Implementing a Continuous Innovation Culture in a SME

Bryan Magee, DENNIS MCKEAG, Duncan Wilson, Nathan Kerr

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Prior to 2004 Rapid International were a small company employing 50 persons and their main output was design, manufacture and installation of bespoke concrete batching plant. The company had 11% of the market in the British Isles, but the industry as a whole had stagnated through lack of innovation, leading to increased price competition from new start-ups entering a mature craft based industry based on fabrication of relatively low technology products. It was seen that to achieve growth and profitability the company would have to change the way it did business.
Following fifteen years of grant aided research, knowledge and technology transfer collaboration with the Ulster University, Rapid International are now a high technology company focusing on manufacturing of mobile concrete batching plant and related products for worldwide export. Better management organisation and structures are in place; new continuous improvement procedures and techniques have been introduced, as has new CADCAM technology. Productivity, efficiency and product quality are improved, and costs reduced. Most importantly the company culture has changed from one focussed on production to one focussed on innovation. The initial part of the paper outlines the theoretical, engineering and business approaches and techniques that led to new strategic, tactical and product planning underpinning a seven-year programme of change to a culture of continuous innovation. The second part of the paper gives an account of product innovations under the new culture and finishes with an account of a project embracing science in innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished online - 11 Jun 2020
EventXXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference 2020: Innovating in Times of Crisis - Virtual, Germany
Duration: 7 Jun 202010 Jun 2020


ConferenceXXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference 2020
Internet address


  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • New product design
  • Product development
  • Strategy


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