23-111PWC picture“I blame the Cumbria@40 celebrations!” says one of the founding directors of new company – Supply Chain Cumbria Limited.
Peter Cotterill attended the Institute of Directors’ ‘Cumbria@40’ celebrations at the end of March and, listening to the speakers, decided there was an opportunity to help both big companies and the many, innovative SMEs located around the county to improve engagement and build relationships. As former MD of Oxley Developments Company, Ulverston, for seven years, Peter is acutely aware of both the challenges and opportunities facing SMEs.
“For an SME, there’s a huge amount of effort required to achieve industry certifications, create robust processes, develop proposals, and meet customer requirements. This can be a minefield – and that’s before the task of engagement and relationship building.”
Joining forces with Mike Farnworth, of Xemptor Consulting, they have created Supply Chain Cumbria Limited with a mission to ‘forge links and create opportunities for business in Cumbria’. Mike’s background in procurement roles dates back to 1984, including General Manager, Purchasing Operations at BMW Group’s MINI Plant in Oxford.
Says Mike: “In the 21st century, with more and more activities and functions being outsourced, the marketplace isn’t just a competition between companies to gain customers – it’s a competition between entire supply chains.
“With significant new investment planned for Cumbria – in sectors as diverse as defence, nuclear, energy, pharmaceuticals, mining and packaging – we are here to assist companies in the key activities involving supply chain development, collaboration and excellence, to ensure that the capacity and capability is available locally to support what are very real and compelling growth opportunities. In addition to this, we feel there are opportunities to boost productivity through business improvement activities and develop skills to higher levels through training, coaching and mentoring.
“Alongside this, we can see increasing demand for support from the larger organisations located in Cumbria to promote their corporate responsibility, sustainability, supplier development and local sourcing agendas, at the same time as helping the vast number of supply chain businesses engage effectively, build relationships, diversify their customer base and win new business. This involves extensive engagement with both the private sector and funding bodies – it’s a complex landscape, but we believe the benefits could be significant for the economy in Cumbria.”
Comments Peter: “Our initial research, and early conversations we have had with stakeholders around the county have suggested that this is an idea whose time has come. There is a huge amount of potential both within Cumbria, and further afield – in the northwest region, nationally and indeed globally – for companies located in Cumbria who want to demonstrate their capabilities and grow their businesses: we have set our stall out to help unlock that potential”.
However, key to the success of the venture will be the unlocking of resources to ‘pump-prime’ Supply Chain Cumbria’s activities. Adds Peter: “It’s an idea whose time has come, and the appetite is there, but it will require commitment and investment from across the county to get the ball rolling.”