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Knowledge Transfer Partnership to help engineering firm look to the future

Experts from Birmingham City Business School are helping to bring about management change and new strategic thinking at an Oldbury-based engineering firm via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.
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Knowledge Transfer Partnership to help engineering firm look to the future

Experts from Birmingham City Business School are helping to bring about management change and new strategic thinking at an Oldbury-based engineering firm via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.
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Experts from Birmingham City University’s Business School have embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to help provide management change and strategic thinking at an Oldbury-based engineering firm.

A Partnership to deliver change

Malthouse Engineering Co Ltd is the UK’s largest independent flame-cutting and grinding company. Founded in 1947, it has grown through various acquisitions and until recently had six sites around the UK, employing 80 people.

Academics from Birmingham City University Business School in the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences (BLSS) have embarked on a major new project to help the company acquire new skills and utilise the latest academic research.

This will deliver management change and strategic thinking to transform the business as it operates in a difficult manufacturing environment, including the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

Cutting metal at Malthouse Engineering Factory.

Meeting strategic aims

The 24-month Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) is tailored to Malthouse’s strategic aims which are to avoid retrenchment in its core business and generate growth in diversified areas where it has core competences – measurement, calibration, holding stock, and services in the manufacture of metal components and sub-assemblies.

The business case supporting this project is based on:

  • Productivity improvement from rationalisation between Malthouse and acquired businesses or assets
  • An increase in turnover from acquisitions
  • Reduction in material and utilities costs from use of improved forecasting techniques
  • Opportunities for diversification into new markets.
Malthouse Engineering have been flame-cutting and grinding for over 70 years.

What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 40 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

In a KTP, the University employs a graduate or postgraduate (the Associate) to work on site with the company, jointly supervised by company and university staff.  BCU’s growing portfolio of projects is fully supported by the Knowledge Transfer, Business Engagement team in RIEE.

Support from academic experts

For this project, the mKTP Associate will be supported by Academic Supervisor and Head of Research and Enterprise Dr Bruce Philp, who has over 25 years’ experience as an academic business economist, and his PhD examined strategic behaviour in the field of industrial economics. His published work has used simulations to model the impact of systemic shocks, including Covid-19, as well as differences in regional productivity.

Dr Philp said “This is an exciting opportunity for a genuine collaboration between Malthouse Engineering and Birmingham City Business School. We’re proud to be associated with a progressive, forward-thinking SME, working in a traditional industry. I’m excited about the possibilities for creating employment and sustained firm growth, along with high-quality research outputs.”

Malthouse Engineering Co Ltd’s Managing Director Roy Taylor added: “This is the fifth KTP-type collaboration between universities and Malthouse. Awareness of the benefits and opportunities of KTPs are not widely known or appreciated. The benefits work both ways. The associate has real-life exposure to industry and the company has a refresh in modern analysis and techniques.”


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