Menzies Distribution and University of Strathclyde KTP by Naveen Kumar

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme offers participants a fantastic opportunity: bring academic thinking into the world of business, generate valuable innovations and build an exciting career as a result. 

My own opportunity came in 2013, when I was placed by the University of Strathclyde with Menzies Distribution, as part of their ‘Continuous improvement’ programme – and I’ve never looked back. 

The Business

Menzies Distribution is a 183 year old logistics business, headquartered in Edinburgh, which runs one of the largest time-critical delivery networks in the UK. A team of 4,000 employees, working from more than 50 locations throughout the country, delivers 110 million packages every year on behalf of the Newspaper, Magazines, eCommerce and Parcel industries. 

Because of their connection to highly time-sensitive products, and their renowned overnight news-delivery process, Menzies people describe the business as having worked ‘around the clock, against the clock, since 1833’. It’s a vibrant, fast-paced business, and a team of which I’m very proud to be a part. 

My Project

My work was focused on the analysis of supply chain processes, using a range of academic tools and techniques – such as Supply chain Operations Reference (SCOR), Lean Six sigma methodology and Simulation - to identify the areas in which improvements could be made. 

My detailed analysis of Menzies magazine supply chain helped the company to standardise the processes using SCOR framework. The use of SCOR framework also helped Business Intelligence team to understand the operational requirement to create performance metrics across the business. This created greater visibility to daily, weekly and monthly KPIs.  I have introduced the approach of simulating the process before making any operational change to understand the effects of that change. To bring this culture, I have created a business case for use of simulation software for process improvement projects thereby purchasing the simulation software for future business use. With my understanding of the Menzies Supply chain and Operational capabilities, I started to identify the new opportunities for the business by analysing the UK logistics (Courier & Parcel market, Haulage market, fulfilment and other niche areas). Apart from this I also find  the potential acquisitions for Menzies who can be create better operational and financial synergies. 

Support and development

Throughout my entire placement, I was closely supported both by my Professors at the University of Strathclyde and a  KTP advisor from Innovate UK. Their assistance helped me to steer the project to a successful conclusion, and I’m incredibly grateful for the contribution they made. 

KTP also offered me opportunities to undergo professional development training, which I happily accepted. The two-week residential training programme on which I was placed was a springboard to greater things; I’ve since attended PRINCE2 training, SCOR training and Competitive Strategy Executive education at the INSEAD Business School. 

A stepping stone to greater things

Through my work with the company under KTP, I was able to show Menzies Distribution first-hand what I was capable of contributing. Thanks to that exposure, I secured a full-time role within the business as Strategy & Analytics Manager; shortly thereafter, I was a key player in the team which spearheaded Menzies Distribution’s growth into eCommerce logistics, analysing over 100 logistics and fulfilment companies to identify the market’s most promising opportunities. 

My career is only a few years old, and I’m already helping to change the destiny of a 183-year-old company. It’s exciting, and it’s a door which would never have opened without KTP.

Naveen at the 2015 KTP Showcase and Conference

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