North East Connected

Research project is furnishing new ideas

CaptureA furniture firm is incorporating the latest methods of product design into its business practices thanks to a research partnership with Teesside University.

Godfrey Syrett Ltd is working with the University to look at ways in which it can proactively adapt to the changing needs of the marketplace and also make use of new equipment and processes.

The Newcastle-based company is taking part in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which has seen Teesside graduate Owen Wright work at the company as an Innovation Specialist assisted by academics from the University.

KTP is a world-leading programme part funded by Innovate UK that helps businesses succeed by connecting them to the UK’s rich academic resources. It is a partnership between the business seeking expertise, a university and a recently qualified graduate – known as an Associate.

Godfrey Syrett designs, manufactures and distributes furniture to clients in the education, public, leisure, defence and commercial sectors.

Owen has been working at the company since October 2015 to look at ways in which it can improve its processes to make it more innovative and efficient.

He is also investigating the future needs of its clients and also potential new markets for Godfrey Syrett’s range of furniture to ensure that the business is prepared to meet the challenges of the future.

As part of the KTP, Owen has also been involved in the design and manufacture of a test rig to demonstrate to customers the durability of Godfrey Syrett’s furniture.

Owen said: “Through the KTP I’m learning a lot of new things and using that new knowledge and what I was taught on my degree to analyse the business processes here to see where changes can be made and the best way of implementing them.

“Sometimes just a small change to the way in which a design is approached or communicated can have a big impact.”

Michael Donachie of Godfrey Syrett added: “The work that Owen’s doing is already beginning to make an impact across all areas of the business.

“It is likely to have massive impact on the way we do business over the next five years.

“Instead of following the market, we’ll be ahead of the game and much better equipped to deal with the needs of our customers.”

Peter Reid, Lead Academic Supervisor from Teesside University’s School of Arts & Media, said: “This KTP brings together expertise from a number of colleagues in Design and Process Innovation, Manufacturing and Trend Analysis.

“This, in itself, is an innovation in how we operate KTPs. Our collaboration offers Owen an unprecedented level of support, enabling him to work with the company to develop a bespoke New Product Development process.

“It will be of enormous benefit to our research and teaching at Teesside University.”

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