An example of how businesses working together can pay off has been made with the announcement of a collaboration between two SMEs.

Cleator Moor based RB Electrical and Whitehaven’s Responsive Ltd have joined forces to offer a complete electrical and mechanical inspection and testing service to their industrial clients.

The announcement was made on May 16, when both owners, Ryan Bound (RB Electrical) and Lee Grears (Responsive Ltd), came together to sign a memorandum of understanding offering to support one another.

Lee said: “Responsive Ltd has been offering mechanical testing such as radiography and ultrasonic testing of welds since 2011 from our bases in Lillyhall and Whitehaven and have been asked many times to offer electrical inspections, we just couldn’t find the correct partner, until now.

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“Collaboration is key to Responsive’s future growth allowing us to concentrate on our core business and helping to enhance other SME businesses around us.”

Ryan said: “Collaborations such as this with Responsive will help our company grow.

“Immediately we have secured work on Sellafield allowing us to take on further staff and target new premises at Cleator Moor.”

Michael Walby, head of corporate at Cumbrian law firm Burnetts, commented: “We advise a large number of SMEs in Cumbria, and see quite a lot of collaboration between them in the nuclear supply chain and the engineering sectors.

Cumberland & Westmorland Gazette: Michael WalbyMichael Walby

“I think those businesses follow the example set by larger tier 2 companies in those sectors, which have long track records of partnering to utilise each other’s expertise when bidding for large projects.”  

Walby added: “It is great to see local engineering SMEs like TIS and McMenon Engineering collaborating as key delivery partners on the PPP framework at Sellafield. 

“Local companies like Cumbria O&M Services and PaR Systems regularly collaborate with other SMEs, but perhaps as a region, we do not shout about it enough. 

“Exciting initiatives like the Industrial Solutions Hub in West Cumbria will also undoubtedly provide further opportunities for partnering and collaboration amongst SMEs in the region.

"It has been good to see SMEs in the tourism sector working together more since the pandemic to tackle issues such as the recruitment and skills crisis. 

"That has worked very well, and I have seen a lot of new ideas generated when these businesses put their heads together."

Suzanne Caldwell, managing director at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “When bidding for work business to business, it’s common that purchasers want a supplier who can provide the full package of products and services rather than combining several suppliers themselves.

Cumberland & Westmorland Gazette: Suzanne CaldwellSuzanne Caldwell

“Sometimes an ask is just too big for smaller suppliers to bid for and win on their own.

“So, consortium approaches can work really well."

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