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Aston KTP graduates to help masterful SME

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FactoryMaster provides manufacturing, warehousing and wholesaling software solutions for small to medium companies in a wide range of manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive and food & drink. The company has over 160 customers in the UK, and exports through representatives in Europe, the USA and Asia. Now, working in unison with Aston University, they have taken on two KTP Associates to enable them to satisfy existing clients’ demands more fully and compete more widely and effectively for additional higher-level (and more profitable) business.

 The first associate, supervised by Marketing specialist Dr John Rudd from Aston Business School with support from Dr Ian Combe, is working on the business strategy project which aims to reposition the company, specify new target markets for existing products, facilitate customer-led product enhancements, develop a brand image and marketing collateral and also identify new delivery channels. It will recommend target markets and prepare for the launch of the products initially developed by the Complex Scenario Modelling Solutions Project (below), and subsequent enhancements to those products and their delivery channels.

 The second associate, supervised by Professor Ian Nabney from Aston’s Computer Science Research Group, with support from Mathematics lecturer Dr Jort van Mourik, will work on a complex scenario modelling project. This will enable FactoryMaster to address an already identified need (within its existing customer base and markets) for tailored and more sophisticated scheduling software packages that it is currently technically unable to fulfil: in addition it will enable the company to develop bespoke solutions for a range of scheduling problems.As a result the company will have the capability to enter new sectors, including the consultancy marketplace, in using the marketing orientation and branding of the business developed in the first Business Strategy KTP project.

 Business Strategy project supervisor Dr John Rudd said “This project will contribute to my current research interest in International Sales & Marketing and small business strategic decision making. The work will contribute to the research output of the Business School and is also expected to identify further research related opportunities into development and implementation of strategy”

 Supervisor of the complex scenario modelling project Professor Ian Nabney said, “This project will enable Dr van Mourik and myself to test out some of our ideas for scheduling algorithms on practical problems and enrich our research in the area. The relationship fostered by the KTP partnership will enable the development of other co-operations, including internships, student placements, and Master's projects. There is also clear potential for follow-on commercial projects with Aston Active Software Engineering (a company set up by Aston to enable the commercial exploitation of student work).”

 FactoryMaster Managing Director Darran Neary said, “This project will take the company from being a technically excellent, but largely product-focussed organisation, to one that is market oriented, and operating on a higher plane of expertise.”

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research