Knowledge Transfer Partnership from University of Huddersfield

A TWO-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), between a local luxurious bed company and the University of Huddersfield, has exceeded expectations by bringing in savings of over £1.4million.

Dr Sammar Javed, from the University of Huddersfield’s Business School, has been undergoing the KTP, supervised by senior lecturer Jim Bamford, with Huddersfield firm Deluxe Beds Ltd since January 2018.  The partnership is in the latter stages of completion but has already exceeded its defined financial targets with the company also achieving a 100% increase in productivity.

Deluxe Beds Ltd is a family-run bed manufacturer based in Kirklees and Dr Javed was appointed as their Business Development Manager after the company was awarded £132k by Innovate UK to appoint a Knowledge Transfer Associate.

The KTP programme aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful KTP project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

During her time with the company, Dr Javed has overseen multiple projects and successful funding applications.  These have led to an increase in sales due to improved marketing, company outreach and networking.  The company has also noticed improvements in its supply chain and has seen an increase in production through more efficient operations.

One of the projects, which was awarded over £56,000, will fund research to explore the potential for taking a highly-innovative approach to mattress manufacturing using “modular” construction. This will add value to the embedded features and significantly enhance the positive health benefits as part of sleep quality for the end-user who will be able to customise particular features.

Designs for the pioneering new mattress have been noticed by the nation’s bedding industry after Deluxe Beds Ltd was named one of three finalists of the category ‘Innovation of the Year’ in the 2019 National Bed Federation Annual Awards.

The luxury bed manufacturer also received an upgrade to its digital infrastructure after Dr Javed secured funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)via a business support programme known as Digital Enterprise.

The digital transformation led to the company being named in the Digital Enterprise Top 100, a campaign to showcase the most digitally innovative businesses from across West and North Yorkshire.

In light of Dr Javed’s achievements, the business recently nominated her for a Manufacturer Top 100 award, which recognises excellence across UK manufacturing.

Managing Director of Deluxe Beds Ltd, Khatizi Bibi, believes without the partnership, the growth the company has witnessed would have been near impossible.

“We are a small business with a relatively small management team and it is not often you find someone like Sammar who has expertise in so many areas,” said Khatizi Bibi.  “We’ve made a lot of progress and there have been multiple improvements made to the company, all thanks to Sammar’s efforts.

“The KTP programme bridges a gap between industry and academia.  The valuable insight received from this project allowed the company to access new research ideas as well as discover alternative funding options,” she added.

Prior to the KTP, Dr Javed decided to undergo a PhD research project at the University under the supervision of Professor David Bamford, with additional support from Dr Ian Reid. Both had expertise in operations management, with a particular focus on the transfer of knowledge from research into industry.

Dr Javed, who is originally from Pakistan, has since been offered the role of Operations Director with Deluxe Beds Ltd of which she will take under consideration after the KTP has completed in January 2020.