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Knowledge Transfer Partnership pays off for Eric Wright Group

The challenge
The Eric Wright Group offers a range of services from construction and civil engineering, to property development and facilities management. The company wanted to improve its competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing UCLan’s knowledge and expertise. A KTP was established to design, develop and implement an organisational development programme for the benefit of staff, partners and clients.

Meanwhile, Rose Mather was due to graduate the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at UCLan and keen to progress her career. She said: “I was nearing the end of my final year when I heard about the KTP programme. I checked the UCLan futures site and found an opportunity advertised for a business performance associate at the Eric Wright Group.

“It was a two-year project to develop a programme which would improve business performance and operational management processes – essentially my entire MBA being put into practice at a very prestigious construction company. I applied, attended a daunting interview panel, and was successful.”

The solution
Following her successful application to the KTP, Rose joined the Eric Wright Group and began working on the carefully designed programme. As well as getting the chance to work on a challenging project within her chosen field of study, Rose was given access to a development budget and three weeks of leadership residentials.

Rose worked within a team of eight, which included two Eric Wright Group directors, the Group quality manager, an advisor from Innovate UK and experts from UCLan. The team focused on three main objectives: visual management, employee engagement and customer care.

To better understand the industry, Rose conducted a macro analysis, followed by a careful micro analysis which involved high level processes, a culture survey and a financial ratio analysis. From this, the team was able to identify ways to improve. Rose proposed ways to implement the project work and led several changes in process, policy and investment.

The results
The KTP delivered several strategic initiatives which have contributed to improving the Eric Wright Group’s business performance. These were:

• A new approach to measuring individual business performance on a set of comparable management dashboards.
• An ‘ideas’ scheme, coupled with an improved customer care assessment process, which has resulted in business innovations which will protect the Eric Wright Group’s market share over the coming years.
• Software application training which will support staff through new system upgrades allowing them to keep up with increasing customer demands for efficiencies and advanced reporting.

Rose said: “All 33 project outcomes were delivered according to the original project plan. As a team, we worked very efficiently and there was even time for an additional output. This was a feasibility study and a business case in support of a large capital investment in an electronic document management system.”

The development budget was used to enable Rose to achieve a black belt in Lean Six Sigma and a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. She is now organisational development co-ordinator at Eric Wright Group, a role in which she successfully applies the amalgamation of skills learned on the KTP.

Rose added: “The KTP project enabled me to immediately use all the knowledge I gained on my MBA in a vibrant and supportive business environment.”

The KTP deliverables have also been referenced in successful PQQ submissions, which has given the Eric Wright Group the opportunity to tender for £446million of new work.

The Eric Wright Group and UCLan were subsequently awarded an “outstanding” rating and a certificate of excellence by the Innovate UK Grading Panel which independently assesses each project.

Ruth Slater, who is KTP manager at UCLan said: “A Knowledge Transfer Partnership enables a company to improve its competitiveness, create new jobs and enhance the skills of the workforce.

“It brings together the key elements for technology and knowledge transfer, offering opportunities for graduates to develop their skills while gaining industrial experience as well as encouraging companies to invest in research and development.”