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University of Essex launches first Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Laser 24

Top UK laser cutting company Laser 24 is aiming to become the premier company in its sector after joining forces with Essex Business School at the University as part of a new Government-backed Management KTP.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is funding the Management KTP which will support Laser 24 to develop a comprehensive strategy to streamline processes, increase efficiency and upskill staff. This will enable Laser 24 to meet the increasing demand for its products, expand the product range and reduce waste.

This collaboration is Essex’s first Management KTP and will see experts from Essex Business School support Laser 24 to develop better management practices and innovate.

Lead academic Dr Juneho Um is aiming to help increase turnover by up to 20% and equipment efficiency by 90%. He will be working closely on the project with Essex Business School colleagues Dr Chaminda Wijethilake and Dr Amir Homayounfard.

Only eighteen Management KTPs have been awarded in the UK across 140 universities and this is the first funded in the East of England and London – recognising the growth potential of the company and reputation for applied research within Essex Business School.

“The scope and range of the project is mind-blowing”

Laser 24, based in Wickford, provides high-quality metal laser cutting, press breaking and technical drawing services. As part of their continuous effort to innovate in their sector, the company has heavily invested in the most powerful lasers in the country and are the only laser cutter within the region to house two super high-speed lasers. They provide solutions for large and small companies, primarily within the UK and across Europe.

Managing Director at Laser 24, Iain Summerfield, said: “I believe working with the University of Essex on this Management KTP will generate an innovative and improved Laser 24. The chance to work closely with academics will offer opportunities to strengthen the company to a level we could only dream of before. The scope and range of the project is mind-blowing and addresses all the flaws we have highlighted as hindering our growth. Our team is “change ready” and welcomes the development of our expertise and implementation of new processes to grow our business. We will emerge a stronger, leaner and more knowledgeable Laser 24 at the end of this 22-month project.”

The academic team

Dr Um, Dr Wijethilake and Dr Homayounfard, will work closely alongside Laser 24’s management teams to unlock the company’s full growth potential. Dr Um, the project’s lead academic, has substantial experience in business strategy in a variety of commercial industries. He has also undertaken extremely fruitful consultancy projects in similar industry sectors meaning his wealth of experience in management strategies will offer huge benefits to Laser 24.

“I hope and expect to achieve a wide range of outcomes for Laser 24 including; up to a 20% increase in turnover and improve overall equipment efficiency to 90% through a paperless and integrated information system. Through my consultancy experience in similar sectors, I learned how developing appropriate management strategies can have a significant impact on business performance.”

UK leader for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Essex is second in the UK for the number of its Innovate UK-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and ranks as the third best KTP Support Team across all UK universities.

Head of Business Engagement at the University of Essex, Robert Walker, said: “Expertise from Essex Business School offers Laser 24 a clear route to deep, sustained analysis of current processes, optimisation potential across the entire operation and the ability to lead senior management into a new age of growth and innovation. We are delighted to have been awarded our first BEIS funded Management KTP with Laser 24, who are at the forefront of the UK laser cutting industry. I would welcome similar company types who want to unlock barriers to improved productivity to get in touch.”

About Management KTPs

In 2019, the UK Government invested £10 million of additional funding in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, to fund the new Management KTP’s that will focus on projects that boost productivity.

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