A Partner with trust, honesty and integrity
Having recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary, Global Partnerships has seen significant changes both within the demanding industry sectors it supports and internally as the company has grown to match the needs of its customer base.
When St Ives, Cambridgeshire-based Global Partnerships was first established by Chris Newland the business offered an engineering consultancy service, because at that time there was a need to join-up the supply chain, bringing it all together and adding engineering and technical expertise.
Today, the company is supporting technology driven businesses by providing specialist design, programme management and localised lean manufacture and integration in an ever-changing global economy.
Chris Newland recalls: “We started as a facilitator and it became quickly apparent that the business model wasn’t quite right. So, we shifted the focus to offer integration, now we provide a fully integrated solution with high level manufacturing and that is where we have settled. This can include functionally tested complete and partial structures, from finished assemblies down to component elements and complex sub-assemblies.
“The business has developed into an Electro Mechanical Integrator for advanced structures and coming from a composite background there is normally a composite content, as composites is a high technology industry handling high technology products and designs. The business is very much design led and we are familiar with advanced structures and their applications.
Land, sea and air defence applications is one of the key areas of expertise developed by Global Partnerships, with the energy and communications sectors also relying on the company’s knowledge and expertise. However, with the recent appointment of Paul Jackson as Business Development Director, the skill sets offered by the business will now be promoted to customers in a wider industrial audience, including automotive and motorsports, aerospace, leisure products and general precision engineering.
Paul Jackson says: “Chris and I worked closely together in previous lives, we served our apprenticeships together. Our careers developed along different but cohesive paths; commercial customer management skills from my experience and highly detailed technical capabilities provided by Chris. We are supported by Geoff Kipling, Financial Director, formally financial director of Lola. It is about having the right team with the right skills.”
Plans are well underway to grow the business to meet the increased demands from the various industry sectors. With the full backing of the team at Global Partnerships a structured ‘road map’ has been drawn together to achieve its ambitious growth plans that could see the 25-strong company double in size by the end of this financial year, with an additional new 25,000 ft2 facility up and running.
The company’s logo depicts a knot with three elements all linked together; signifying trust, honesty and integrity. “It is how we do business,” explains Paul Jackson. “We expect it from our team for the benefit of our customers, we believe that’s what we offer them alongside our technical capabilities. It’s a little bit old school but it is what we aim for.”
It is fair to say that the team have a ‘bring your brain to work mentality’. As Chris Newland points out: “In my youth I represented Great Britain for rowing which is a sport that has team work at its core and from a very early age I recognised the importance of a cohesive, communicative, group working seamlessly as one. Our people are on the ground doing the job, we get feedback from the team and hold internal comms meetings that are really important, and keep our people up to date with the progress of the business.”
He continues: “During former employment I have seen the difference between a team being just called that and a proper team where people are valued, listened to, and everyone has the right to say their piece, but they also respect that once a decision is made it’s adhered to. The ethics and the culture of the business are important to us.”
Having been accredited to ISO 9001:2015 early last year the next goal for Global Partnerships is AS9100 with a dedicated Quality Manager ensuring the systems are in place and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are achieved.
For both existing and new customers the quality management system and traceability are vitally important. “We are adding value for our customers right at the start of the process,” states Paul Jackson. “DFM and DFC are absolutely key to the services that we offer. Being proactive with every project we try to engage as early as possible. We are a design authority and have extensive experience and know how a composite structure should be designed and made.”
Chris Newland adds: “It is important as we are often faced with a blank sheet of paper at the start of a project. For example, a radar system may not be specified by physical constraints such as size or shape. However, we will have a list of the equipment to fit inside it and the minimum performance characteristic that it must surpass. To conform to a complex compliancy matrix such as this is a challenge, but we fortunately have the experience, skills and equipment to do it.”
There are three defined business streams at Global Partnerships. The first two cover project work that can evolve into repeat production of components and even finished products. The third stream includes products that the company has developed in-house.
With the acquisition of a specialist renewable energy company renowned for vertical axis wind turbines, now operated by sister company VWT Power, Global Partnerships set about improving the design and functionality of the product range.
An intensive 24-month value engineering project saved 100 kg on the rotating mass assembly with blades that are not only more elegant but also lighter, stronger and stiffer with improved aerodynamic shape retention under load. The changes to the blades have increased responsiveness and power output while reducing noise levels. The assembly part count has been reduced to improve manufacturing efficiency whilst reducing weight, and a continuous lubrication system was added coupled with improved bearings. The lower rotating weight helps the new electronic braking system that has been redeveloped along with the next generation digital control system replacing the analogue system to minimize parasitic power losses. Generation output has increased to 7.5 kW in lower wind speeds, and it is now being sold worldwide, with customers in Turkey, Mexico and Germany already installing these new QR6 versions.
With extensive experience based on the production of UAV for land, sea and air, Global Partnerships has very strong ties with the unmanned vehicle sectors, which is why it is developing counter drone technology. “People are focusing on drones, but we see future opportunities with counter drones, and we are currently making good progress,” explains Paul Jackson.
“It is designed to acquire, track and disable drone threats and we are in advanced talks with a major OEM defence prime. It will be our product that they will adopt initially for fixed installation protection duties, but it is being designed for mobile applications as well.”
Component sizes can range from palm of the hand parts up to vital parts for aircraft carriers, warships and other naval fleet vessels. A 3.5 by 5.5 m autoclave and out of autoclave techniques can be used to produce parts to a scheduled call-off list to match customers’ requirements.
“There are very few products and processes that can’t be improved upon,” concludes Chris Newland. “Given the opportunity, Global Partnerships will always make a positive impact on any business it engages with. Talk to us and find out what we can offer.”