Hear about how Alpha Manufacturing joined Pathfinder to explore and achieve tangible ideas for a new spin-off business, HEX Living.
Alpha Manufacturing Ltd is a market-leading subcontract sheet metal and fabrication business based in Stafford, Staffordshire. The company has great connections across Staffordshire colleges and universities and Managing Director, Paul Clews, explains that they found the pilot Innovation and Productivity Pathfinder after being approached by a Staffordshire University contact.
Alpha Manufacturing's main aim from Pathfinder was to explore and achieve tangible ideas for a new spin-off business called HEX Living.
HEX Living is a division of the multi-award-winning business, Alpha Manufacturing. HEX Living identified an opportunity to support buyer choice after the challenges in the metal storage market that came from Brexit and the pandemic.
Funded Business Support
Included in the funding is a Staffordshire University student Innovation Consultant. An electrical Engineering student at Staffordshire University, Taurai Musendeki, discovered the Pathfinder programme through Unitemps Staffordshire University.
Unitemps Staffordshire University is an expert recruitment agency based at The Catalyst building on the Leek Road campus. Regularly offering exciting programmes by Staffordshire University, registered candidates may also find job opportunities offered by businesses across the local region on the Unitemps portal.
The Pathfinder project stood out to Taurai due to its flexible hours. This was a useful factor to consider, as the opportunity allowed him to manage his time between his final year project at Staffordshire University, whilst gaining invaluable work experience with Alpha Manufacturing.
After a number of introductions between themselves, Taurai (student Innovation Consultant) and an expert Innovation Advisor (Alan Christian), Alpha Manufacturing took on Taurai for 6 months to explore long-term ideas for HEX Living.
Taurai first presented the business's new furniture range to business owners, managing directors and entrepreneurs across several garden centres. His aim was to increase their product ranges.
Alan Christian met with Taurai three times a week throughout the duration of the project to help refine his thinking, work through any challenges and support Taurai in mapping out business ideas.
Alpha Manufacturing has implemented the student Innovation Consultant's ideas and is currently seeing HEX Living's furniture range in some of the garden centres. Another benefit of having an Innovation Consultant is that Taurai brought bags of enthusiasm and tangible benefits that the business will be able to work on for the next 3 years.
Taurai found the support to be excellent. Having an Innovation Advisor alongside made overcoming hurdles easier in a 6-month timeline. Taurai also found a first point-of-contact useful because it made it an excellent opportunity to generate new ideas for the next 2-3 years.
The project for Taurai has helped him see how he can manoeuvre certain career paths. From communication and teamworking to presenting ideas, the involvement of the student Innovation Consultant has been so great that Alpha Manufacturing hired Taurai as a Trainee Production Engineer after the project ended.
*The Innovation and Productivity Pathfinder project has been fully funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund. The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people in employment.
The whole process was self-managing. Taurai brought the project bags and bags of enthusiasm and I think the tangible benefits we'll get from a HEX Living point of view will be great moving forward.