RENOWN Engineering has seen its profits soar through its links to Newcastle Business School.
North East business, Renown Engineering, has benefited from real profitable success and growth, thanks to a partnership with Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University.
Despite the uncertain economic climate and hesitant marketplace in the region, Renown Engineering, which is part of the Renown Group based in Cramlington and with sites across the North East, has bucked downward trends and seen real business growth. This significant change and business shaping activity has taken place through the placement of a Marketing Manager via the Newcastle Business School Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme, which is readily accessible and available to all businesses across the North East.
Being a long-established business within the region, this is a great success story for the North East and one which can be repeated for other businesses. It requires commitment and advocacy of senior management, but once there is buy-in, the rewards for all parties involved are very real and significant.
Managing director for the Renown Group and recent chairman of Southwest Durham Trading Ltd, John Hamilton, has been a strong supporter and advocate for the KTP with Newcastle Business School. John said “Since the KTP started in November 2010 our sales have risen from £11m to £15m and profits have also increased. I believe a significant part of this growth is a direct consequence of the work done on the Marketing Knowledge Transfer Programme with Newcastle Business School”. The Renown Group consists of Renown Engineering, Renown Oil and Gas, Renown Materials Handling, Westmoor Engineering, PJ Engineering Products Ltd, SDS (Sound Dead Steel), and Pensher Skytech.
Possibly two of the better known companies within the group are Pensher Skytech, which develops innovative systems that provide protection from the threat of ballistics, blast, fire and forced entry, and has national and international clients from London to Kabul, Afghanistan; and Westmoor, which has its history in building heavy duty doors and hatches for large ships and was established in Sunderland more than a century ago, in 1898.
Between 2005, when John Hamilton became MD, to year end 2011, the group turnover doubled from £7.5m to £15m. In the same period the number of employees at the Cramlington site has grown by an average of 36%, despite the trend of some businesses during the recession to downsize.
John has been so impressed by the results of working with Newcastle Business School and a ‘KTP Associate’, as the placements are known, that the he has approached the school for a further placement in the form of an engineering intern who will start work with Renown in the summer.
In the meantime, Ben Moore is the graduate with marketing skills who was placed as the KTP Associate into Renown Engineering in autumn 2010. KTPs have a two year duration but Ben will not be saying good bye to the business when the programme comes to an end in November 2012. Indeed, such has been the success of the placement that Ben has been offered the position of marketing manager for the group.
Ben has benefited as much from the programme and the placement as Renown, increasing his skills and expertise, important for graduates seeking employment in the region, particularly in times of economic downturn and tough competition for employment.
Ben said: “This is a wonderful, career enhancing experience for me, that has also has seen real profitable growth for Renown. We have examined every aspect of the company’s marketing strategy in particular, the group’s e-business and the recently reinvigorated Westmoor website is now responsible for 60% of inquiries. We received no inquires through this website previously.”
As well as Ben’s knowledge, the key driver for the success of the KTP has been the regular, hands-on business development consultancy from leading marketing experts within Newcastle Business School. John continued: “I would urge any North East business looking for an upturn in sales and improved margins to follow our lead and take advantage of the impact created by linking into the business school research capabilities and capacity.”
Fraser McLeay is professor of strategic marketing management at the school and has been heavily involved in the relationship with Renown, providing support for Ben and John with regular consultancy for the business. Fraser said, “We are an international business school committed to developing and educating business managers and leaders to reach their potential and make positive contributions to organisations. Ben is a perfect example of this. All businesses across our region can benefit from graduate skills and expert business consultancy, by partnering with Newcastle Business School via the KTP scheme”.
KTP supervisor and principal lecturer at Newcastle Business School, Nigel Coates, has also taken a vital and hands-on role, visiting Renown’s headquarters on a weekly basis and providing invaluable marketing guidance. Nigel added, “It is the participation of John Hamilton – and his continued support and buy-in to the partnership with Newcastle Business School and the KTP programme that has brought about the success of the placement and the consultancy, to the very real and tangible business benefit to the Renown Group”.
North East business owners and organisations who would also like to benefit from expert consultancy in a business area of their choice, can contact Newcastle Business School directly.