What we do and why we’re a good fit for you
We deliver strategic innovation consulting projects for our clients to enable us to continue to deliver and commercialise our own innovation projects involving AI (Artificial Intelligence), Robotics, Sensing & Imaging, and Machine Learning. This means we practice what we preach every day.
PCRL Strategic Innovation Consulting
Whether it’s getting under the skin of a local functional issue, solving complex manufacturing or operational problems, writing commercial contracts, patents, or bidding for technology-based grant investments, or helping you carry out research and development, product design, or innovate – PCRL can help. We focus on what’s right for you right now, and execute strategy and fixed term programmes to turn your ideas into reality.
Typical activities involve:
- Grant Funding – Securing Business Start-up and Growth Finance (Grant Writing)
- Pre/Start-up management, business planning, and growth/turnaround
- R&D, New Product Development (NPD – from idea to full systems prototyping)
- Core Function set up, turnaround and direction
- Establishing compliant operations (from design to sourcing to delivery)
- Infrastructure and process for investor due diligence reviews
- Market Research and product pipeline enhancement
- Factory & International Sourcing, Ramp-up, Commissioning (Manned / Automated), in UK, EMEA, APAC, APJ, Benelux, LATAM
- International Intellectual Property Management Worldwide (Patents, Utility Models, Trademarks, Copyrights), and Patent Box / Tax Benefits
- Technology & Supplier Contracts, legal and financial infrastructure
- QA, Regulatory Control & Compliance in any Country or Continent
- HR, (job design, appraisals, restructuring, handbooks and manuals)
- Interim Management
- NED (Non Exec Director) or Advisory positions in tech firms, including start-ups
See more information below or call us now on +44(0) 0161 233 0054
If there are grants available, PCRL will know how to pursue them. With staff that have been delivering on, writing and winning National and European grants since 1999, we understand what’s important.
First, you need to know what’s available, when to apply, and how best to access them. Once you know this, you need to pull together an application. However, since every application and project is unique, the process requires skill, experience and knowhow to navigate it successfully. But don’t worry, PCRL have a team of seasoned writers and grant specialists ready and able to deliver the job for you.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just a pot of free money. With every grant comes a set of requirements, obligations and time frames that must be adhered to – and some may not be right for your business. But that’s our job. We’ll appraise the situation, your technology or idea, and we’ll let you know the options available. We’ll explain what they are, and what each funding body will require of you.
Typical Grants Pursued
Here is a list of some of the grants we pursue:
- Technical feasibility
- Market feasibility
- Grants for new business models
- Market research funding
- Proof of Concept funding
- Prototype Development and Exploitation Funding
- Collaborative R&D
- Regional Regeneration
- All major public sector grants
Once you win the grant, PCRL can take a step back and leave you to administer it. Alternatively, we offer additional support services in connection with your grant, including:
- project management – from start to finish
- project planning
- steering committee membership
- technical delivery of certain work packages
In terms of project management, PCRL staff are OGC Registered Practitioners in MSP, PRINCE2, and MoR (that’s Programme, Project and Risk Management).
Grant Editing & Reviewing
If you have written a grant application yourself and would like it reviewing, we would be happy to do so.
Business & Strategic Planning
Many CEOs and MD revise their company’s strategy to reflect a changing business environment. This invariably means transforming the business profoundly, which isn’t easy – especially in uncertain economic times. However, doing nothing is very often much worse. Standing still just isn’t an option.
PCRL use their strategy map tools to help businesses develop clear objectives and rationalise their business models. Then, with those in mind, plus an IP centric innovative culture, and appropriate use of technology, it is possible to enhance a strategy while maintaining Business As Usual.
We can help your business to do just that. We will work with you to translate top level boardroom strategy into action, results and positive outcomes. Here’s how we can support you:
- Strategic mapping: Ambition setting, Evaluating key initiatives, Identifying other options to fill any gap, Assembling the Plan.
- Growth mapping: Identify which innovations will be commercialised, and highlighting how they bring value to your organisation and its stakeholders; New (if necessary) structure and culture to drive innovations forward; New Operations to successfully deliver the benefits from your innovations to the market.
- Financial mapping: We are not accountants, however we can help you understand your business through modelling scenarios, appraising competition, and analysing pricing models.
- Customer mapping: We can help you improve how you target customers; sell product and services; deliver better customer service; engage customers, and use business insight to make better decisions.
- Essential Business Technology: having operated at the coal-face, we understand the kind of game-changing business technology required to keep you informed and help you achieve the strategic business goals.
- Organisational behaviour: To succeed, every company needs their strategy to be underpinned with structures, processes and people. We can help you plan this transformation to promote consistent execution of your strategies, and deliver shareholder value.
Project, Programme, & Risk Management
PCRL have Cabinet Office (OGC) Registered ‘Best Practice’ Practitioners in the following areas:
- Risk Management (MoR)
- Programme Management (MSP)
- Project Management (PRINCE2)
We can help you if you:
- have a portfolio of projects and need part-time or interim management
- have a single change management, NPD, Operations, or other project needing a project manager
- have concerns about risk management in your organisation
- need hands-on training in programme, project or risk management
What is MoR?
The term MoR or ‘management of risk’ incorporates all the activities required to identify and control the exposure to risk which may have an impact on the achievement of an organisation’s business objectives. MoR considers risk from different perspectives within an organisation: strategic, programme, project and operational. While it links to other Cabinet Office Best Practice, it respects the roles, responsibilities and terminologies used outside the disciplines of programme and project management.
What is MSP?
Programme management is about managing groups of projects to achieve a desired outcome or benefit for an organisation. It is about the structuring and control of those projects so they deliver effectively as a group.
MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) is a best-practice guide from the OGC (Office of Government Commerce, an independent Office of the Treasury). It has been developed using the collective expertise and practical experience of some of the leading practitioners in the field. Managing Successful Programmes is unique in its status as a flexible generic best practice framework, and although it has been founded on best practice, it is not prescriptive.
What is PRINCE2?
PRINCE2 project management methodology is a world-class standard for managing projects to a successful conclusion. It is the UK de-facto standard for project management. PRINCE2 has 7 outline principles that contribute to project success:
- Continued Business Justification
- Learn from Experience
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities
- Manage by Stages
- Manage by Exception
- Focus on Products
- Tailored to Suit the Project Environment
R&D, NPD, Innovation
When the World’s top CEOs are ranking innovation as the number one approach for growth, it’s time to listen. Not only does innovation keep your customers happy, it also reinforces your competitive position, builds barriers through IP, and can present opportunities for cost, quality, and operational excellence too. We can help you bring new products and services to market quickly and efficiently.
Many businesses don’t have an innovation strategy, but without one it’s almost impossible to effectively chart pathways to more profitable growth. So whether its core product development or new-to-world ground breaking innovation, PCRL can help validate NPD value propositions, develop new business models, and define innovation as a core business strategy.
The goal is to ensure that our clients achieve:
- Marketplace differentiation
- A blend of low, medium and high risk (ground breaking) innovations
- A transparent route map to revenue from innovation
When breakthrough innovations come along, what do you do with them? The team at PCRL have experience in establishing the resources, organisational structure, and processes to ensure those breakthrough innovations progress swiftly. Our legal and intellectual property team will help you develop a suitable framework to define, capture and progress all breakthrough innovations through the appropriate commercialization vehicle (incubators, joint ventures, spin-outs, license, etc).
The goal is to ensure that our clients achieve:
- Continued momentum to breakthrough innovations
- Structured progression under an appropriate legal framework
- High value return on investment
Innovation Road Mapping
No-one knows your business better than you, but often companies have difficulty defining winning strategies simply as a result of being too close, or too involved in the decision making. PCRL’s Road Mapping activity helps clients identify product and service strategies, balance portfolio offerings, define management processes.
The goal is to ensure that our clients achieve:
- A rule-based selection process (based on market intelligence, not personalities)
- A clear route to enhanced growth and profitability
- Improved return on R&D investment
Efficient, Effective, Excellence
With hands on experience of taking over 1000 new products to market in fast-paced highly pressured environments, PCRL staff know how hard it can be to management complex NPD while also driving increased profitability and reduced TTM (Time To Market). Often, the reason for slippage is late changes to, or the complete lack of, a product specification. Having been at the coal face, and managed the journey from art to physical part, PCRL are ideally placed to offer advice on how to reduce development times, improve interdisciplinary team work, increase output (per person), and drive the innovation pipeline.
The goal is to ensure that our clients achieve:
- Faster time-to-market
- Reduced instances of slippage
- Enhanced morale
- Higher revenue and profit per product
UK & International Operations, Factory & Global Sourcing
Having established innovation, R&D, and production footprints in four continents for SMEs and Blue Chips, and with our own outsourced factory operating within the group, PCRL is an ideal choice for advising on international operations, factory and global sourcing. This may be to gain better access to markets, to source local talent, or for cost and tax efficiency purposes. Whatever it is, we can help set up and/or optimise multi-site operations, identify international expansion opportunities, understand cost and tax implications of a new operational strategy, and access new talent.
The goal is to ensure that our clients:
- Have access to the right information at the right time
- Establish new cost efficient operations
- Optimise product development capacity
- Drive output of distributed teams
PCRL staff have led Digital Integration projects in over 250 businesses. By following our AWAKEN ® model, we helped clients select and implement digital integration solutions, including 3D CAD, Cloud Services, and PLM (product lifecycle management) systems that helped them realise rapid ROI.
We assist our clients to:
- Define a strategy
- Understand their needs
- Align and develop processes with functional requirements
- Implement new systems while managing business as usual
Typically, our digital integration activities deliver a 20:1 GVA (Gross Value Add) over a 24 month period, as well as delivering better visibility of assets, improved quality, more informed decision making, and sustainable ROI on investments.
Engineering, Operations, & Outsourcing
PCRL are a results-driven organisation with experience leading multi-site international teams in UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific, USA, and Canada on engineering, operations, outsourcing and development projects. Our staff are specialists in leading the turnaround of less efficient design teams and factories sensitively and effectively to drive engineering quality, maximise output and optimise profitability, without compromising quality or company values. Recent projects have involved FMCG NPD and factory development to supply the World’s largest retailers (including Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco), as well as leading campaigns for Disney and Dreamworks.
PCRL also offer support in the assembly and management of business cases and blueprints for step change business growth underpinned with engineering transformation.
Doing more with less has never been more important. Our interdisciplinary team understand how to integrate end to end operations to deliver optimal outputs to cost, quality, and time constraints.
PCRL can help if you need:
- to turn around existing manufacturing, production or supply chain issues involving
- outsourcing, low-cost country sourcing, e-sourcing, or more efficient procurement
- to reduce costs, capture lost revenue or improve service levels
- to achieve quantifiable improvements by minimising inefficiencies
- to improve decision-making processes
- to improve control methods
- to improve the general effectiveness of your physical supply chain
- a new sustainable business model
- to grow revenue
- to re-assess whether you are getting the most from your customer relationships
If you have recently completed a period of change, and your looking to cast a fresh pair of eyes over it to ensure things really are what they seem, we can help you sensitively appraise outcomes, and question whether what’s happening is what should be happening.
International Sourcing Activities:
Through our US partnership, we are able to offer the following services in International Sourcing:
- Sourcing and Sub Supplier Development
- Purchase Order Management & Vendor Coordination
- Inspection, Assembly & Packaging , plus in-bound quality control, in-process QC, final QC), assembly, custom packaging and freight consolidation
- Out-bound Logistics and Delivery, including international customs brokerage
- ISO compliant, Product Quality Manual (PQM) set up
- Sourcing Feasibility Study/Supplier Identification and Analysis Proposition Report
- Vendor Management and Coordination Value Proposition, including coordination of sampling (both pre-production and production reference samples) as well as PO Management (to ensure delivery of desired products, units ordered, lead times, packing methods, etc), and Quality Review (Review and adjustment of factory’s internal quality control system as allowed, Organizing independent lab testing, Arranging 3rd Party Quality Inspections on site at supplier’s production facility, etc)
- Liaison with secondary vendors related to the PO such as client appointed raw material providers, printers & packaging providers.
- Consultation and coordination of Export Licensing and Customs Clearance.
- Logistics Support in the form of Documentation Review and coordination of shippers, and brokers in target territory and in the client’s home market.
- Analysis and Advise on applicable VAT rates and potential rebate process
- Tool and Die Stewardship (Storage, Handling, Watchmen Activities), including 3rd party inspection, production pieces and conduct tool trails after maintenance or repair
- Overseas VAT strategy Assessment (EU, US, China) including HS codification
- Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE) and Factory in a Factory set-up
Business Process Optimisation:
Most operational transformations involve a degree of Business Process Optimisation. PCRL has experience drafting and implementing new processes, in concert with local management. The following are some examples of processes developed for clients:
- QA, Regulatory Control & Compliance
- Country Evaluation
- Risk Management
- Quality Plan
- Recall Plan
- Factory Auditing
- Environmental Auditing
- WEEE, ROHS, and International Standards Compliance
- Incident analysis and follow-up
- Intellectual Property Management
- Infringement Management
- Contractor Transfer of Rights
- Invention Disclosure
- Staff De-installation
- Filing a Patent
- Filing a Trademark
- Filing a Copyright
- Filing a Design Registration
- Filing a Chinese Utility Model Patent
- Legal (UK, USA, China, Mexico)
- Commercial Contract Assembly & Management
- Assembly Partner Contracts
- Equipment Provider Contracts
- Intercompany Guarantee
- VAT, Transfer Pricing, Shipping
- Product Development
- New SKU / R&D Development
- New Project Brief
- New Project Creation
- Project Estimating
- Design Specification
- Version & Release Control
- Test Request & Delivery
- Issue Tracking
- Contractor Engagement Contracts
- Contractor Work Package / Approved Task Control
- Job planning and job design
- Succession planning
- Interview process
- Staff handbooks
- Health & Safety at Work Act
Legal & IPR
Whether you’re trying to decipher the intricacies of the Data Protection Act, consider a Joint Venture agreement, or creating and managing Intellectual Property assets, PCRL can help you establish and operate within an appropriate legal / commercial framework by advising and connecting you with the proper partners. We recognise that every business has different needs. As a result, we leverage our network to ensure we possess the local and cross-jurisdictional knowledge necessary to help you confront any legal or commercial issue. Our legal services include:
- Intellectual Property
- Data Management
- Commercial Contracts
- Commercial and Consumer Regulation
Intellectual property (IP) is the most valuable asset in many businesses. It can often be a source of revenue in its own right, as well as being the basis for competitive advantage. Protecting IP assets against accidental disclosure and/or unauthorised use, is key to establishing a successful IP strategy.
The team at PCRL have over 40 years’ experience handling IP portfolios. As a result, we can contribute to the development of your portfolio through services provision, or manage it completely on your behalf.
We provide support in drafting, filing and defending all aspects of IP including:
- Industrial design rights
- Trade dress
- Trade secrets
If you’re new to IP, we also offer guidance on the essential must-haves in your organisation to protect you and your assets. We provide support in:
- Setting up the core policies and procedures
- Training in general IP related matters
We offer support in a several aspects of commercial contracts, including:
- distribution contracts (e.g. franchising agreements, agency or commission agreements);
- operational commercial contracts (e.g. manufacturing agreements, outsourcing agreements, advertising agreements, licensing agreements, commercial cooperation);
- conditions of sale and purchase;
- contracts relating to due diligence;
- negotiating local and international agreements in line with applicable laws, such as:
- technical assistance
- supply chain
We also offer support in analysing the operations of a business and determining which type of agreements are needed.
Commercial and Consumer Regulation
- observe data protection obligations and information security standards
- understand and comply with duties to reveal data to consumers and vulnerable groups
- generate the appropriate documentation (for evidentiary purposes)
- secure proprietary information and IP rights
- maintain appropriate information with consumer protection authorities
Regulatory Control & Compliance
PCRL’s team of Chartered Engineers and Quality Managers have considerable experience navigating Regulatory Control & Compliance requirements in the UK and overseas, enabling businesses small and large to supply into companies such as:
Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, B&Q, Homebase, Marks & Spencers, BHS, Aldi, Argos, Mothercare, Toys R US, Shop Direct, Manchester United, Timeguard, and over 500 independents.
There are many facets to regulatory control – far too many to mention here, but here’s a just a few of services we offer our clients.
1. Guidance in working with certification agencies to achieve:
- the International Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS 18001)
- Quality Management Systems to ISO9001
- Environmental Management Systems to ISO14001
- ISO 50001 Certification and Energy Management Systems to EN 16001
2. Designing for, and manufacturing to global standards and legislation for your products, including (but not limited to):
- WEEE, EEE, Battery Compliance, Environment Agency
- European Toy Safety Directive 2010/48/EC (TSD)
- BV UK (European), Germany, France
- CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act)
- U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- California Air Resources Board
- Proposition 65
- CONEG Toxins in Packaging Regulations
- Directive 2009/48/EC, Safety of Toys
- Directive 2006/66EC, Waste Batteries and Accumulators
- Directive 2004/108/EC, N 55014-1:2006 + A1:2009 EN 55014-2:1997+A1:2001+A2:2009, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
- Directive 2002/95/EC, Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS)
- BS EN 71-1:2011, Safety of Toys Mechanical and Physical Properties
- BS EN71-2:2011, Safety of Toys Flammability
- BS EN 71-3:1995, Migration of certain Elements
- BS EN 60825-1:2007, Safety of Laser Products Equipment Classification
- BS EN 62115:2005, Electrical Toys Safety
- BS EN 60086-2-2007, Primary Batteries Physical and Electrical Properties
- No 1907/2006, REACH Annex XVII Substance 23 Total Cadmium to Regulation (EC)
- Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, Reach Annex XVII, Phthalates content / Nitrosamines
3. Setting up new, or appraising existing, quality systems, complaint logs, processes and procedures to ensure compliance is achieved and regular due diligence testing is maintained.
4. Working with regulatory authorities and trading standards agencies to ensure your products are appropriately represented.
5. Help you consider, plan, and establish on-going life cycle testing to put your product through its paces continually, week after week, month after month, in a variety of real world conditions – so that you can demonstrate that you have left no stone unturned should the worse happen to an individual using your product.
6. If the worse should happen in which a user, or their belongings, is injured / damaged by one of your products, PCRL can sensitively conduct expert witness and critical reviews prior to meeting with your insurance providers.
R&D Tax Credits
If you are doing any of the above, or other R&D work not listed, your business may qualify for sizeable R&D Tax Credits.
Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief is a Corporation Tax relief that may reduce your company tax bill. Alternatively, you may be able to choose to receive a tax credit instead, by way of a cash sum paid by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Research and development (R&D) tax relief is a UK Government incentive structured to incentivise innovative UK businesses investing in appropriate innovation – i.e. solving scientific or technical uncertainties. This tax credit or relief can help you further continue innovation and R&D activities and grow your business.
Lots of different costs qualify, including staff, NIC, pension, reimbursed expenses, subcontract work packages and freelance, materials and consumables including heating, lighting and power used in the R&D project, some types of complex ground-breaking software development, and even payments to subjects involved in clinical or other appropriate research and scientific trials.
There are different R&D Tax schemes offered. One for an SME, and another for a Large Company. For clarity, you’re an SME if you have fewer than 500 staff and either not more than €100 million turnover or €86 million gross assets. Most companies, including start-ups, fall into this category. You’re a Large Company if you have 500 staff or more and either more than €100 million turnover or €86 million gross assets.
R&D Tax Relief is calculated based on your R&D Eligible Spend. We help clients identify qualifying expenditure and prepare the relevant technical and supporting documentation required.
Companies claiming R&D Relief as an SME can claim up to 33p for every £1 spent on qualifying R&D. Large companies are able to claim up to 10p for every £1 spent on qualifying R&D.
Very often accountants wrongly conclude that a business does not qualify for the tax credits, or discourage pursuing a claim on the basis that it may be onerous. This may not be the case.
PCRL will help you examine your suitability for reclaiming via R&D Tax Relief schemes. We’ll also help you complete the necessary technical reports, putting them into an appropriate format for the HMRC. If you have been R&D active in the past, you should act now to avoid losing expenditure from previous years. Ask us about our flat fee structure.
Contact us now on +44 (0) 161 233 0054 to find out more.