Streamlining processes with KTP – Derek Covill

What it’s about

Earlier this year, we completed our KTP project with Dando Drilling International which was an exciting project that generated lots of new knowledge and processes within the company and that provided some great case studies for my teaching. The project went from strength to strength and the success shone through as the project was recently awarded the highest mark for KTP, a grade A (Outstanding) and Jugal our Associate was shortlisted as a Business Leader of Tomorrow. We published a paper in the 2013 KTP Associates Conference on the supply chain integration work we did with local suppliers, and are in the process of publishing an academic paper on the design of bespoke data management tools. The project has of course had its share of ups and downs; there were times where the company have had all hands on deck to deliver an order on time and times when I was super busy with marking, but other times there was great fusion between the academic and company staff which ultimately delivered great solutions.


A bit of background

Dando are based locally in Littlehampton and are the only designers, manufacturers and sellers of water and mineral drilling rigs in the UK – and they’ve been going for over 140 years! The project was set up to implement new design processes and to improve supply chain management in their products – a very exciting project with a very impressive company. We were really keen to work with Dando for a number of reasons; because of their clear expertise in engineering design, their keen enthusiasm for innovation, their relatively close proximity to the University, and their all-round approachable nature.  They were keen to work with us in order to bring in some fresh thinking, some engineering design expertise that they could draw on and some supply chain integration knowledge which they could apply both internally and to their own supply chain.


The project team

The project team included Jugal Desai (Design Operations Engineer and KTP Associate), Erik Dalley (Operations Director and Company Supervisor), Martin Fitch-Roy (Managing Director and KTP chairman), Gina Fitch-Roy (Finance Director), Dr Mark Jones (Faculty Academic Director), Dr Kaiming She (Senior Lecturer in Hydraulics, Coastal and River Engineering), and me (Dr Derek Covill – Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Product Design.


What we achieved

Key outcomes in the project have been:

  • The development of a bespoke Dando Design Data Management system (D3M) to support, track and respond to the internal flow of design and decision data. This has been extended throughout the company and is linked with the company’s Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) software. It’s also being tailored to work with suppliers, to allow for the most impactful integration of the supply chain.
  • An insightful supply chain analysis of key suppliers to see what changes the company can make to their relationship with their suppliers in order to have the most impact on the flow of information and the streamlining of processes.
  • Operations tracking analysis – since there are many logistical balls to juggle at one time on any one order, operations tracking has helped to support internal decision making and identify sticking points which has streamlined internal processes and speeded up time to delivery.
  • Attendance at the 2013 and 2014 KTP Associate’s conferences in Brighton were a great chance for us all to get out of the office, network with others (we made some great links with companies who can help a) me with my teaching, and b) Dando with their software) and it was also a great chance to show off our wonderful KTP Associate and for him to realise how much we value him. At the most recent Conference, Jugal wowed the audience with his passion for KTP as keynote speaker.
  • 12 successful student projects at the company which added value to the project as wel as providing our students with a great opportunity to hone their skills within a company. Such was their success that the projects resulted in 2 excellent University of Brighton graduate engineers being employed on a full time basis at Dando Drilling.


In summary

The KTP with Dando provided a great opportunity for me to integrate my teaching and run student projects with live projects that were aligned with the needs and interests of the company. The students were able to get valuable feedback from the engineers and management at Dando who went out of their way to support the projects throughout.  A publication is in the offing and we have evidence of impact for the next REF. The whole KTP project was a pleasure to be a part of; I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Dando, but also looking forward to my next KTP!


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