North East LEP scheme helps manufacturing businesses identify barriers to growth
A programme to help manufacturing businesses grow, launched in the summer of last year by the North East LEP has already provided growth support to a range of manufacturing SMEs, from a multi-million pound turnover printing business to a small new leisure wear business with high-growth potential.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) is aimed at helping manufacturers in the North East who want to grow their business. Experienced manufacturing business advisers work with senior management teams, using a holistic approach to business diagnostic and improvement, to identify how to improve performance across all areas of their operations.
DSM Fabrications, a £2m turnover business specialising in metal fabrication services, based in South Shields, participated in the programme. Working with experienced manufacturing business advisers, senior management were able to create a new plan for growth, identifying three key areas for the business to develop; sales and marketing, succession planning, and market positioning.
The MGP business adviser created a detailed plan for each of the areas of improvement. The plan included succession of the original owner from the business from the day-to-day running, recruitment of a business development manager and types of reward mechanisms, sales and marketing strategy to open up new markets and a list of ‘top ten’ potential clients.
David Gracie, Managing Director at DSM Fabrications said: “The experienced and specialist adviser we worked with from the Manufacturing Growth Programme provided us with the framework and time to step back and think what was required from a strategic point of view.
“The consultancy provided gave us clear advice on where we needed to target our attention as we look to grow the business further.”
The MGP pilot programme will run for another five months and aims to work with more than 80 businesses to create 160 new manufacturing jobs.
It forms part of the North East LEP’s strategic economic plan to foster growth within key sectors of the economy in order to create more and better jobs. The programme could be extended if the pilot proves successful.
The programme is delivered by business support firm BE Group and Improvement Architecture, a specialist business improvement consultancy.
Graham Sleep, founder and MD of Improvement Architecture, said: “Having worked with small and medium sized manufacturing businesses over many years our team has developed a good understanding of the common challenges they face, which can prevent them from reaching their true potential revenues and profit levels.
“We have been using a unique model to highlight relative strengths of the businesses we’re supporting, so they can become more competitive, productive and profitable.”
John Barnett, a member of the LEP’s Business Growth Board, said, “The programme is designed to stimulate the growth of manufacturing businesses across the North East through in-depth one-to-one guidance from manufacturing growth experts.
“I’d encourage any small and mid-sized North East manufacturing businesses with growth ambitions to get involved with this free programme to unlock their potential.
“Manufacturing capability lies at the heart of this region’s future economic prosperity and I am particularly pleased the LEP is investing in its development.”
If you are a North East manufacturer and want help to grow, visit www.ne-mgp.co.uk, to access this expert support.