Business Action | April / May 2019


April / May 2019 issue of the independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.

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NDMA Manufacturing Awards

The 2019 NDMA Awards are

now open for entries with

the aims of identifying and

celebrating the expertise, technical

specialisation, innovation,

growth or other success

of manufacturers and schools

within North Devon.

The 10 categories are:

➤➤Manufacturer of the Year

➤➤Team of the Year

➤➤Apprentice of the Year

➤➤Trainee of the Year

➤➤Environmental Project of

the Year

➤➤Innovation of the Year

➤➤Transformation of the Year

➤➤Business Engagement in

STEM and Schools

Ofwat has delivered its verdict

on water companies’ plans for

its 2019 price review (PR19)

submitted last September.

It has been critical of many

suppliers, who have been told

to do more, but South West

Water (SWW) has been held

up as a shining light and an

example to others.

Setting a new standard

SWW engaged Turquoise

Thinking and several other

agencies to deliver the research

and customer insights to help

formulate its PR19 proposal.

Turquoise Thinking offers

its market research services

nationally and has its headquarters

in Barnstaple.

Ofwat commended

SWW’s plan and the insights

Turquoise provided, going so

far as to say that these “set a

new standard” for the water

sector. While Severn Trent

and United Utilities were also

singled out for praise, and can

join SWW in implementing

their PR19 without further

ado in Ofwat’s ‘fast track’

category, Ofwat has told the

other 14 water companies

they need to revise their plans,

following the model of the

benchmark suppliers.

Understanding the market

Every one of the water

companies conducted market

research in formulating its

➤➤Exporter of the Year

➤➤Product of the Year

Free to enter

Any manufacturing business

in the area can enter, both

North Devon Manufacturers

Association members and nonmembers,

and the awards are

free to enter. They are open to

companies of any size – awards

are judged on criteria relative

to the individual organisation.

The judging panel consists

of individuals who support and

promote manufacturing excellence

across the South West of


Deadline 26 April

The deadline for entries is

Friday 26 April and the awards

plan, but what did South West

Water get so right compared

with the other suppliers?

Part of the answer lies with

its long business relationship

with its market researchers.

Turquoise has 30 years’

experience in utilities market

research and has been working

alongside South West Water

since the 1980s. Few, if any,

market research firms have

will be presented at an evening

function at the Barnstaple

Hotel, Barnstaple on Thursday

16 May. The event will be

attended by entrants, members

of NDMA, guests and the

media, providing the opportunity

for employers to reward

their staff for their hard work

and to network and share their

expertise with others.

Student awards

Entries are also open for the

NDMA’s North Devon Technology

Awards – for students

13-19 years – which aim to

encourage the manufacturers

of the future.

These awards enable school

and college students to showcase

their technology projects

Market research agency

helps water company

on to Ofwat fast track

that level of knowledge and

experience, and the ability to

ask the right questions in the

right way is what ultimately

makes the difference.

Turquoise dug into the

qualitative side of the research

by using a variety of tools.

These included in-depth

interviews, focus groups and

co-creation groups. Other

specific measures included:

to win an industry award.

There is also a £100 cash prize.

Winners will receive their

awards at the NDMA Awards

event on Thursday 16 May.

Entries are welcome from

students independently, or

through their school, college

or institution. The deadline

for student entries is 4pm on

Wednesday 8 May.

Students can submit

excerpts from current projects

that they are working on for

their GCSE, A level, BTEC or

similar courses. Please contact

the NDMA to arrange for a

STEM Ambassador to visit

your school/college to discuss

how current projects can be

used and/or tailored for entry.

■■Enter at

➤➤Future customer research

➤➤Regional investment


➤➤Retailer research

➤➤Priority Services Register


➤➤Priorities and measures


➤➤OPM scoping research

Challenges ahead

PR19 was always going to

be a tough challenge. Rachel

Fletcher, Ofwat chief executive,

put it that the regulator

has essentially demanded that

water companies “deliver more

for less” over the next five

years. In any industry, that is

going to be a big ask, and to

come up with a plan that will

deliver demands full colour

market insights.

Fletcher praised South

West Water along with the

other fast-tracked suppliers

for delivering plans that will

improve efficiency, ensure they

meet their statutory obligations

and deliver “more of

what matters” to the communities

that they serve over the

coming five years. She said

that the gauntlet has now been

thrown down to the other

water companies in England

and Wales to meet this same

high standard.

■■Details 01271 337100 or

2 business action | April / May 2019 |

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