Nottingham Trent University helps businesses to navigate the next stage of Covid-19

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is providing support to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University’s Productivity Improvement Programme supports businesses to adopt new technologies to improve efficiency and save money. The programme, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

It delivers an in-depth programme of innovation support for local SMEs that aims to help them grow and become more competitive. The initiative is designed to improve the productivity of business, through developing new and improved products or services, and by upskilling staff to work smarter.

Who are NTU working with?

NTU is supporting Rise & Recline Ltd, a furniture company based in Long Eaton, to increase manufacturing productivity. The company is a leading British manufacturer of riser recliner chairs and adjustable beds. Its products are designed to make daily life easier for people with health problems.

Dr Aquila Yeong and Associate Professor Roy Stratton, of Nottingham Business School, are providing advice on the introduction of a Production, Planning & Control (PPC) system. The PPC system will lead to the integration of Rise and Recline’s new website ordering system with its existing manufacturing process.

The PPC system will digitise the existing manual process, simplifying the method and reducing human error. This will improve the overall productivity of Rise & Recline saving the business both time and money. The project will also utilise industry best practice and identify and respond to the needs of the staff who will use the new system.

John Lougher, Managing Director of Rise & Recline, said: “Working with NTU experts on the project has enabled us to turn a big wish into reality within months. For an SME this is invaluable in helping our business grow in a challenging business landscape. It is fair to say that this project looks like it will exceed our expectations and is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together.”

Rise & Recline’s new PPC system will have a digital platform that integrates with the company’s commercial software, its Client Management System and a new website.

By increasing the productivity of Rise & Recline, this new PPC system prepares the company for future growth and helps to consolidate its industry leading position.

NTU experts will provide support throughout the project, from development, to testing the new technology and supporting Rise & Recline to embed the final working system.

NTU is already supporting 19 businesses across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire through the Productivity through Improvement programme. The programme can help businesses as they shift their focus from COVID-19 crisis management and survival, to responding to the opportunities and challenges of post-lockdown.

Dr Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at NTU commented: “The collaboration with Rise & Recline demonstrates NTU’s commitment and readiness to support SMEs and their aspirations for continuous improvement, particularly as businesses respond to impact of COVID-19.

“Utilising new technology effectively will be a key factor in getting through this recovery period by enabling businesses to make their operations as efficient as possible.

“Rise & Recline’s determination for development and growth has changed the lockdown into an opportunity to rethink their business processes. We look forward to hearing from similarly minded ambitious businesses who we would be keen to help.”

NTU in collaboration with Make UK, the University of Nottingham and University of Derby are hosting an online webinar on 16 July business to look at how manufacturing in the East Midlands can become more resilient and how the Universities can support this. The webinar is open to all manufacturers based in the East Midlands.