In today’s challenging manufacturing environment, it is often a company’s R&D budget which is cut first in the drive to reduce costs. However, progressive innovation through R&D is key to creating value through product differentiation, product and process improvement and in preventing margin erosion. If a company is to remain a market leader, a dynamic R&D programme is vital. When we formed Innoval Technology we were acutely aware of the predicament facing many manufacturing companies, and we decided to offer a solution that would satisfy both the company’s development needs and the accountant’s balance sheet.
Running a fully operational R&D and aluminium testing facility is an expensive business for any company. Such facilities are required to maintain a full range of technical skills and an extensive range of capital equipment. The essence of the problem is that an individual company may need all these skills and resources, but it doesn’t need them all of the time. At Innoval we provide our customers with access to critical skills, experience and high maintenance equipment, but they only pay for the services they require, when they need them. Effectively, these customers are sharing the operating costs of an R&D centre with a range of non-competitive companies.
The outsourcing model makes so much sense to us, that we use it ourselves. In addition to offering a range of in-house aluminium testing facilities, we can send our own skilled experimentalists to use the equipment at local universities. This means that our costs, and ultimately those of our customers, are kept low whilst at the same time we ensure that the most appropriate methods are employed to solve a customer’s problem – we don’t just use what we have here in Banbury. Furthermore, we use our product expertise and knowledge of end use applications to interpret the test results and provide sound, impartial recommendations. It is important that we fully understand our customer’s problems and solve them in a cost effective and timely manner. At Innoval offer so much more than just aluminium testing; we never provide data without expert interpretation.
The roots of most of our staff are within Alcan or Alcoa, and many employed by Innoval came from the world-renowned Banbury Research centre. It is essential that we continue to stay at the forefront of light metals technology, and to this end, we run a number of internal and external development programmes.
By engaging in cutting-edge research and technology development activities, such as the highly successful REALCAR project, we expand our skills and knowledge base. This ensures our customers have access to world class expertise when they need it, without the high fixed costs of maintaining a full service ‘in house’ R&D facility.
This blog post was originally written by Dr Tom Farley who has now left the company. Please contact Dr Gary Mahon if you have any questions.