Heron Joinery is a renowned manufacturer of bespoke timber doors and windows, primarily to the GB market. Formed in 1956, Heron Joinery supplies products to both residential projects and commercial projects such as schools, hospitals, and hotels.

The Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP) between Heron Joinery and Ulster University has implemented invaluable management capabilities enabling the company in achieving its growth objectives.

Professor Trevor Cadden, was the lead academic on the  MKTP.

Professor Trevor Cadden was the lead academic on the MKTP

““A fantastic programme that had immense value for all parties. The company significantly increased its sales, market share and profitability with the same number of staff. The associate developed both professionally and personally. The knowledge base academic partners, which were cross faculty, learned from each other, and were able to apply a range of industry 4.0 and operational excellence techniques to deliver significant outcomes. This project will also be a great contributor to a research impact case study.”

Professor Trevor Cadden

Professor of Operations Management at Ulster University

Michael Bell, was the KTP Associate on the project.

Michael Bell

““I'm thrilled with the project's outcomes, particularly the tangible improvements in Heron Joinery's production metrics.

These specific achievements highlight the effectiveness of our operational strategy, aiming for a £15m annual turnover by 2025, which represents a substantial 36.37% increase. The project not only met but exceeded initial expectations, delivering measurable value to Heron Joinery.

From a resource utilization perspective, the synergy between academic expertise and practical industry knowledge facilitated comprehensive problem-solving, maximizing the potential of available resources. This strategic collaboration and its concrete impact on production values underscore the project's success.

My experience in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership has exceeded expectations. The collaborative synergy between academic knowledge and practical application in the business context surpassed what I initially envisioned, resulting in impactful transformations and valuable outcomes for Heron Joinery.”

Michael Bell

KTP Associate

Management capabilities introduced during the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Management capabilities introduced during the MKTP have allowed Heron Joinery to focus on operational excellence, utilise business intelligence, and introduce a continuous improvement philosophy that now underpins the company’s ambitious objectives over the next five years.

Ryan McLaughlin

““Embarking on the KTP journey has been an enlightening experience, marked by transformative growth and unwavering support from key academic support team including Prof. Trevor Cadden, Prof. Ronan McIvor, and Prof. Wesley McKnight. Their mentorship and guidance have been instrumental in embedding many of the business improvement practices in Heron Joinery’s operations.

Throughout this collaboration, the KTP team’s efforts have facilitated the seamless integration of Lean principles and cutting-edge technologies into Heron Joinery’s operational fabric. The academic support team’s commitment to fostering a culture of continuous improvement have been pillars of strength, driving the company towards significant improvements in performance.

The journey has not only yielded tangible improvements, such as increased productivity and cost reductions but has also led to a cultural shift within Heron Joinery”.”

Ryan McLaughlin

Operations Manager at Heron Joinery

How Knowledge Transfer Partnerships help businesses

KTPs aim to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology, and skills within the UK knowledge base. The government-backed scheme provides structure and funding that helps businesses innovate through collaboration with our experts at Ulster University.

For KTP enquiries please contact: Amanda Fullerton, a.fullerton@ulster.ac.uk, 028 7167 5074.