University aims to support growth of two ambitious businesses

Experts at Leeds Beckett University have teamed up with two businesses on projects to share their academic knowledge and applied industry experience to bring sustainable growth to both firms.

The academics from Leeds Business School will work with Leeds-based Kingfisher (Lubrication) Ltd and Staffordshire-based Excitation and Engineering Services Limited (EES) on the two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

The projects are part-funded by the Government through Innovate UK.

Kingfisher is one of the largest manufacturers of grease fittings in the world – from its factory based on Meanwood Road, Leeds. The business was established in 1867 and became an employee-owned trust in 2020.

Project leader, Dr David Andrews, senior lecturer in marketing at Leeds Business School, said: “This project supports the strategic shift required at Kingfisher to support long-term evolution and to become a more growth-focused business.

“We will address two key strands of innovation: developing and embedding skills and strategic insights, such as market segmentation, to increase sales; and evolving the company’s talent management and succession planning strategy.”

Lorraine Nugent, managing director of Kingfisher (Lubrication) Ltd, said: “All the team at Kingfisher are excited to be on board with the KTP project.

“Although the company is over 150 years old, we believe a fresh approach to our strategic marketing processes will facilitate growth within our existing markets and deliver new capabilities to be able to diversify into other areas.

“To be given the opportunity to collaborate with Leeds Beckett University on this project has given us all a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the road ahead.”

EES is a specialist in excitation control systems, operating across the UK and globally from its base in Tamworth.

Excitation systems are essential in power generation and are found in small, embedded power generation units – such as diesel generators, large power stations and motors used within heavy industries.

Project leader, Dr Karen Vollum-Dix, senior lecturer in the Leadership, Governance and People Management subject group at Leeds Business School, explained: “With this project we will use innovative approaches to optimise EES’s management capability to ensure business growth and continuity and to drive new business and explore new routes to market.

“EES’s strategic aim is to be the leading, independent specialist within the niche field of excitation systems. The business is ambitious to grow turnover and requires support to create and embed a platform for sustainable growth.”

A skilled graduate will be recruited to each KTP to support its delivery. They will be recruited as a full-time member of staff within the business, with the full support of the academic team at Leeds Beckett.

Douglas Cope, managing director of EES, said: “We have enjoyed working with the enthusiastic team at Leeds Beckett during the recruitment phase and are looking forward to our KTP Associate applying academic theory and research to help guide our future growth plans.”