Gateshead-based Gate 7 focuses on manufacturing self-adhesive labels and screen prints for construction equipment vehicles such as JCBs. The family firm was set up in 2000 and employs 36 staff in the UK and 15 in Pennsylvania, US.
Managing director Kate Wickham sought Teesside University expertise and funding to address problems with their existing IT system, particularly with the business growing in the US. The first project analysed the nature of the business and what they needed. Kate used these findings to select some available software, FileMaker, to develop into a new system.
Gate 7 joined in a second partnership with Teesside University – a knowledge exchange internship where a talented graduate is placed with the company for up to a year to drive a forward a specific project. The intern is mentored by a University academic through an initiative supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
Gate 7’s intern is Ian Rutherford, a quantity surveying graduate who has worked part-time at the company for five years. His progress is reviewed every two months by Kate and a Teesside University project manager.
Ian’s main focus is to develop an IT system to fit a range of business functions starting with the first part of the supply chain, management quotation and stock inventory. It then moves on to manufacture production planning, design engineering capacity and quality control.
‘Staff are excited – the project has helped lift morale. We launched the IT system in early 2012, starting with supply chain management and manufacturing, and will eventually have one point of call for all information. My overall aim is for this system to provide the chance to step back and plan, to be able to use forecasts and production planning and for improved visibility for Gate 7.'
This project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £300m investment.
The project will make a major contribution to the ambition of the ERDF Competitive Programme 2007-13 and by increasing the numbers and survival of business start ups in the region and increasing business productivity.