Innovative machinery company expands into new markets

Colin Mear Engineering offer bespoke machinery solutions creating novel packaging formats.

Established in 1983 by Colin Mear, Colin Mear Engineering (CME) offers bespoke machinery solutions creating novel packaging formats. Originally the company provided machinery rebuilding service and spare parts to the tobacco industry, but has since diversified into other Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) markets including pharmaceuticals. 

CME are looking to define, design and create new products to bring to market to drive growth, taking their focus further into other potential markets. They also believe that exploiting the intellectual property of a new machine would provide opportunities for the adoption of alternative business models for CME.

South West Manufacturing Advisory Service, manufacturing and business development, referred CME to Business West. An initial meeting Yvette Coles, Programme Manager for innovate2succeed, identified that the company would gain greatly from the coaching programme and encouraged CME to pursue this opportunity.

The innovate2succeed programme highlighted potential growth areas for the business and development of an action plan covering the modules ‘Understanding Funding and Grants’, ‘Innovation in Selling and Marketing’ and ‘Protecting and Exploiting your Ideas - Intellectual Property (IP) Review’. Kim Howat, a Business West funding specialist, outlined the potential for CME to apply for funding and the Innovate UK Open Competition's characteristics, criteria, process and methodology, to enable the company to provide an application to the best of their abilities. Specialist, Phil Johnston, provided advice on the best practices to develop innovation management processes, integration of sales in innovation and how to use the knowledge from customers to drive innovation.

Talking about the support CME has received so far from Business West’s innovate2succeed team, Engineering Director Paul Simmons said,

“The workshop facilitated by David Riddell of Business West was useful in determining the areas in which we needed external assistance to achieve our diversification and growth strategy. The two experts recommended by David have been really helpful and demonstrated their knowledge and competence in their respective areas of expertise.  It has been a real pleasure to work with them both and we are looking forward to seeing the results of our work together.”

CME’s long term aim is to apply their unique engineering knowledge and expertise to a wider customer base in new industry sectors. They are currently awaiting news on their Innovate UK Open Grant Competition application, which will assist in their aim to raise £100,000 to develop a new machine. 

Internationalisation is at the core of the business with 95% of products being exported. By utilising their current international market, the potential for growth with new products is high and the future is looking exciting.

Innovation should be considered a key component of any business growth strategy, which is why the innovate2succeed programme has been designed to help embrace innovative business practices and increase chances of success.

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  • “The workshop facilitated by David Riddell of Business West was extremely useful in determining the areas in which we needed external assistance to achieve our diversification and growth strategy."

    Paul Simmons, Colin Mear Engineering Limited