In a bid to boost its competitiveness and product range, a local manufacturing company has joined forces with their Further Education College.
South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has created an educational partnership with family run barbeque manufacturer, Trailblazer, who have benefited from SERC's engineering expertise thanks to the InnovateUs Programme funded by the Department for the Economy.
The Innovate Us programme, which is offered across Northern Ireland through the FE Colleges, is a fully funded skills development programme which provides small businesses with the capacity to innovate across a range of business development activities.
Trailblazer design, manufacture and distribute commercial towable barbeque trailers across the world. Thanks to the programme the business has benefited from bespoke mentoring on a range of specialist software packages including On-Shape and SolidWorks. The business has also gained access to resources which have helped them undertake innovation activities, improve their business with new technologies and remain competitive in a global marketplace.
As a result of the programme Trailblazer are now able to produce and amend some of their drawings in-house much more efficiently, which has saved them a substantial amount of time and money.
Trailblazer director Lester Manly commented: "This was a fantastic opportunity for the business to gain training from a qualified professional at no cost to us. In the current economic environment this programme has helped us achieve a much higher skill level without having to invest anything other than the time and effort of our staff. We are already reaping the benefits as the plans secure immediate client buy-in to the designs, whilst saving development time and reducing costs across the business.
"Working with SERC has helped us shorten our turnaround, allowing us to focus on driving sales. We are delighted with the outcome of the partnership and would encourage other businesses to talk to their local college when developing their products."
SERC head of business services Elaine Flynn explains " SERC recognises that innovative product ideas are an important part of growing the local economy and we recognise that not all companies have the capital to invest in equipment. By enabling companies' access to equipment and expertise at the College we can help local businesses fast-track their ideas to product creation and production. This initiative has made it possible for many SMEs and micro-businesses to access expertise and innovation know-how for the first time."
To find out how your business can get results from SERC please visit www.serc.ac.uk or call 0345 600 7555.