- Capturing technical knowledge and improving quotations
With more than 50 years’ experience of designing and manufacturing bulk materials handling equipment, Guttridge produces a range of elevators, conveyors, feeders and ancillary tools to handle an array of materials – including cereals, powders, flakes, pellets and granules – used across a variety of industries.
Bulk materials handling requires a comprehensive understanding of likely material behaviour and flow properties.
Guttridge has a wealth of knowledge and experience developed over many years, but the company’s proud reputation for Right-First-Time equipment was at risk as long-standing employees started to retire.
In addition to capturing critical wisdom and skills, the company identified an opportunity to improve the speed, quality and consistency of its responses to customers’ technical enquiries.
A two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – part-funded by Innovate UK – allowed Guttridge to work with Loughborough’s School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering to address these issues.
The KTP Associate worked with experienced employees at Guttridge to capture key knowledge related to screw conveyor specification decisions. He also reviewed industry guides and technical papers to develop a thorough understanding of the science of materials handling.
With the support of his University supervisor, the Associate developed a methodology, a software tool and a traffic light style system to guide proposal engineers through the process of creating a specification for a screw conveyor or discharger.
The KTP collaboration addressed and mitigated both of Guttridge’s business concerns.
The creation of a software tool and electronic materials database – distilled from the knowledge of long-serving and retiring staff as well as wider industry data – embedded this expertise within the company. As well as expediting the work of existing employees, these tools support newly recruited proposal engineers – enabling them to be productive immediately without the need for extensive training.
The partnership also allowed the company to significantly improve the speed, accuracy, consistency and technical content of quotations – as well as the conversion rate of quotations to orders.
What’s more, there has been a reduction of warranty claims arising from inaccurate machinery specifications.
As a result of the KTP project, the company predicts a £750,000 increase in annual turnover over the next three years.