Steel Processor Gains Market Share
Birmingham City University initially undertook a partnership with the Dudley based company Servosteel, the UK’s leading steel toll processing company. In 2007, the company invested over 20% of their turnover in new processing equipment to allow them to offer exclusively patented SCS (Smooth, Clean Surface) technology in the UK. SCS is a mechanical brushing technology that enhances the value of steel by delivering a smooth, clean surface in an environmentally-friendly way.
Servosteel has always had a very strong reputation in the UK steel market. To maintain and grow the business, Servosteel needed to make the SCS line a success. The challenge lay in the sales and marketing of the new line: how to create demand from market sectors with which Servosteel had knowledge, but no direct contact.
When the Black Country manufacturer invested in SCS, a revolutionary new line for processing steel coils, Birmingham City Business School proposed a bespoke Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which was available at the time to help the company with its marketing strategy.
This KTP was a one-year collaboration between a graduate, Birmingham City Business School and the company that identified new markets and drew on the collective knowledge and expertise to resolve a business problem. Christian Korn, MD of Servosteel was keen to focus on generating awareness and new business for SCS and specifically wanted to:
- Gain direct access to end users of steel strip encouraging them to specify the SCS material;
- Encourage stockholders and resellers to sell SCS actively to their customers;
- Establish the SCS service as a brand that has a positive profile which would lead to greater awareness.
Sanjin Hamza, a Birmingham City Business School graduate of Marketing, Advertising and PR, was recruited as KTP Associate and impressed Christian Korn, immediately, with his work ethos and ability to learn very quickly about a very technical engineering subject. Working alongside the board and senior management team Sanjin was responsible for identifying new opportunities for SCS.
The KTP project has been so successful that Servosteel has now embarked on a longer two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Birmingham City Business School. The Associate successfully identified appropriate target customer segments and developed communication strategies to realise the potential of SCS. To date, the business has seen an increase in awareness and interest in the product and a number of potential business partners have been identified.
The KTP enabled us to reach the key decision makers within our target market. I would highly recommend it as a way of adding academic philosophy to dealing with the day-to-day marketing problems faced by manufacturing and service industries.” – Christian Korn, Managing Director, Servosteel