Partnership bears fruit for Company of the Year
An academic partnership with the University has been a success for Wellstream - Company of the Year.
The success of Wellstream was hailed as 'evidence that the region's manufacturing industry can still lead the world' when the Tyneside oil and gas pipeline maker carried off the prestigious Company of the Year prize.
The Tyneside-based company floated on the Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of more than £300m earlier this year. At the North East Business Awards Wellstream was praised for 'its innovative designs, strong business model, technological excellence and success in building its business'.
Wellstream sought help from the University
Dr Ahmed Abbas, head of the University’s Teesside Manufacturing Centre (TMC) based in the School of Science & Engineering, recalls the first contact with Wellstream. He said, 'They were growing fast and wanted to improve their business and management systems across the board to allow for expansion. They were gaining clients all over the world. After a presentation to the board, and a visit to a number of our former clients to check us out, Wellstream asked us to do a major enterprise-wide review.'
Wellstream asked TMC to help select what it needed in terms of hardware, software and training. As well as identifying possible suppliers, TMC also helped choose the successful system. One of the team, Suhail Aslam - a graduate from Teesside - was also seconded to Wellstream as project manager.
This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations.
Wellstream and the University have now strengthened their partnership by appointing two KTP associates. The associates are concerned with implementing enterprise-wide changes across the whole organisation, including the introduction of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
A partnership that benefits both
Dr Abbas is keen to stress that it’s a partnership that benefits both. He said, 'We’re not just there to help the company, but working so closely with a company like Wellstream really helps our teaching and research.'
Chris Pickering, Wellstream's supply chain manager, agrees. He said, 'We’re delighted to have the two KTPs on board. This is part of our overall programme to implement our new ERP system – the engine that drives the business. The University has been our partner for two-and-a-half years and during this period our relationship has been very good. They have steered us through the assessment and selection process and we believe we’ve ended up with the best system to meet our needs, which is making bespoke flexible pipe products for the oil and gas industry.'