Companies commit to collaboration by joining business network forum

MORE than 30 companies have committed to working more closely with neighbouring businesses by entering into a newly launched network which promotes collaboration.

Companies across Cumbria will meet on a regular basis to share best working practices and advice through presentations and networking opportunities as part of a series of events facilitated by BAE Systems with the aim of encouraging businesses to lean on one another’s expertise.

The latest event was hosted by engineering company Forth which expanded the format by welcoming more than 40 business leaders from the county to tour its facility in Barrow-in-Furness and find out more about the world-first innovations devised by the company.

In addition, team members gave attendees presentations on ways to document progress of ongoing projects and the lifecycle of manufacturing products.

Tony Sneesby discusses Forth innovations to attendees

Tony Sneesby, Forth’s operations manager in Barrow, said: “It was a real privilege to be able to throw open our doors and host so many local businesses whose values and commitment to collaboration align with ours.

“As an SME carrying out world pioneering innovations, we rely on working with companies which can provide some of the services we can’t to ensure the client is getting the best possible service and value for money.

“It is so good to see that so many businesses in Cumbria are signed up to sharing ideas and resources to work together and keep work, and therefore jobs, in our local area.

“By collaborating, we can prove that we are better and stronger working together rather than against each other, and there’s now more opportunities to develop the exceptional talent on our doorstep.

“We were delighted to welcome so many members of the business community to our Barrow facility so they could witness first hand the amazing work we do here, and understand more clearly the potential for world class innovations on a larger scale by sharing resources.”

Young entrepreneur Clyne Albertelli, 25, set up Co-Lab Engineering recently to help organisations find solutions to industry challenges and develop engineering capability by working together. 

A former Solutions Manager at Sellafield, Clyne was fully supportive of the networking group being formed to help develop the potential to create world pioneering work through collaboration.

He said: “It’s reassuring as a new start-up to see the commitment by BAE Systems and its supply chain to collaborating. Collaboration is at the heart of Co-Lab Engineering’s mission and it’s great to see other organisations valuing working together as much as we do.”

While the networking group was the brainchild of BAE Systems, which will continue to facilitate the regular meetings, the company was keen to highlight that the group belongs to the local business community and members will be encouraged to set the agenda for future meetings.

The company has been able to use its wide network to bring many businesses in its supply chain together, and it is hoped the group will continue to grow and expand.

Neil Jackson, Principal Supply Chain Manager at BAE Systems

Neil Jackson, Principal Supply Chain Manager at BAE Systems, said: “It’s important to point out that this isn’t a BAE event nor just for BAE suppliers, because what we are trying to build is a community of local businesses coming together.

“It’s about sharing practices and ideas with each other for a mutual benefit, and to encourage more inward collaboration to really celebrate the fantastic work of Cumbrian businesses.

“When companies need to outsource work, we want them to be looking more locally and on their doorstep before looking elsewhere.

“This forum will cover a wide range of topics and we would like to see the whole business community really engage with this and form some sort of committee to take it over as a collaborative business group.

“Previously, we have probably seen businesses being reluctant to share ideas and ways of working with one another in fear they may steal it for their own gain, but in this environment we can encourage sharing of material which will benefit all businesses and strengthen Cumbria’s position as a whole.”

Leaders in bespoke engineering solutions, Forth has bases in Flimby and Cleator Moor in Cumbria, in addition to Barrow-in-Furness.

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