Supply Chain North East can help companies in the region amid the storm of Covid and Brexit.

Launched in 2018, the Supply Chain North East business support programme aims to work with 900 companies by the end of 2021 – with 500 companies signed up to date.

With the extra challenges of a pandemic and Britain’s EU exit, it’s more vital than ever that businesses know their markets, ambitions and own strengths and weaknesses.

This is where Supply Chain North East can help – starting with an initial ‘holistic’ diagnostic discussion, the support is aimed at helping local SMEs diversify, expand their customer base and unlock untapped opportunities.

A team of experienced advisors is on hand to highlight supply chain opportunities and give an impartial and honest overview of where companies stand to face the future with confidence.

Business advisor John Heslop explained: “We all have years of hands-on experience.

“We’ve owned or led companies – and it’s that experience which is key. It’s vital so that we can gain the trust of the business owners and they can openly share their ambitions, challenges and concerns.”

A key part of the service is the initial business diagnostic discussion – reflecting on critical areas including ambition, sales, competition, operations and staff management.

John adds: “It can be a revelation to business owners as they can become consumed by daily demands, with little opportunity to stand back and look from a distance.

“It’s typical of the lonely entrepreneur syndrome – but we can give them confidence and reassure them on the best ways forward.

“We look at the whole company – not just one particular department, process or person. Again, this is important as we seek to help to find the root cause of an issue – only then can we collaboratively develop effective solutions.”

Supply Chain North East has already helped firms face the Covid situation in several ways, including providing grants to support the need for PPE products, developing workshops aimed at crisis management, recovery planning and business resilience, and creating a new peer to peer ‘list and search’ platform called Supply Chain Exchange.

As well as continuing to cope with Covid, John says all companies need to realise that the EU exit will affect them – from staffing and trade issues to sales and transportation of goods.

To help, Supply Chain North East has created a suite of fully funded “virtual” workshops – backed by partners offering expert legal advisors – and aimed squarely at small-and medium-sized North-East businesses.

Embedded within the workshops will be a range of proven business tools and techniques designed to help companies strengthen their business resilience ahead of the challenges of the next 12 months.

John added: “This is just a slice of a full calendar of workshops planned, with future themes including business continuity planning, creative marketing and lean business, as well as sector themed events around rail and energy.

“Businesses need to get things in place now to take advantage of opportunities – and Supply Chain North East is here to help!”.


Supply Chain North East brings together four key partners to work with over 800 businesses through to 2021, supporting them to identify opportunities in new and existing markets.
An integral part of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, that has a vision to create 100,000 more and better jobs between 2014 and 2024, Supply Chain North East is delivered across the region by RTC North, Generator, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).
Supply Chain North East is a multi-million-pound programme aimed at revolutionising the way SMEs diversify their offering and embrace new markets. The programme has received more than £3m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.


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