Graduate engineers massive savings

Published: 19 May 2008 at 14:55

Herga Electric benefits from Knowledge Partners East of England (KEEP) programme.

Experts from Anglia Ruskin University, who are leading the field when it comes to delivering Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, are pioneering a new initiative designed to help companies become more profitable.  The regionally-funded Knowledge Transfer scheme, aims to help businesses in the East of England to enhance their profitability and productivity through accessing the wealth of knowledge and expertise available in their local universities. 

The Knowledge Transfer Office has completed the largest number of projects out of all the universities in the Eastern region.  One of the most successful programmes has just been completed for Bury St Edmunds-based Herga Electric which culminated in £250,000 identified annual savings for the company in just 6 months.

Herga has led the way in the design, manufacture and distribution of specialist switches and actuators for over 60 years. The company is a leading manufacturer of pressure switches, foot pedals, differential switches, air bellows, printed circuit board and USB controllers. 

They export around 50% of their production globally around the world to a diverse range of industries including the medical, healthcare, sport, industrial and automotive industries.

Adrian McLean, a recently qualified engineering student, was recruited to manage the project which consisted of researching, identifying and prioritising major cost savings for the company so that it could continue to compete successfully.  Adrian worked with academics from the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Ashcroft International Business School to provide help with project management, quality engineering, efficient manufacturing, effective design processes and supply chain management in order to realise the saving.  He has since been employed by the company.

Adrian has gained a wide amount of experience through the project, in addition to securing a full time position with the company. He said:

“In addition, to knowing more about how a professional engineering company runs, I have now gained valuable experience in managing international relationships. These are career enhancing skills that you can only pick up when you are working with a leading international manufacturing company.”

Anglia Ruskin University’s Knowledge Transfer Manager, Simon Daly, commented:

“You simply cannot do today’s job with yesterday’s methods which is why we are making a difference to businesses throughout the East of England. When you add new ideas to a company, using a qualified graduate to implement the project, and add the backing of university academics you can easily affect positive results. Everybody wins, the company, the university and the economy as a whole.”

Richard Chatham, MD of Herga Electric stated:

“Having Adrian with us, who was totally dedicated to the success of the project without the day to day issues of running the business, has helped us to accelerate the project beyond what would have been possible previously.”

The project has accelerated the company’s thrust into the global market place through offshore manufacturing and substantial changes in terms of engineering system design and efficient engineering.

Anglia Ruskin University has campuses at Cambridge and Chelmsford and is developing new university centres at Peterborough, King’s Lynn and Harlow.