Smooth operator inspires students

Head of Operations for Innocent drinks Ltd and Aston University graduate, Mike Stevens, is returning to Aston to give students an inspirational talk on how his role helped the popular smoothie brand become the fastest growing Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) business in Britain.

The free talk entitled ‘From small acorns: How to manage the operational challenges of the fastest growing FMCC business in the UK’, will be take place on 22 February at 5.30pm in the Warwick Lecture Theatre at the University.

Since graduating from Aston University in 1998 with a first class degree in Logistics, Mike has previously worked for Wincanton Logistics and Manhattan Associates Ltd. In 2001 Mike joined Innocent Ltd, heading the operations department when the company was still in its entrepreneurial stage. He has since helped nurture it into the �38 million turnover business it is today.

‘Innocent drinks grew out of the bedrooms of three university friends in 1999 and is now one of the fastest growing FMCG businesses in the UK with an expected turnover of �65m in 2006 and with a workforce of over 100 people,’ said Mike.

The success of Innocent Ltd has continued at a rapid pace over the past five years since the company was established in 2001. The London based company has proved to be a firm favourite amongst all ages and retails its products through national chains such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Boots and Starbucks - to name a few. Innocent Ltd’s products have also been a hit in the European market, resulting in premises emerging in France and Holland.

As Head of Operations, Mike’s responsibilities stretch across a wide variety of operational duties within the company such as raw production, raw material supply, out bound logistics and customer demand.

‘I will talk through how this phenomenal success has been made possible by focusing on key strategies, challenges faced and successes along the way. Innocent has built a highly successful business, despite many in the industry proclaiming it would never work. This lecture should appeal to anyone interested in dynamic growing businesses, manufacturing, supply chains and the difference in strategies and operations of small and large organisations,’ said Mike.

The closing date for ticket applications is 17 February 2006 and are available on request from Susan Anson, s.c.anson@aston.ac.uk.

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