Saturday, November 11, 2006

UK manufacturers must think globally

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for April 2006, Barclays, said that UK manufacturers need to 'think global' now more than ever.

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for April 2006, Andy Martin, national director of manufacturing at Barclays, said: 'This surprise fall in the monthly figures demonstrates that UK manufacturers need to 'think global' now more than ever'.

'The reported lacklustre performance of some of the mainly UK-focused manufacturing industries underlines the importance of the strengthening global economy and, specifically, international export markets to UK manufacturers'.

'That said, the three-month figures remain positive and consistent with the upward, more optimistic trend shown in the recent bout of industry surveys.'

Founder gains ownership of plastics moulder

Mike McDonough, founder of Sertec Plastics, has bought the UK company out of the Sertec Group with financial backing from Lloyds TSB and accountants and business advisers PKF.

An Aston, Birmingham, business originally launched in 1986 has been bought by its founder in a management buyout (MBO) advised by Birmingham professional firms. Mike McDonough, founder of Sertec Plastics, has bought the company out of the Sertec Group with financial backing from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance in Birmingham. The transaction was led by Jat Najran and Andy Kay, corporate finance directors at accountants and business advisers PKF and the management team was advised by Gary Davie and Sara Woodward of Putsmans Solicitors.

Sertec Group took external advice from Paul Wakefield of Clarke Wilmott.

The company specialises in vacuum-formed and polyurethane moulded components for a variety of applications including automotive, construction, agriculture, work vehicles and general engineering.

As well as supplying interior vehicle trim components for specialist car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Lotus and Renault, Sertec Plastics also supplies items such as replacement blue plastic hoods for lottery ticket stands.

Having carved out a specialist niche in its sphere of operations, Sertec Plastics now manufactures some 300 different parts and in the last 12 months has added JCB and Land Rover to a growing list of customers.

Now the business is looking to grow both in premises and staff.

Staff numbers have already grown from 32 to 43 and managing director Mick McDonough is looking to expand near the current 36,000ft2 Witton premises and add skilled staff as the business grows.

McDonough explained the reasoning behind the management buyout.

'The products and services we provide were no longer regarded as a core activity by the Sertec Group and we felt that more focus and investment was needed on Sertec Plastics to put us in a position to deliver the ever more demanding requirements of our customers.' He continued: 'We appreciate the role our advisers played in structuring the transaction and believe that with our technical expertise and experience and continued close business relationships we are now in a position to move forward.' Jat Najran of PKF Corporate Finance said: 'In the wake of recent problematic conditions in the West Midlands engineering community it was particularly rewarding to be involved in a deal that secured an excellent company's niche position in a competitive market.' He said: 'Mike has an established track record of investing in and developing businesses and with his company's knowledge of their existing markets and innovative engineering capability, Sertec Plastics should be well placed to exploit its undoubted potential.' Putsmans corporate partner Gary Davie said: 'We are always delighted to be working with and supporting West Midlands manufacturing companies.

The successful completion of Sertec Plastics is the latest of several management buyouts we have acted on in recent months.

Mike came to us on the recommendation of another client, which is always nice, and we look forward to working with him and his team in the future.'

Friday, November 10, 2006

Electricity charges do not wait for Autumn

Businesses whose electricity contracts come up for renewal this autumn should act immediately to avoid the seasonal 'spike' when around 70% of businesses sign new contracts.

Businesses whose electricity contracts come up for renewal this autumn should act immediately to avoid the seasonal spike when around 70% of businesses sign new contracts and the surge in demand causes prices to peak. Organisations should buy early and consider locking into longer contracts to beat the anticipated September/October price increases, warns energy management company Utility Auditing (UAL). 'There have been dramatic price rises in excess of 80% in the wholesale electricity market over the past 12 months, and the price of gas has doubled,' explained Paul Backx, managing director of UAL.

He continued: 'There is very little sign of prices easing and given unprecedented market trends of 2005/06, there is every likelihood that the major autumn contract renewal round will drive further speculative forward buying - leading to a large upward price swing in September and October.' Energy is powering its way onto the boardroom agenda as soaring UK energy prices force companies to overhaul purchasing policies and dramatically improve their energy efficiency management.

It is now one of the biggest overheads for business and more businesses than ever before are seeking professional advice and support to mitigate these rising costs.

'Increasingly we are seeing larger companies implementing long-term contracts to hedge against sharp movements or big annual price hikes,' added Backx.

'There appears to be little relief ahead in the coming year, with extreme volatility and further bullish drivers in the market, although forecasts suggest that prices will rise less sharply.' With the environmental and cost imperative to reduce carbon emissions, many businesses are turning their attentions to conservation.

On average companies can save between 10 and 20% by becoming more energy efficient, meeting their environmental obligations at the same time.

As Carbon Trust accredited consultants UAL provides fully funded energy surveys for businesses spending more than GBP 50,000 per year on energy.

This detailed on-site assessment by UAL engineers highlights many simple and low cost opportunities for reducing emissions and a report is produced highlighting a range of measures businesses can take and the impact those interventions will have on energy consumption.

UAL, which is official service provider to more than 60 accredited Chambers of Commerce and other national trade associations purchases GBP 150 million worth of energy on behalf of UK business each year and can help customers to reduce exposure to the risks of buying in a highly volatile commodity market.

30 million European firms' data covered

UK exporters get an easy-to-use and instantly accessible service to over 30 million European companies and other commercial organizations - to help to sustain the UK's economic confidence.

With a deep understanding of the business information marketplace and access to business data for 240 countries worldwide, leading credit information provider, Equifax, is providing UK exporters with an easy-to-use and instantly accessible service to help fuel continued export growth. Equifax International Business Reports provide instant, easy access to over 30 million European companies and other commercial organizations - a vital resource for helping to sustain the UK's economic confidence. According to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors, UK export prospects for the coming months look very positive.

In fact, more than 8 out of 10 company bosses predict that export growth performance will remain steady or strengthen during the remainder of 2005.

Of these, more than 50% predict stronger growth in their export business over the coming months.

The research also has shown that the greatest prospects were identified in European markets (64%), followed by American (46%) and Asian markets, including China (44%).

Despite this projected growth, obtaining in-depth information on potential customers still remains a major challenge for UK businesses trading overseas.

Equifax International Business Reports address this need by making it easier than ever to investigate a prospect on the continent and make informed business decisions to minimise risks.

With a single click, International Business Reports can be accessed through the same system used to review UK companies and businesses.

making the checking process as simple and streamlined as possible.

Furthermore, Equifax delivers the reports in a standardized format, so that the information can be viewed and interpreted more easily.

'There are countless obstacles inherent in overseas trade,' confirmed Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax.

'From the different accounting rules and limited trade references, to local payment practices, these can all lead to bad debt and loss of profitability if not dealt with head on, and with the best possible information.

Equifax International Business Reports offers businesses the online tools they need to give them the essential intelligence to make the best decisions, as well as manage credit risk, reduce bad debt and increase profitability.' Equifax International Business Reports are available online through companies and businesses in the following key European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

The information includes company registration and identification details, details on directors and shareholders, any mortgages and charges and detailed financials.

A recommended credit decision is also provided, which gives a score and recommendation for whether to do business with the organisation, and on what credit terms.

Detailed reports on companies from the rest of the world can be ordered and delivered online, ensuring that UK businesses can trade profitably anywhere in the world.

'The export market is crucial for the sustained growth of the UK economy', concluded Frazer.

'It is, therefore, vital that UK businesses have access to the best possible information, quickly and easily, to ensure that they only trade with the right overseas partners.' * The Institute of Directors (IoD) report was based on a survey of 500 IoD members conducted by NOP.

It presented the views of company bosses on their businesses' tendency to export, export performance and the difficulties they face in selling goods and services abroad.

Exports comprise 25.2% of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Check out the customer before signing deal

Business information provider, has launched powerful online business report to give a complete and up-to-date picture of a business when assessing it for a high value contract, loan or deal.

Equifax, a leading credit and business information provider, has launched Equifax Optima, a new powerful online business report designed to give company executives and credit professionals the most complete and up-to-date picture of a business when assessing it for a high value contract, loan or deal. Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax explained: 'For the bigger deals that companies do, we believe they need a greater depth of information than has been accessible up to now - and a greater level of explanation of that information'. 'Equifax Optima addresses both these requirements, comprising several unique datasets and presented online with supporting explanatory information.' He said: 'Unlike other online reports, Optima offers more than just data on an organisation's creditworthiness.

It provides a total view of the group structure of a business, including the financial details of each subsidiary of that business, together with a credit limit history and a fraud score.

Furthermore, the report includes County Court data as well as High Court information and allows access to original Companies House images.' Utilising Equifax's extensive and accurate database of predictive information on nearly 4 million Limited Companies and Non-Limited Businesses, the Equifax Optima report gives businesses information on their customers, suppliers, competitors, other industries and new marketplaces.

It provides a summary opinion on whether it is advisable to trade with a business, and the likelihood of bad debt via a credit limit and indicates the efficiency of the company in settling supplier disputes and alerts the user to Letters Before Actions (LBAs) and stopped cheques.

With a logical and clear layout, and key summary information displayed at the front of the report, the Optima report is very easy to read and use.

In addition, detailed explanations, provided by Equifax's experienced data analysts, ensure that the information within the report is easy to interpret, enabling speedy as well as reliable and consistent lending decisions.

'In today's competitive environment, businesses need to be able to assess the overall performance of an organisation allowing both company executives and credit professionals to make informed decisions,' confirmed Frazer.

'Regardless of whether the user is a company executive or a credit professional, Equifax Optima gives an unrivalled depth of predictive business data instantly online and sets a new industry standard for online business reports.

By providing vital information and bringing it to the fingertips of business users Equifax Optima is a powerful tool for companies keen to make the right business decisions swiftly and competently.'

Check up on customers' business status

In response to a downturn in business confidence, a business information provider has enhanced online report service to assess, monitor and manage customers more easily and quicker.

Recent figures confirm that there has been a downturn in business confidence, with some sectors of business and industry reporting increases in business failures. Against this backdrop, it is vital that any organisation protects themselves from the risk of bad debt and fraud. In response, leading business information provider, Equifax, has significantly enhanced its online business report service to enable organisations to assess, monitor and manage business customers more easily and quicker than ever before.

With access to credit and financial information on nearly 4 million companies and businesses, Equifax provides online access to the most comprehensive business database in the UK.

'It is anticipated that this year will mark the beginning of a sea change for UK business as the number of firms going bust is expected to increase for the first time in two years,' confirmed Nick Frazer, head of Business Information Services, Equifax.

'It is therefore vital that decisions about new accounts and increasing credit limits are backed up by as much information and intelligence as possible.

And this information needs to be instantly accessible online and easy to navigate and interpret.' By making it easier to assess and digest information on suppliers and clients, Equifax Business Reports help ensure that the decisions businesses make about the companies with which they do business are the right ones.

In addition, through Equifax's online business report service, businesses can monitor changes in the financial status of customers and suppliers, as well as check credit limits, access a network of international company reports, and receive a comprehensive guide to risk management.

Frazer continued: 'For all businesses who want to check the credentials of a new customer, and assess and monitor the financial performance of suppliers and customers, Equifax's online business report service opens up a world of information that is now even easier to navigate and utilise.'

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Standard for On-Demand Spend Management

Latest release of multi-tenant offerings enables companies to accelerate results by driving greater visibility, active compliance, and rapid adoption.

Ariba, the leading spend management solutions provider, has again raised the bar for software delivered as a service with the latest release of its on-demand offerings. Building on its existing robust functionality, Ariba has added more than 140 new capabilities across its solutions. The new features enable companies to drive greater visibility across all spend categories, active compliance from procurement through payment, faster enablement of suppliers and rapid adoption of spend management best practices.

'Technology-based solutions have driven radical improvements in sourcing and procurement over the last decade, yet substantial challenges remain,' said Bob Shecterle, Vice President, Solutions Marketing, Ariba.

'Companies still lack visibility into their spend at deep levels across the full organisation'.

'They struggle to enable suppliers to easily and quickly do business electronically'.

'Maverick buying is a common occurrence, and change management a difficult proposition'.

'With our latest on-demand release, Ariba takes these issues head on, providing companies of all types with an enhanced set of solutions that deliver the capabilities needed to proactively manage spend and accelerate bottom-line results'.

A unique combination of technology, commodity expertise and services delivered in a single, integrated platform, Ariba's on-demand solutions make it fast, easy and affordable for companies of all sizes to adopt spend management and generate rapid returns.

With its latest release, the company has set a new standard for on-demand spend management, delivering additional features and functionality that enable companies to:.

Gain Greater Visibility - When it comes to managing spend, what you can't see, can hurt you.

With Ariba Spend Visibility, companies can gain the most granular view of spend possible through new functionality that allows for deeper taxonomies, Bayesian classification and user loop feedback.

With custom taxonomies, companies can view and classify spend on an enterprise-wide basis according to the way it is purchased and how they are organised.

With the addition of Bayesian classification, companies need not choose between the speed of statistical classification and the consistency of rules-based approaches - Ariba provides both in a single solution.

And through enhanced data enrichment tools, companies can dynamically edit information to ensure increased accuracy and continuous improvement.

Drive Active Compliance - Sourced savings and negotiated contracts will not hit the bottom line without proactive verification of actual requisitions and invoices against detailed contract pricing and terms.

With Ariba's latest release, Ariba Procure-to-Pay Professional clients now can use compliance to contracts to curb maverick buying, catch supplier invoicing errors and close the spend management loop between strategic sourcing and transactional execution.

For lower cost of integration to popular financial systems, Ariba has also added pre-configured integration to SAP.

Spur Rapid and Broad Enablement - The success of any spend management solution depends on widespread supplier adoption.

With new functionality embedded across Ariba Buyer, Ariba Procure-to-Pay, Ariba Supplier Connectivity and Ariba Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment, companies can facilitate the electronic enablement of their suppliers around the globe more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Through Ariba's enhanced enablement capabilities, companies can initiate electronic enablement by sending purchase order transactions directly and immediately to suppliers over the Ariba Supplier Network, dramatically reducing the time to get them on board.

And with Ariba's new invoice conversion offering, companies can capture nearly 100 percent of their invoices electronically by converting invoices from paper-bound suppliers to electronic, line item-level invoices.

Accelerate Adoption and Results - Successful spend management is about more than automating processes.

It's about building capabilities and implementing best practices that drive measurable and sustainable results.

Software alone can't do this.

That's why Ariba wraps its on-demand solutions with the category knowledge, sourcing best practices and spend management expertise it has developed, and been recognised for, over the last decade.

With the latest on-demand release, these sourcing services are now available in flexible packages that companies can tailor to meet their unique objectives and risk profiles.

Whether they're looking to accelerate user adoption, generate quick savings, build capabilities, achieve process control or drive organisational change, Ariba's bundled services provide companies with the tools they need to accelerate spend management adoption and the results that they achieve.

Tool helps combat bad debts/late payments

UK consultancy is helping businesses to tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt with a powerful tool that allows businesses to share critical information about customer payment behaviour.

Equifax is helping businesses to tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt with the launch of its Shared Data Services, a powerful new tool that allows businesses to share critical information about customer payment behaviour. Driving the launch of this service are recent changes in account filing regulations, resulting in reduced availability of accounting information on companies. This is making it harder for organisations to determine the immediate credit worthiness of customers.

Companies also find it difficult to obtain information on the credit payment habits of the growing number of non-limited businesses and sole traders.

Equifax's Shared Data Services offer a flexible, dynamic and timely data sharing tool, which enables members of the Equifax credit community to share both negative and positive data on their customers.

This provides Equifax members with vital information before they agree to new credit terms or accept orders.

Using unique email alerts, the Service notifies subscribers when changes to their customers' credit or financial status has been registered by another member.

Nick Frazer, head of Equifax Business Information Services at Equifax commented: 'Our Shared Data Services provide members of our credit communities with an instant, in-depth understanding of the financial profiles and payment histories of existing and new customers'.

'Our unique email alerts system informs members of any changes to the financial or credit status of a customer as it happens, giving businesses a powerful tool to help tackle the threat of late payment and bad debt.' Members of Equifax's Shared Data Services can submit and receive information on a variety of data items including: payment terms and whether the account is paid to terms; increased credit; 'bounced' cheque presented; stopped cheque; bailiff instructed; collection agent appointed and account on stop.

Court information such as County Court summons, County Court judgments, bankruptcy, legal action and 'winding up' orders is also included in the service to give companies valuable insight into the financial status and payment behaviour of new or existing customers.

Available online and via Equifax's Portfolio Monitoring Service, our Shared Data Services give businesses fast and efficient access to both submit and gather vital customer information to help them manage bad debt and late payment.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Complete answers facilitate PAT implementation

'Complete Solutions to Facilitate PAT Implementation' gives pharmaceutical companies a complete guide on help through each stage of Process Analytical Technology.

Thermo Electron Corporation unveils a new brochure, 'Complete Solutions to Facilitate PAT Implementation', highlighting the full breadth of its Process Analytical Technology (PAT) expertise. The brochure covers Thermo's comprehensive range of pharmaceutical analytical instrumentation, extensive capabilities in process monitoring control, complete data management tools, worldwide technical support and regulatory compliance products for PAT execution. This gives pharmaceutical companies a complete guide on how Thermo can help through each stage of a PAT implementation.

Tailored PAT consultancy programs designed to achieve maximum business benefits are also described.

PAT is a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry initiated by the FDA to reduce the risk of making a poor product and pharmaceutical companies will be better equipped to exploit the full benefits of PAT by establishing a partnership with a highly capable and experienced vendor.

PAT is designed to increase process efficiencies and design product quality into the process, rather than testing it in.

Its impact spans drug and product development through to routine manufacturing of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and the finished medicine.

A pharmaceutical process flow chart in the brochure illustrates how Thermo works with pharmaceutical companies throughout the entire manufacturing process to minimize the risks to their PAT implementations with a combination of key skills and technologies.

Thermo's PAT capabilities include rugged FT-NIR analyzers designed for pharmaceutical manufacturing, informatics management programs, validation services, process analyzers and integration tools and chemometric modeling software.

Thermo also offers comprehensive support solutions through the Multi-Vendor Compliance Solutions (MVC) program.

The brochure highlights key products and their PAT applications including material identification and qualification, blending, drying, content uniformity analysis and more.

UK manufacturing looks encouraging, said bank

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for September 2006, Tony Walsh, National Director of Manufacturing at Barclays, said things looked encouraging.

Commenting on the ONS Manufacturing (Index of Production) figures for September 2006, Tony Walsh, National Director of Manufacturing at Barclays, said: 'It's encouraging times as we approach the end of the year with another consecutive increase for the manufacturing sector. The man made fibres sector was the surprise package this time with a significant increase which will be particularly well received after extended periods of challenging conditions in this market.' He added: 'It will be interesting to see how things develop bearing in mind the cautionary note struck by last week's Purchasing Manager's Index from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. There are clearly some concerns out there, but on the whole I am still sensing a very positive outlook.

This was the clear message from our recent survey of Manufacturers at The Manufacturing Live event that confirmed 98% of UK manufacturers are very optimistic about their prospects over the next 12 to 18 months.'

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tablet dust intercepted and recovered

Patented powder recovery cyclone intercepts excess dust from tablet compression or capsule filling machines, enabling effective reconciliation of batch losses.

The Hanningfield Process Systems' Powder Recovery Cyclone (Patent application No. 0423575.0) is the ideal and safe way to intercept excess dust from tablet compression or capsule filling machines, enabling effective reconciliation of batch losses. The Hanningfield PRC unit is a compact and hygienic solution to safe dust recovery within the process room.

Product is collected in a removable container which can then be disposed of, or re-introduced into the tabletting or capsule filling hopper as required.

Very successfully trialled by a number of major pharmaceutical companies in the UK, Hanningfield are now pleased to release the Product Recovery Cyclone for sale at a very competitive price.

Spectrometer software reduces workload

Array Automation software, for Raman spectrometers, enables companies to dramatically reduce their polymorph and crystal analysis workload in drug discovery laboratories.

Thermo Electron Corporation has enhanced its Array Automation software for Raman spectrometers, enabling pharmaceutical companies to dramatically reduce their polymorph and crystal analysis workload in their drug discovery laboratories. Chris Petty, Director for Vibrational Spectroscopy Products at Thermo Electron, explains: 'It has been a trend in the last few years for pharmaceutical companies to do exhaustive polymorph analysis and crystallization studies on candidate drug compounds much earlier in the drug discovery and development process'. 'The net result has been a marked increase in the workload for the analytical groups in R and D.' Raman spectroscopy is an ideal technique for the analysis of drug compounds.

Particularly sensitive to the subtle differences found between polymorphs and other crystal forms, Raman requires no disruption to the crystalline form of a material for its analysis.

Recent developments in Thermo's Raman instrumentation, such as automated well-plate, capillary tube array handling, and the MicroStage FT-Raman microscope, have enabled new high-throughput screening applications.

Combining Raman's ability to determine crystalline structures with automated sample handling capabilities, the Array Automation software enables high throughput screening applications on Thermo's NicoletT AlmegaT XR dispersive Raman and NXR FT-Raman spectrometer lines.

The Nicolet Almega XR dispersive Raman microscope permits analysis of small amounts of individual crystals, while the FT-Raman spectrometer, using Thermo's exclusive MicroStage FT-Raman microscope, eliminates fluorescence interference.

Thermo's Array Automation software automates the collection of spectra from either of these formats, and performs group or cluster analysis on the collected spectra.

'Prior to the Array Automation software, spectrum-to-spectrum comparison had to be done manually'.

'Now, work that used to take a chemist half a day can be completed in five minutes', said Petty.

The Array Automation software integrates Raman analysis into the customer site workflow by communicating with the customer's LIMS.

Thermo Electron provides validation for its Nicolet Almega XR dispersive and NXR FT-Raman spectrometers.