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'Make it Here' event at Alconbury Incubator
IfM ECS and the Business Growth Fund (BGF) will hold a ‘Make it Here’ event on Tuesday 29 September at The Incubator, Alconbury Weald, as part of their Manufacturing Growth Series.

The event aims to build the manufacturing network and community by sharing local, national and international trends and capabilities, and enabling closer links between manufacturers, their customers and suppliers. It will also provide an opportunity to hear about the plans for the site directly from the developers.

Speakers at the event, hosted by Urban & Civic, will include:
  • Cllr Jason Ablewhite, Leader, Huntingdonshire District Council
  • Rebecca Britton, Communities and Partnerships, Urban & Civic
  • Tony Moscrop, Group Director, Dufaylite Developments
  • Paul Jackson, Managing Director, Forward Composites
  • Andrew Gill, Principal Industrial Fellow, IfM ECS.
To express an interest in attending this event please contact Jo Griffiths at
Good things come in smart packaging
Industry experts and researchers shared their insights on smart packaging and its applications in the food and drink industry in an IfM ECS/Lloyds Bank thought leadership event held at the IfM.

Fifty delegates from the UK’s food and drink supply chain heard how advances in smart packaging technologies could produce transformative applications in crucial areas such as food quality and safety, the supply chain, brand protection and enhancement and user convenience. They included representatives from companies such as Hotel Chocolat, Dufaylite Developments and Rexam, as well as organisations including the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The speakers were Dr Cormac Neeson, of Crown Packaging; Dr Luigi Occhipinti, of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics; Joao De Oliveira, of PragmatIC Printing Ltd; Brian Lodge, of RPC Containers; and Dr Rob Phaal, of the IfM’s Centre for Technology Management.

The event on 19 May was hosted by IfM ECS and Lloyds Bank, the event sponsors.

  Read More  
 Newton Commercial: in the driving seat
Newton Commercial is one of more than 100 smaller manufacturers that IfM ECS is working with as part of the PrISMS programme. The company is a leading supplier of original specification interior trim for a range of classic cars such as the Mini, making each part to the original design and it supplies markets worldwide.

IfM ECS has helped the firm to:
  • identify key areas for improvement and agree an action plan
  • remove process bottlenecks to reduce lead times by 50%
  • increase turnover by 23% per annum
  • reduce electricity bills by 15% with potential for a further 40% cut
  • develop a new operations director role and provide mentoring
  • upgrade the enterprise resource planning system
  • increase staff levels by 11%.
Ecotile: growth through innovation and efficiency

The second PrISMS case study in this edition focuses on Ecotile. The company manufactures and installs unique hard-wearing floor tiles for factory, warehouse and commercial premises. The sustainably-produced interlocking tiles are injection moulded and are robust enough for industry and smart enough for retail uses.

IfM ECS has helped the firm to:
  • define the business growth strategy
  • put greater focus on innovation to boost business growth
  • review product market groups to improve manufacturing efficiency
  • increase company revenues by 41%
  • invest in new equipment to produce tiles with a recycled core
  • increase the operating profit by 12%
  • increase staff levels by 20%.
  Read More  
Meet the team: Andi Jones
Andi Jones is an accomplished manufacturing professional, with more than 15 years’ experience in electronics manufacturing companies where she held a variety of senior management positions in supply chain, manufacturing engineering and operations management. She has led a number of key business projects including new product developments, strategic sourcing, lean improvement programmes, business process reengineering and business system implementations.

Since joining IfM ECS as an Industrial Fellow in 2012, she has successfully worked with a wide range of businesses of various sizes, tailoring and applying the IfM’s toolset to enable companies to develop their strategies and capabilities and make tactical and operational changes to deliver sustainable, profitable growth.

Embracing the knowledge transfer approach “we do it with you, not to you”, Andi has recently led client projects in Business Strategy development, Technology Roadmapping and a number of capability development areas such as delivery performance improvement, lead-time reduction and effective business process development.

Andi is currently working as part of the IfM ECS team in the ongoing Sharing in Growth, a Government-funded programme of intensive supplier development in the UK aerospace and nuclear industries, and she has worked with a number of businesses as part of the PrISMS programme.

Andi has a Masters Degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cambridge University. You can contact Andi on and 07974 156114.
Supporting innovation and technology in Wales 
Provision for encouraging and supporting innovation, R&D and technology in businesses in all areas in Wales for the years 2015-2020 will be delivered via the ERDF-funded SMART Innovation projects, led by the Welsh Government’s Department for Economy, Science and Transport (EST).

IfM ECS has successfully bid into the ‘Innovation Diagnostics for Manufacturing and Design Projects’ component to be a Framework Provider. We will deliver diagnostics to help businesses assess their manufacturing operations and needs to identify a desired ‘future state’ of the business, assist in the development of a business plan as a route to achieving it, and identify the necessary interventions that will result in improved performance.

The agreement will be for a period of three years with an option to extend for a further year.
Briefing Day offers insight into latest IfM research
The IfM recently held its annual Briefing Day – attended by more than 150 senior industrialists and policymakers who heard about the IfM’s latest research and the work it is doing with industry and government.

During the all-day event, delegates were able to meet and exchange ideas with IfM researchers from across the whole spectrum of manufacturing – from R&D and design to supply, production and service.

Our team of practitioners from IfM ECS described some recent collaborations, where research-based tools and techniques have been applied in industrial contexts and the public sector.

Details of the talks, along with some resources and presentations from the day, are now on the IfM website.
  Read More  
How IfM Membership can benefit your firm
Many companies enjoy the significant benefits of IfM Membership. One such company is Photofabrication, a specialist photochemical machining company based in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, that has been an IfM member for almost five years.

Neil Shorten, managing director, said: “Being an IfM member has many benefits, from the review publications and website which keep us up to date on developing technology and theories on manufacturing to the expert advice on how to develop robust systems facilitating growth. A good example is the recent work with John McManus on staff development.

“Photofabrication is a business which runs through well-developed systems, enabling us to give the customer that personal touch. To develop these systems it sometimes takes somebody outside of the business to brainstorm with.”

If you are interested in becoming a member please contact John McManus at and 01223 764908; or Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou at and 01223 760376.

  More details  
Connect with the best in water innovation

East Anglia is the one of the most water-stressed regions in Europe. The water sector is facing many challenges. However, every challenge presents an opportunity.

At Water Connect 2015, key figures from across Europe will come together to identify opportunities to collaborate and improve research, development and innovation in the water sector in East Anglia and internationally.

The free, one-day conference and networking event will be held in Peterborough on Wednesday 8 July. You can register for Water Connect 2015 at
Sign up for regular SME updates from the IfM
Your colleagues can sign up to receive regular SME updates from the IfM. We will not pass on their information to third parties.

  Sign up here  
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