Business experts at Leeds Beckett University have formed a new partnership with Leeds-based WSG Interiors to develop long-term operational and marketing strategies to support the business’s plans for future growth.
The Leeds Business School team will bring their blend of industry experience and academic expertise to the new two-year Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) project, which has been part-funded by the Government through Innovate UK.
WSG Interiors are a Leeds SME (small to medium sized enterprise) designing, manufacturing, and installing bespoke commercial interiors - with their client base largely in the retail and hospitality sectors. They have created high-end interiors for many well-known high street chains - including Schuh, Foot Patrol, and Lush.
Dr Ollie Jones, Principal Lecturer in Operations, Enterprise and Supply Chain Management and mKTP project lead, explained: “The primary focus of the partnership will be to create a new Product-Service System for WSG Interiors. This will be a complete, fully-costed, integrated service for the market – from pre-project design through to project specification, manufacture and installation.
“Whilst WSG Interiors already offer all of these services individually, this new one-stop model will allow them to offer a solutions-based service to key clients and new clients – enhancing their competitive advantage and resilience.
“Alongside this, we will work with them to develop a more strategic vision: implementing robust change management and a culture shift within the organisation.”
Roger Edwards, Managing Director of WSG Interiors, said: “Our partnership with Leeds Beckett will allow us to push the business forward - and, with the support of the experts at the university, do this effectively and with confidence. With the mKTP it gives us a great opportunity to get a better understanding of our clients’ needs and align our offer and processes to those needs. We anticipate that this will bring great returns in terms of enhanced customer experience, customer retention and bottom line growth.
“Although we are an established business, we have had to do a lot of change to be relevant in this pandemic disrupted era. This change programme is here to stay, and we believe that the mKTP programme is a great match to our requirements.”
The Leeds Beckett team is completed by Dr David Andrews, Lecturer in Marketing and former CEO of Yorkshire Tourist Board; and Craig Hamer, Lecturer in Operations Management and Business Strategy, who brings with him more than 20 years commercial experience including Strategy, Operations and Managing Director roles.
A skilled graduate will be recruited to carry out the project as a full-time member of staff within WSG Interiors, with the full support and input of the academic team at Leeds Beckett.
The team will introduce improved data analytics to inform strategic decision making within WSG Interiors, using applied academic tools and models to embed a more structured approach to decision-making, and create a platform for sustainable growth.
They will create a culture of knowledge sharing within the business, ensuring that the company’s leadership and culture is ready to take on the new strategic marketing and Product-Service System business model. All staff will be equipped with the capability to manage risk and spot profitable market opportunities.
The relationship between Leeds Beckett and WSG Interiors began in 2020, when Roger Edwards participated in the Government-funded Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP), delivered by Leeds Beckett Business School.
Roger added: “The SBLP Programme created time and space to think strategically about my business and my leadership of it. It gave me the opportunity to pick up on proven templates and frameworks for getting the business aligned for growth. The course was delivered online in a very effective way and the course material and the reflective journal that is completed through the course are invaluable take-aways.”
The mKTP has received financial support from the UK government department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through Innovate UK.