Lancaster University driving growth in North West SMEs by tackling productivity puzzle

Lancaster University is helping North West businesses solve their productivity puzzle through a programme proven to drive growth.

Productivity through People (PtP) is designed to enhance employee engagement, help companies embrace modern working practices and improve productivity.

The next 10-month programme, which starts at the end of October, will bring leaders of manufacturing and engineering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the region together with the industrial powerhouses of BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls-Royce.

PtP, run in conjunction with Be the Business and supported by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and Northwest Aerospace Alliance has already helped more than 50 North West firms develop their leadership and management capabilities, creating more engaged and productive workforces.

The programme aims to empower business leaders to engage front-line staff through better leadership, strategy and communication, resulting in better usage of skills creating a more productive future.

The programme features visits to the three internationally renowned industrial partners, allowing delegates to see how all three have transformed their workplace by putting employee engagement at the centre of their improvement processes.  The industrial partners also offer mentoring to share best practice and drive change.

Helen Wilkinson, Productivity through People programme director at Lancaster University Management School, said: “Our programme features masterclasses with industry and academic experts, mentoring and company visits with a group of like-minded businesses to share challenges and ideas. When combined, it provides an ideal platform for SMEs to develop new ways of thinking and operating.

“More than 90 per cent of the SMEs who have been on the programme have said it has made a major impact on their business and growth productivity. It has also given the individuals the confidence to drive change within the business.”

Previous delegate Sarah Emery, operations director at Clitheroe-based Printed Cup Company implemented key changes within the business following her participation, and gained greatly from the visits to the likes of Rolls-Royce and BAE, seeing how big companies operate.

She said: “The involvement of the three leading industry partners in BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls-Royce was a key attraction. I’ve learnt more from them than I could possibly have imagined. The mentoring they provided during the programme has given me huge confidence for the future.”

Michael Hall, production manager at Mettler-Toledo Safeline in Salford, and a Lancaster University Masters graduate, spoke highly of the impact that Productivity through People has had on his business.

He said: “We are seeing a five per cent increase in productivity and have restructured our apprentice programme. The visions we give as leaders and the shadows we cast are all things I now consider daily.”

The latest Productivity through People programme starts on Tuesday, October 29.