how can challenges around raw materials and supply chains be mitigated and what are some of the issues around ‘policing’ your supply chain to ensure their working standards don’t impact your own ESG credentials?
What are some of the innovations manufacturers are embracing to become more productive and gain a competitive advantage? And what organisations in the North West are around to support and nurture innovation, from research and development to lab space and funding?
We do a lot of work with SMEs – we started with big companies like Airbus, Landrover, and Bentley, but we do a lot of work with SMEs now, supporting them through ERDF projects.
We look at digitalisation for businesses – we look if the business has problems if they want to develop something like a new project, create efficiencies within the business – then we can go in with suggestions and help to create the products.
We are regionally based in terms of our funding. Historically, that is Merseyside but now we’ve expanded to Cheshire and Warrington.
The Virtual Engineering Centre is in Daresbury and we have a facility at the University of Liverpool called the Digitial Innovation Facility (DIF).
We are trying to bring the University to people. We do a lot of concept work for businesses, then it goes on to a commercial partner. For example on low carbon, an SME might come to us and say ‘our heating bill has gone up fourfold’. We can put sensors on the machinery to monitor them for a period of time and that might show where the energy is being wasted.
We also do a lot of visualisation work. For example a company we have worked with made heavy industrial valves weighing 40kg. So we created a VR simulation so their customers could see them in 3D. We have also done work with a company that wanted to move to another facility so we scanned their original facility where everything was, scanned the new facility and virtually imported the machinery so they could plan ahead.
This article followed the publication of the Manufacturing Growth 100 Insider gathered some of the region’s fastest-growing manufacturers. This is the second round table in a series.