Online coronavirus platform to help firms collaborate launches

Posted by Jim on April 22, 2020  /   Posted in Blog

Companies aiming to help healthcare responses to the Covid-19 crisis can now collaborate via a new online platform.
Spearheaded by InterTradeIreland and TechIreland, the cross-border platform allows businesses to see quickly, in and beyond their region, who they can work with to combat the many supply chain and manufacturing challenges generated by the pandemic and meet pressing public need.
Presented as an interactive map, it will initially focus on healthcare innovation supports – but will soon expand to include broader economic and societal responses to coronavirus. It will also contain links to public tenders.
Already more than 100 businesses and supports are featured on the map. It highlights more than 10 key categories including PPE, contact tracing, ventilators, among others.
Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland Designated Officer, said:
“Time is of the essence in the response to Covid-19, which is why we have worked swiftly with our partners TechIreland to develop this one-stop-shop for buyers and sellers. It gives firms involved in developing healthcare responses the ability, at a glance, to find other companies they can work with in terms of securing expertise or supply chain input.”
At the moment the map reflects ten different groups developing contact tracing apps, eight companies innovating infection control solutions, 20 firms and groups producing PPE and over 23 other financial and wider supports. This is merely the beginning, as the database grows there will be many more.
Highlighting these companies and groups will enable them to move faster by allowing them to collaborate, learn from each other and avail of the financial and wider supports coming from economic and industrial development agencies.
TechIreland, Chief Executive, John O’Dea, said:
“One of the positive responses which will help see us through this crisis will be the solutions that come from products and innovations that are being developed by the business community.
“As a result of the avalanche of information around Covid-19, and because of social distancing, it’s difficult for firms to know what other companies are doing, how they are innovating and if there are opportunities to co-operate. In a fast-moving crisis, finding a potential partner or a customer, or identifying grants and funds can be time-consuming – but critical. This platform has been developed to address those challenges.”
TechIreland has contacted its partner organisations and up to 400 health-tech companies on its database to source information on solutions being built to fight the pandemic. The platform will be constantly revised and updated with new information.
To be featured on the Covid-19 Innovation Reponses Map, or if you are aware of projects that should be included, email

Nurturing Ideas Growing Success

Posted by Jim on April 16, 2020  /   Posted in Blog


What is Co-Innovate?
In an ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace, innovation is vital for business growth and success.
Co-Innovate is here to offer project funding and capability development to help give your innovation wings. Learn more about the benefits of innovation and how to implement it right across your business, find partners who can support your plans, identify opportunities for growth, and create a vision to make it happen.
Supported by €16.6 million from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, Co-Innovate will help you harness innovation to:
Create beneficial ideas
Work smarter
Add value to your business
Find partners for collaboration
Stand out from the competition

Why Now is the Right Time to Reshore Your Plastic Moulding Supply Chain March 23, 2020 / Richard Stamps

Posted by Jim on March 26, 2020  /   Posted in Blog

Many UK companies that currently import components into the UK believe that they should be looking at a reshoring programme. The right incentives are definitely in place, so what exactly is stopping them?

UK plastic processors can easily demonstrate equal or superior technical competence to their overseas counterparts; the challenge is conveying to potential customers the many real benefits that reshoring can bring, despite the initial pain of the transition period.
This blog is designed to identify the pain points that are regularly used to justify leaving things well alone, then counter these arguments using knowledge gained from real-life scenarios.
Reason one – Lack of knowledge of the UK supply chain
This one might be hard to own up to, but the reality is that a lot of buyers have grown up with the idea of sourcing plastic components from lower-cost economies. They will have very few established lines of communication with potential UK suppliers, so will find it challenging to get suitable quotes.
Visiting exhibitions that focus on sub-contractors looking for new customers is one solution to this dilemma. The only negative is that relatively few such exhibitions take place, and exhibitors come from very varied backgrounds; usually, only a handful specialise in plastics.
Directories are a good starting point, but there can almost be too much choice! You will also need to match your requirements with the particular capabilities of the suppliers listed, which can involve a lot of trial and error.

ou are, however reading this blog on the PlastikCity site. PlastikCity is a procurement site explicitly designed to meet the needs of the UK’s plastics sector and companies looking to get stuff made in plastic. Within the primary Source a Moulder section, companies are listed by speciality, and their profiles provide details of their capabilities. More importantly, these companies have been pre-vetted to make sure they are financially secure, operate to the relevant quality standards and have the interest and skillsets to work with you. Our categories are limited to a number of selected, high-quality companies, and our team can also help you to narrow down your choice before you use the automated system to submit enquiries to your shortlist.
Reason two – Item cost price
Labour costs are significantly lower in some parts of the world, so UK companies won’t be competitive!
In reality, unless there is a great deal of labour-intensive assembly work involved, then by factoring in the true, real-life costs of importing goods over great distances, it is easy to counter this argument:
UK processors are leaner than ever, using the most energy-efficient production equipment and automating part handling, wherever practical to do so.
Transportation costs and the associated environmental impact are significantly reduced. You are also less susceptible to uncontrollable events such as political uprisings or severe weather at sea!
There is no requirement to ship full loads to minimise transportation costs, which leads to much lower stocking levels and reduced exposure to quality issues.
There is an option to use RTP rather than cardboard packaging, reducing long-term costs and your carbon footprint even further.
No concerns over import tariffs or a poor or fluctuating exchange rate.

Reason three – Ownership of production tooling
Ownership is a common issue. The ‘helpful’ overseas supplier offered to assist with the design of your product, then absorbed the cost of the production tooling. At the time, this seemed like a perfect solution and a lot less stressful! In reality, you now feel irreversibly tied to your current supplier, as you don’t even have the part drawings to allow the production of new tooling!
Technology can come to the rescue with this one! By using either CNC measuring or 3D scanning equipment, a current sample can be digitised and used to manufacture a new production tool. OK, so there is a cost to having new tooling manufactured, but there are ways to recover this cost:
A good UK toolmaker (even when managing overseas tooling production) can produce a tool that will produce superior components at a higher production rate. This lowers labour costs (no re-working needed), reduces scrap production, and lowers piece price at the same time as increasing the product’s appeal.
Product design changes and upgrades can be incorporated, helping to refresh your product range. Going forward, it will be much easier to make modifications, without having to worry about planning for long term disruptions to your supply chain.
The size of the tool can be optimised, allowing a smaller production machine with a lower hourly rate to be used.
Your new tooling can be put into full production when you are ready to make the switch. There is no need to worry about having to build up a buffer of stock using your probably disgruntled overseas supplier.
If you are involved with the procurement of any type of plastic product, then come and visit the PlastikCity Source a Moulder section. Here you will find over 30 of the best UK plastic processing companies, profiled by their capabilities and specialities. All these companies have invested heavily in machinery, automation and people over the last two years.
You may be surprised how competitive these companies can be, especially when the cost of logistics, cash flow, stock control, response times and resolution of quality issues are taken into account. When you also factor in the carbon footprint and the ‘Feel Good Factor’ associated with ‘Made in Britain’ on the label, you may be very pleasantly surprised.

+44 (0) 1455 209270


Manufacturing and engineering sector to be showcased throughout the month of March

Posted by Jim on February 03, 2020  /   Posted in Blog


Manufacturing and engineering sector to be showcased throughout the month of March

Economy Minister Diane Dodds with Manufacturing NI chief executive, Stephen Kelly

THE north’s manufacturing and engineering sector will be showcased for an entire month through a new Stormont-backed initiative.
‘Manufacturing Month’, led by Manufacturing NI, will run throughout March, with a series of events, business breakfasts, seminars and workplace tours organised throughout the north during the four weeks.
The months will also include the annual ‘Anchor High’ leadership summit and see delegations visit major engineering centres in England.
Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, Stephen Kelly, said the month will be used to highlight local manufacturing success stories, address major challenges as we enter the new decade, and inspire the next generation of manufacturers and engineers.
“The manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland is the foundation of our regional economy. manufacturing month is a celebration of the great people, in great local companies, making great products used at home and around the world.

“From food processing and pharmaceuticals to aeronautical technology and new, emerging tech like AI and machine learning, Northern Ireland punches well above its weight when it comes to producing world-class products and services.”
“This new initiative not only celebrates the people who make our manufacturing sector the world leader that it is,” said Mr Kelly. “But will create a legacy and a pathway for the next generation of sector leaders. A key feature of Manufacturing Month NI will be a major outreach and engagement programme with schools and regional colleges, focused on promoting the sector to young people, developing the crucial skills they need as they enter the industry.”
New Economy Minister Diane Dodds has given the Manufacturing NI initiative her seal of approval.
“I commend Manufacturing NI for this new initiative which celebrates one of Northern Ireland’s most vital sectors. Northern Ireland has a long and proud history of manufacturing and engineering brilliance. Manufacturing Month NI will highlight the immense talent of the local sector.

“By supporting innovative initiatives like Manufacturing Month NI, we are showcasing the best and brightest in one of our most important industries.”
Calling on firms to back the month, Stephen Kelly said: “We hope to see as many companies as possible across the length and breadth of Northern Ireland get involved with Manufacturing Month NI.
“We are keen to highlight new products, new initiatives, workplace tours, business expansion, and everything else in between to showcase the strength and quality of our local manufacturing sector.”
Manufacturing month has also been backed by KPMG, Siemens, Willis Towers Watson, Barclays, and Invest NI.

Irish News Ryan McAleer
28 January, 2020 01:00

Go-2-Tender Workshop – Dundalk

Posted by Jim on January 22, 2020  /   Posted in Blog

Event Details Title: Go-2-Tender Workshop – Dundalk
Date(s): 11th February & 25th February, 9.00am – 5.00pm
Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk
Price: £85/€100 per person

About the Event: Go-2-Tender is an InterTradeIreland programme which has been developed to give SMEs the confidence, knowledge and practical skills to tender successfully for public sector contracts in their own jurisdiction and on a cross-border basis.
The programme is geared towards SMEs who are new to tendering or who want to improve their basic tendering skills. In addition to the training there are up to 2 days of mentoring available to companies who can demonstrate a need. All mentoring is delivered by an experienced consultant to assist with tender development.
This is a two-day workshop which will take place on 11th February & 25th February 2020. The workshops will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk.
Find out more course details below:
Day One
How to source above and below threshold contract opportunities
The bid/no bid decision
How the Public Sector buys (North and South)
How to assess opportunities using live examples
Electronic tender platforms (e.g. eTendersNI &
Success strategies for SMEs
Day Two
How to become more competitive
Improving your document writing skills
Checklist of tender content and how it should be presented
Debriefing following tender competitions
Action planning for successful tendering
Registration begins at 9.00 and the programme wraps up at 17.00 on both days.
Go-2-Tender provides excellent value for money and includes training, materials, catering and mentoring.
The cost is £85 or €100 per person


Download the Go-2-Tender Workshop – Dundalk application form.
Send completed registration form to


Louth firms at all island trade fair

Posted by Jim on December 14, 2019  /   Posted in Blog

December 14 2019 0:00 AM

Despite the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit and its impact on the food sector, eight Louth firms attended a major all-island trade event in Greater Dublin recently.
The Food eirEEN Meet the Buyer & Matchmaking Event was held at the City North Hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, where over 150 food businesses from all over Ireland, and further afield, engaged in pre-arranged meetings, allowing producers to pitch their products and secure orders from key food buyers.
The event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network through the Local Enterprise Offices in Ireland and Invest NI in Northern Ireland; producers at the event were drawn from a cross section of sectors including bakery, chilled, dairy, seafood, beverages and fresh produce.
Speaking about the event, EEN co-ordinator Eileen Kelly said: ‘We’re delighted at the response to Food eirEEN – just over 500 meetings took place between buyers and suppliers, allowing our smaller companies, many of which were meeting corporate buyers for the first time, the opportunity to go face to face and very quickly get down to the business of doing business.’

Speaking of the importance of the event, Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office, Louth County Council commented:
‘The Local Enterprise Offices have been actively driving the growth and development of the indigenous food sector over the past ten years though local food strategies, strategic national alliances and programmes and through active engagement with local food businesses. Through this event, and others planned in the next few years, we aim to create opportunities for our food producers to engage with other food businesses, to discuss the potential for strategic partnerships and alliances, and to identify new sales opportunities – but primarily generate new sales.’
The Argus

Posted by Jim on November 28, 2019  /   Posted in Blog

Business Growth for GTMA Members Ad-Vance Engineering

Posted by Jim on November 26, 2019  /   Posted in Blog




Leading the business growth at Ad-Vance Engineering are (from l-r): Samuel Vance, Technical Director, Roger Vance, Founder and Managing Director and Jim Coyle, Non-Exec Director, Business Development.

Leading the business growth at Ad-Vance Engineering are (from l-r): Samuel Vance, Technical Director, Roger Vance, Founder and Managing Director and Jim Coyle, Non-Exec Director, Business Development.
New contracts fuel £1million of investment by market-leading moulding manufacturer
Northern Ireland-based Ad-Vance Engineering has marked 15 years of export success through further expansion of its business to meet demand for its bespoke service offering.
The company, which specialises in the design, manufacture and refurbishment of injection moulding tools for the plastics manufacturing sector, has doubled its customer base and increased sales by 20% per year since 2015.
In response, Ad-Vance Engineering has expanded its workforce and invested almost £1million in a purpose-build manufacturing facility outside Lisburn.
Aligned with its ‘Precision through Everything’ standard, the company has established a strong reputation for quality and service across the GB market. Initially supplying the construction sector, investment in R&D has led to an ever-evolving customer-base which spans high-end industries including automotive, medical devices, and healthcare.
Growth has also been driven by Ad-Vance Engineering’s tailored design and manufacturing processes and supported through investment in state-of-the-art machinery, on-going staff training and development, quality raw materials, and a rigorous on-site testing process.
With a number of large-scale GB contracts recently confirmed, Roger Vance, founder and MD, believes the company’s solutions-driven ethos sets it apart from competitors:
“We’re now established as an integral part of national and global supply chains. Our customers regard us their partner, as they seek our advice and know they can rely on the quality and precision design of the moulds we manufacture,” commented Roger.
“We also differentiate ourselves from the competition through our collaborative approach – as we work with our customers from the early concept stages, throughout the design and manufacturing process, culminating in a bespoke, premium product which is totally fit for purpose.”
Currently supplying to one-in-five of GB’s leading injection moulding businesses, Roger has ambitious growth plans for Ad-Vance Engineering and intends to further extend the company’s reach over the next three years.
“By focusing our new business drive on the top tier injection moulders, we’ve recently won new contracts in the automotive, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. This only consolidates our reputation as a premium supply chain partner.
“To further enhance our capability and reach we will continue to invest in our people, facilities and equipment to ensure we produce quality moulds which consistently deliver the highest levels of performance.”
The multi-award-winning company, which is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accredited, is also committed to continual improvement through on-going investment in R&D and innovation. This includes offering internships to engineering graduates from Queen’s University and running apprenticeship programmes in conjunction with local FE colleges.

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