KTP Offers Clear Route To New Product Development
Founded in 1981, Bromsgrove Glass and Windows Ltd (BGW) employed more than 50 people at its Bromsgrove site and had a turnover in excess of £4million in 2006. The company established its core business in the manufacture and supply of glass and fenestration products to the building and shop-fitting industries, and successfully diversified into the production and installation of conservatories and double glazing units for the domestic market.
The company worked with the University’s Birmingham Institute of Art and Design faculty on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. The collaboration aimed to develop an in-house process for the manufacture of a new range of glass furniture and to establish a new customer base using a website.
In 2003, BGW identified a niche market for glass furniture, and planned further expansion to exploit this opening. The company realised that establishing a position within this market would depend on designing and manufacturing high-quality, desirable products, and would necessitate use of new marketing strategies to attract sufficient customers.
This successful KTP has given BGW the opportunity to expand its business, developing and launching a range of high quality, contemporary glass furniture products and accessories to market through a new, dedicated company. Through this KTP, BGW has increased its knowledge of techniques for glass bonding, lighting and manufacturing, and has a greater insight into worldwide trends in glass products.
A customised three-dimensional modelling system has been implemented to fast-track new product development, and a component library has been created for use in future projects. In-house design and manufacturing capabilities have been developed and refined through the production of full-scale prototypes, which also enabled quality assessment and product proving before any commitment to volume manufacturing.
In July 2005, BGW launched a new company (Glassdomain Ltd) to sell its glass furniture range, primarily through the Internet (www.glassdomain.co.uk).
- An established position in the glass furniture market.
- In-house product development, prototyping and direct manufacturing capabilities, without the need for external consultancy.
- Shorter product development time and more efficient working processes, increasing profitability.
- A highly-refined website which was designed in-house and is database-driven, ensuring data is up-to-date.
- Positive feedback from potential customers with sales of the new products rising steadily.
At Glassdomain we are committed to using design to improve lifestyle. Through this KTP, the University’s Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) has been instrumental in realising a ‘design’ function within our company.” – Graham Southall, Managing Director, Glassdomain Ltd