Developing an action plan

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How a meeting between Business Link innovation adviser John Tregaskes and Scientific Services MD Tim Hamilton helped add a cutting edge to the scientific consultancy

Identifying where and how your business could benefit from specialist support can be quite a challenge. But knowing how to find reliable and relevant support is often even more of a challenge.

For these reasons, more and more Cornish firms are calling upon the impartial services provided by Business Link. And one of the latest companies to have taken this is Scientific Services Ltd, a nationallyrespected laboratory and scientific consulting business based near St Austell.

With the help of Business Link’s Convergence service and the Designing Demand service, the company has just completed a major design project to help it bring new services to market and win more business.

Scientific Services Ltd was initially founded as a home-based business in 2002 by MD Dr Tim Hamilton. Now with 14 highly-skilled employees and based in purpose-built, state-of-the-art premises at St Stephen, it is both the west country’s largest asbestos analysis company and Cornwall’s only nationally-accredited laboratory for microbiological water-testing.

It was to discuss certain aspects of the company’s strategic direction that Hamilton arranged a meeting last year with Business Link’s Innovation Adviser, John Tregaskes. Tregaskes had previously helped the company in the early stages of its development to secure a Research and Development grant to enable it to work with Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC).

Following further business support, he arranged a strategy session with Hamilton and marketing & communications co-ordinator Carly Matthews. “As a result, the company developed an action plan to provide a framework for its future direction,” he says. “In particular this focussed on how best for the company to present itself to the marketplace. A key element in taking this forward was design, so I also introduced Tim and his colleagues to Kathryn Hughes of the Design Council’s Designing Demand service, to help them drive the project forward.”

Much of the company’s work involves site visits across the south west, into Wales and as far east as Southampton. In support of this, it has developed a streamlined IT-based appointment-booking and reporting system, which uses GPS and mobile email to keep clients informed of their progress. “This is unique in our sector, and our clients love it – it’s a real source of added value for them,” Hamilton continues.

This is just one indication of the company’s commitment to the highest possible quality of customer service. Hamilton also believes that this should extend to every form of communication or contact with clients, whether face-to-face, through traditional and digital marketing activities or via the company website. It was this desire to be at the cutting edge in customer service that prompted his recent request for further help from Business Link.

“This is a great example of a knowledge-based Cornish company that’s doing really well in a highly advanced and competitive sphere,” adds Tregaskes.

“An operational gap that needed to be filled was recognised and the full day strategy workshop helped to identify precisely what needed to be addressed. Because we work in such close partnership with partner organisations and support providers right across the county, we were able to point Tim in the direction of the most appropriate support.

“The company has made full use of our services and is now reaping the full benefit thanks to the excellent support provided by Designing Demand.”

www.businesslink.gov.uk/southwest