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Strathclyde Business School Strathclyde Business School

Productivity through People

By Chris Blade - Posted on 29 May 2018

Chris Blade, managing director of Cumbrian Crystal, took part in the Productivity through People in Lancaster. As the first Scottish cohort starts their journey at Strathclyde, he shares what he found worthwhile about it.

I got involved with Productivity through People through previous projects I’d been engaged in at the University of Lancaster, namely Innovation in Manufacturing & Engineering (IME) and the Cumbria Forum.

Having moved to the area three years ago to run Cumbria Crystal I was aware my local networks were small and that the input of academics and business leaders would be very useful in helping me to make decisions about what to do at the company.

Productivity through People is a brilliant programme. It’s incredibly relevant, the lecturers on the programme were excellent and the programme provides a great support network. The delegates were great to share experiences with, the information on the programme was very useful, and the resulting networking opportunities were amazing.

As well as the extensive networking opportunities available as a result of doing the programme, I also found it helped immensely with focusing on my business direction. The programme also challenged my assumptions about my business, taking me out of my comfort zone, and I also found that my peers on the programme were people who understood the wider issues of my business challenges and there were some great individuals to discuss these with.

What I learned from the programme was that I needed to persuade staff of the need to change to make the business better, that I needed to improve productivity and focus on the little things to do so. This included better co-operation throughout the company, getting actions right the first time, and setting out clear goals for everyone. I also introduced a bonus schemes to incentivise my workforce and I undertook to review all structures and procedures which were already in place. The programme also opened my eyes to new ways of doing business such as developing e-commerce platforms.

Productivity through People is supported by four world class organisations - GSK, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and John Lewis Partnership. It was great to be at the launch event for Strathclyde in Glasgow and hear from Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership and Dave Tudor, Head of Strategy, Global Manufacturing and Supply at GSK.

Taking part in Productivity through People was a wonderful opportunity for me to see how large organisations address issues, and their sharing of ideas about best practice helped me identify our strengths as a small business. It was refreshing to recognise that, large or small, we generally all face similar issues.

I can’t single out a particular part of the programme as being especially useful – it was all very relevant to my business and the issues and challenges we all face. I’d encourage anyone taking part in the Productivity through People programme at Strathclyde to grasp the opportunity with both hands - you won't regret it.



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