Channel Clusters Dissemination Seminar - Friday 23rd September 2011

The first Channel Clusters Dissemination seminar took place on the morning of Friday, 23rd September 2011. The venue was Teagasc Ashtown in Dublin 15. The meeting commenced at 9.15am and finished at 1pm with a light lunch served afterwards. 

The first person to speak was Godfrey Lydon of the IEA who welcomes the attendees and gave an overview of the Channel Clusters programme which has run over the past 2 and a half years with 30 companies on the programme. He gave a summary of the key achievements on the programme, including incremental sales generated, new jobs created, NPD projects (in situ and in pipeline) and the various areas of management development, where mentor assistance was provided. 

Next to speak was Ronan Gillespie of Next Step International at 9.45am.  Ronan was one of the three mentors on the programme. He spoke on the subject of:  'How effective Channel Management Increased Sales for Cluster Companies'.

He then gave 8 examples from the programme of issues encountered with channel management and how these were overcome. These were: 1) The issue of over –reliance on one customer; 2) Finding appropriate route to market for a new product; 3) Finding new customers in Eurozone due to over reliance on UK and issues with weak St£; 4) Lack of knowledge of NPD supports available from state and private bodies and how to access this; 5) Production and storage constraints when up-scaling and key decisions to be made; 6) Lack of experience of exporting and how to go about it; 7) Allowing enough margin for all parties in the Channel when price setting; 8) Maximising opportunity with different customers in each channel.

10.25 - 11.15am: Declan Ennis, Export Controller with Green Isle Foods and formerly MD of Ennis Foods presented on the subject of 'Lessons in
Successful Exporting.  Declan gave a presentation outlining his experiences and the lessons he learned setting up a food brand called Rumblers in the mid 1990s.  He spoke about the consumer gap he identified and the market entry strategy.  He spoke about the business plan that he put together and the VC backing that he got as a result.  He also spoke about his export experience with Green Isle Foods and the challeges faced launching the Goodfellas brand in the Netherlands and Denmark.

11.25 - 12.00: Two companies on the programme then spoke about how the programme helped their businesses. They were Janet Drew of Janet's Country Fayre and Michael Kyle of Kyle's Kitchen.

12.00 - 12.45pm:  Finally Dean Attwell of Oakland International gave an overview of his business entitled: 'Supply Chain Solutions from Ireland to the UK'. Oakland manage the logistics for many Irish SMEs going from Ireland into the UK multiples and indeed other UK customers. Oakland are an ideal solution for SMEs who are not sending full container loads to customers in the UK and who could not service the requirements of UK customers directly.   To view the first part of Oakland's presentation, please click here.

Below: Attendees at Channel Clusters Dissemination Seminar



This project was made possible through a financial contribution from the European Regional Development Fund Ireland Wales (INTERREG 4A) Programme 2007 - 2013. This article reflects the views of the author only and not those of the Programme Authorities.