Help is on the way for Essex manufacturers

Posted on 16 Oct 2012

A new programme to support small and medium-sized and start-up manufacturing companies based in Essex has been launched by IfM Education and Consultancy Services in partnership with Essex County Council.

By providing firms with mentors, Essex County Council hopes to improve their business performance and create new jobs across the county. The programme was introduced as part of the broader EIP INVEST Essex Innovation Programme, which supports entrepreneurs and companies that have innovative products and services.

Over the next six months, IfM ECS will begin mentoring engagements with 50 Essex-based manufacturing companies that have fewer than 250 employees. Companies who sign up will be given guidance and support free of charge by one of the IfM ECS team of specialist consultants.

IfM ECS played an important part in delivering the Essex Manufacturing Innovation and Growth (EMIG) programme. Essex-based RWO Marine, which manufactures high performance equipment for sailing vessels around the world, has benefited from its expertise as part of the EMIG programme when it needed help to develop designs for a new product that would improve its competitive advantage.

Managing director Ron Owen said, “We were very impressed by the standard of work provided by the programme. A thorough review of the market was carried out by IfM Education and Consultancy Services, which provided detailed analysis of the competition. Most importantly we were given an independent perspective on the development of the product.”

The new mentoring programme is designed to help companies to understand and prioritise their business-wide development needs; identify which markets and products to focus on, and how to compete; enable growth through new products delivered on-time and on-budget; decide how and where to make products, and how to improve quality, cost, and delivery; and decide whether and how to grow revenues through product-related services

Dr Derek Ford, who heads the IfM ECS’s team supporting SMEs and start-up companies, commented: “Our team of experienced practitioners has a strong record of helping firms to grow revenues and profits – and of helping safeguard existing jobs and creating new ones.”