After two years, Joining Forces is running at full speed, providing expert assistance to small companies by means of information services and technical visits.
Over 400 companies have been visited by TWI to make first hand assessments of opportunities for improving productivity, quality and competitiveness. These Products & Process Reviews provide the central mechanism for establishing working relations between TWI and SMEs. Approximately 10% of these companies have subsequently undertaken a feasibility study - taking practical steps to improve their business performance.
Another area of significant growth has been the recruitment of partners. Partners support small companies as they face technical and market challenges by providing expert advice and practical assistance through demonstration facilities and hosting workshops. Seventeen Industrial Member companies have signed up as partners to date, extending the reach throughout the UK in arc welding, mechanical fastening, adhesives, brazing, repair, plastics joining and surface engineering.
The Help Desk and related information services now deal with over 10 000 enquiries per year. Technical know how and costing information presented through a series of Best Practice Guides and techno-economic software packages provide comprehensive reference material for this and other on-line activities.
The Joining Forces team are now reviewing the use of advanced communications to make contacting experts easier and cheaper. A range of Internet-based services are being developed to make information more readily accessible and TWI's business of dealing with many companies more effective.
For further information on the Joining Forces Programme, contact the Help Desk at TWI 01223 893879 or write to email@example.com .