COMPANIES in the large Leeds City Region that can manufacture vital products, such as hand sanitisers, face masks, scrubs and visors, are collaborating with a Supply Chain Programme at the University to ensure that they get to where they are needed most.

The programme’s goal is to help small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) establish connections with larger companies, so that their products penetrate the supply chain more effectively.

Now, the emphasis has switched to the Covid-19 emergency, as Stephen Gregory, the University of Huddersfield’s Head of Regional Engagement, explains.

“We are working with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership on co-ordinating local companies who supply critical medical products that are urgently needed at the moment,” he said.

The Supply Chain Programme was launched at the University in 2018 and has links with 230 SMEs in the region.  Now, Mr Gregory and his team are helping those firms whose products can help with the crisis to make the right connections with the NHS.

Mr Gregory heads the Supply Chain Programme alongside Professor Liz Towns-Andrews, who is Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Huddersfield.  They have a team of nine, who respond when an SME in the Leeds City Region – which covers Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York – seeks to make links with large national or multi-national companies.

“We go into the SME and look at what they do and how they can improve their business performance.  Then we form an action plan based around factors such as productivity, quality and technology adoption so we get them to a level where they can work with a large enterprise,” said Mr Gregory