Case study

Qioptiq: £82 million contract win with Ministry of Defence

An Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership has helped Qioptiq secure its largest ever contract, ensuring UK armed forces can access night vision equipment.

KTP associate Thanos Goltsos.

KTP associate Thanos Goltsos helped Qioptiq secure its largest ever contract.

Photonics supplier Qioptiq has secured a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth £82 million – its largest ever – thanks to an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) giving them access to research expertise at Cardiff Business School.

The contract will ensure that UK armed forces around the world have access to essential night vision equipment. It’s predicted that with Qioptiq’s support, the MoD will save £47 million, while helping troops to stay safe.

As a result of the win, Qioptiq has opened a £3.7 million warehouse in North Wales to deliver the contract and increased its staff numbers.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership success story: Qioptiq

A better way to forecast stock

Qioptiq supplies photonic devices to the medicine, manufacturing and defence industries.

Previously, it had difficulty in predicting how many of its products would be ordered, and how many returned. This affected its ability to set prices, meet demand and plan operations.

When Thanos Goltsos – an expert in forecasting and inventory control at Cardiff Business School – began working with the company through the KTP, his first priority was understanding how Qioptiq’s operations worked.

Thanos said:

I audited the processes to see how they forecast demand and planned ahead.

Qioptiq needed to predict what would be returned in the next few months, as well as seeing the demand patterns of its customers.

I proposed moving to a more agile way of doing things to improve service level and pricing.

From adopting Thanos’ system, Qioptiq reduced its inventory by 25%, leading to major cost savings for the firm.

Thanos Goltsos with Professor Mohamed Naim.
Thanos Goltsos with Professor Mohamed Naim.

Biggest contract secured

Thanos’ system not only provided major cost benefits, it also landed Qioptiq its largest ever contract.

Thanos said:

It’s been the biggest contract Qioptiq and the parent company has ever won. They built a new plant, retained 10 people, and recruited 7 more.

The company have been very magnanimous in saying that a big part of them winning the contract was the work we’ve done for them.

KTP associate Thanos Goltsos.
KTP associate Thanos Goltsos.

Personal development

Through his experience as a KTP associate, Thanos benefited from personal and professional development.

He said:

I had very good supervision from top academics in the field – you have access to the best training, conferences, workshops and academic practitioners.

I also developed a can-do attitude and am now able to tackle diverse problems.

Business and academic partnerships

The KTP scheme is designed to help UK businesses to innovate and grow by linking them with a research or academic organisation.

Together they recruit a qualified graduate to work at the company for between 12 and 36 months, looking at a specific, strategic innovation project.

On why to take part in a KTP, Thanos said:

My advice to businesses would be to look at the success of other projects.

If you have a problem you get subsidised access to world-renowned expertise and academics, you recruit a person suited to the company to sort the problem out, you transfer the knowledge in-house and have the opportunity to retain this person. What’s not to like?

Published 3 January 2019