Case study - Dycem
UWE Bristol and Dycem collaborated on a Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with the aim of creating a new, high-quality floor covering, suitable for safety critical environments, which could also be printed with customer logos, patterns and images.
Dycem Ltd is a world-leading manufacturer of high performance, contamination control floorings and non-slip products. The company is based in Bristol and has 50 employees. Its partnership with UWE Bristol began in 1997 when the company Managing Director, Mark Dalziel, embarked on an MBA at the University. This helped Mark direct the strategy of the business but had another, unexpected, impact. He had built strong relationships with UWE Bristol academics, so the University was the natural place to look when the company found it needed additional expertise to drive growth.
Innovation for Strategic Growth
This led to the development of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Dycem and the Bristol Business School at UWE Bristol, which aimed to expand international distribution networks through strategic channel management. The project was ambitious in scope for a locally based company trying to compete on a multinational scale, making the university link essential to success. Company profits increased by £270k over 2 years and 4 new jobs were created in the business. In addition UWE Bristol benefitted through research publications and student involvement on projects.
One of the outcomes for Dycem was increased market intelligence. This led to the identification of two key opportunities that needed to be addressed in order for the company to continue to grow. Firstly, it needed greater understanding of the material science properties of the contamination flooring products to increase market penetration. Materials testing was carried out by UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences and the data was used to inform product development and sales tools.
Transforming the business model
The second opportunity was to provide branded printed products. The initial KTP had allowed Dycem to build a strong relationship with UWE Bristol’s Research and Business Development Team team, which was able to provide a gateway into other areas of the University. This helped the company to access the multi-disciplinary expertise it needed, leading to the development of a further KTP with UWE Bristol’s Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR). The aims of this second project were the creation of a highly visual product and the transformation of the company’s business model by enabling it to sell directly to customers.
Following this 2 year KTP the company’s profit has increased by an additional £140k with an expected additional £1m profit over the following three years. The impact on CFPR’s research has also been significant. Case studies have been used in numerous academic and industry presentations and these have led to a deepening of relationships with partners such as HP and Roland DG. The KTP was shortlisted for a national award by Innovate UK.
Collaboration for a productive future
The company is now looking to carrying out strategic product development for its non-slip products which will be assisted through a third KTP, this time focussed on marketing. Other members of the management team are benefitting from career development through UWE Bristol’s MBA and Dycem continues to look to the University as provider of graduate level staff.
Both the company and University are continuing to explore collaboration opportunities, including discussions with Bristol Robotics Laboratory. As well as the immediate research benefits for UWE Bristol, demonstrating the ability to successfully support SMEs through collaborations like this one with Dycem has helped the University to gain Silver Small Business Charter Award from the Chartered Association of Business Schools. It also contributed to UWE Bristol’s short-listing as a finalist in the Business Enabler of the Year category of the 2014 National Business Awards (the first time a university had been shortlisted).
- 3 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
- Increase in turnover of £2m to date
- Staff development through MBAs
- Multidisciplinary engagement
- Student projects
- Published research
- Press release: UWE Bristol's KTP with Dycem is one of the best in UK (Dec 2013)
- Press release: UWE Bristol helps turn safety flooring into work of art (May 2009)
- View the Dycem Ltd project video for further information.
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