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Scaleup Programme stories: Valuechain

Written by Tom Dawes on 28 June 2018

Global supply chains are complex, fragmented and carry risk. Valuechain is addressing these challenges and is on an exciting scaleup trajectory

Main Image
Hand holding tablet supply chain

© Shutterstock

 

Valuechain provides smart software to create world-class supply chains. Supply chains are developing at an incredibly rapid rate; it wasn’t too long ago that all stages of production were done in-house. However, as demands have increased, specialised manufacturing companies are able to provide higher quality products, and emerging economies overseas are driving down costs; meaning supply chains are now incredibly complex, fragmented, and global.

 

This has brought in huge amounts of risk - operational, environmental, geopolitical, compliance -  and the systems to manage these supply chains haven’t kept up, making it difficult to manage supply chain performance effectively, and mitigate these risks.

 

We are creating a platform, to enable companies to digitally connect and collaborate through multi-tier supply chains, securely and effectively; to give OEMs the intelligence and visibility they need to effectively manage supplier performance and mitigate these risks.

 

However, my passion is about helping SMEs drive productivity, drive efficiency and to collaborate. That’s the only way the whole supply chain can be competitive. So while our focus is on SME manufacturers, we do have a number of blue chip clients such as BAE Systems, Airbus and Bentley Motors.

 

Our smart manufacturing software helps organisations of all sizes to improve productivity, streamline collaboration and generate intelligence, as it integrates internal and external data sets and turns them into visual dashboards. We make the data easy to view and use AI to help people make the right decisions at the right time.

 

I’m a recovering manufacturer myself, having started, grown and eventually sold an aerospace manufacturing company. I learnt a lot from the experience, particularly about the challenges of scaling a business.

 

A partner in growth

 

My co-founder Haifeng Guo and I have bootstrapped this business since we started it in 2010 and we have funded our growth through customer revenues - always the best source of funds - and from innovation funding. Innovate UK has been a partner throughout our journey; and recently we won a £3.2m Horizon 2020 grant to help us to scale operations.

 

We participate on the Global Business Accelerator programme to help us achieve scale and find global partners. In this year alone, we were selected to be part of a Global Expert Mission to South Korea - organised by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and Innovate UK - and to represent the UK’s digitalisation drive in the manufacturing sector.

 

We have also joined other SMEs on a mission to Canada to explore collaboration in the advanced manufacturing sector. Our wider initiative is to expand into North America and missions such as these help companies such as ours to access large organisations, new markets, and new opportunities.

 

Valuechain is on a healthy trajectory: we have doubled every year and will treble this year, having made a couple of strategic acquisitions. At present, we have 33 employees in UK, 27 in China and 15 in India.

 

Being part of the Scaleup Programme is a great badge of honour, and it is a strong message to tell our clients. Kudos aside, it’s an opportunity to reflect on our business, and ensure we’re taking the right path with our business; effectively protect our IP and having the correct processes and people in place.

 

It’s also critical that we find the right funding. In my previous business, I made mistakes over this and I do not want to repeat that. We’re currently looking for funding partners who are the right cultural fit and aligned with our long-term goals.

Being part of the Scaleup Programme is a great badge of honour, and it is a strong message to tell our clients

 

Tom Dawes