Partnerships start on Innovation Alley

Posted on: 11/07/2022

Innovation Alumni company SupplyVue tell us what it was like to be on Made Smarter Innovation Alley at Smart Factory Expo 2021 and why it is a ‘must’ for any company with leading-edge digital tech for the manufacturing industry.

SupplyVue is a UK SME offering an analytics, modelling and planning solution that enables companies to achieve a data driven high performance supply network that is synchronised and sustainable. They exhibited on Made Smarter Innovation Alley in 2021.  We spoke to their Commercial director Kim Lloyd about why they decided to exhibit on ‘The Alley’:

“Being seen as leading edge tech is very important to our business.  We have developed a unique solution that enables companies to take control of their supply chains and we were looking for mediums to showcase what we do.  Innovation Alley attracts audiences that want to know what leading tech is out there for the manufacturing industry.  Obviously we went there to find customers but we also went to find out what others were doing across the industry, to test our solutions and identify potential collaboration partners.”

The event was highly rewarding for SupplyVue in terms of leads (71 in total) and many conversations with other exhibitors on the Alley and at the conference around partnership collaboration.  Kim highlighted that the learning and interaction she had with visitors to the stand really made the experience worthwhile.

Kim commented,

“The format of Innovation Alley is great. The Alley runs right through the heart of Smart Factory Expo so it attracts everyone moving around the exhibition and attending various talks and workshops.  It is a busy exhibition so companies need to carefully consider how they make a visual impact.  Every exhibitor gets a very basic shell stand.  We put a lot of effort into considering how we made our stand look professional and highly engaging to attract as many people to talk to us as possible (and it worked as I didn’t stop talking for the whole 2 days).  Some stands had robots, others had interactive displays and some had gadgets you could play with – those were the stands that attracted the visitors.”

Talking to other exhibitors yielded many positive results for SupplyVue.  Everyone on the Alley is at a similar stage in their growth journey so knowing others were facing the same issues as them was very useful.  Conversations didn’t just centre around getting customers and finding routes to market, they also focused on approaches to funding, investment raising and staffing.

Kim provided 5 top tips for companies considering attending in 2022:

  1. Make sure your elevator pitch is perfect!  Know the problems the manufacturing industry is facing and the specific problem your tech is solving.  Understand what makes it different and learn from how others describe your solution.
  2. If your product or service is at an early prototype stage, have conversations with lots of different people to test it effectively.  Hire a screen and showcase what the product will look like and the problems it will solve.
  3. Do your research.  Identify other companies on Innovation Alley who you want to target as potential partners and contact them in advance to ‘start the conversation’.
  4. Use the show to do your research.  Ask questions, attend the conference slots and gleam as much information as possible to help you achieve your goals.
  5. Talk to the teams at Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN and encourage them to introduce you to their extensive networks – they can really open doors for you!

Kim finished our interview saying, “What have companies got to lose?  It is inspiring to meet like-minded people from different backgrounds with different technologies.  Sharing challenges, ideas and top tips helps any business grow and Innovation Alley is an ideal place to have those conversations.”

If you are interested in applying for a fully funded place on Innovation Alley 2022, which is part of the Smart Factory Expo running 16-17 November 2022 in Liverpool, apply here or speak to Matthew Wasley at Innovate UK KTN for more information.

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