The Importance of Innovation in the Welsh Manufacturing Sector


Alan Mumby, MADE Cymru Lecturer in Innovation Management (MSc) at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

As the COVID-19 pandemic makes its impact on the business world, the challenges that our Welsh businesses will be facing due to our position in the global supply chains could well make it a very testing time. We can observe that even China, which secured its economic rise by establishing itself at the centre of many global value chains, will potentially be looking at serious challenges, despite its reported plans to shift its attention on more high-value added activities and at the same time try and boost its domestic consumption.

Holding on to existing customers whilst at the same time creating the right kind of ‘manufacturing offer’ to potential new customers will be the goal, a difficult challenge, but one which will be necessary if companies in Wales want to be sustainable and secure.

So, the question is what will industry look like post the pandemic? Well there has been many an industry expert that has already expressed their thoughts and ideas on what the manufacturing sector will be doing in the months and years to come, but as the Danish physicist Niels Bohr wisely, but wittily said “…prediction is very difficult, especially about the future”.

My intention wouldn’t be to add to that noise – but I would instead offer the help and assistance that UWTSD’s master’s programme on Innovation Management could provide to partner companies, the kind of knowledge transfer that would have a positive impact for many years.

UWTSD’s MADE Cymru programme is offering a very unique and pragmatic Master’s degree in Innovation Management, which we believe will provide Welsh businesses with the right kind of tools, knowledge and know-how that will help companies to innovate new products, improve manufacturing methods and processes – and offer a better service to their customers.

The modules for this course were created and developed specifically for Welsh businesses – with the core modules being ‘Innovation Management’ and ‘New Product Development’.

Lecture sessions have deliberately been developed to focus on subject areas that can have the most significant impact on manufacturing companies, for example;

Introduction to Innovation
…Selected topics
• Types of Innovation Management
• Managing uncertainty and risks
• Barriers to Innovation
• Innovation Metrics
• Innovation across Boundaries

New Product Development
…Selected topics
• Business Models for NPD
• Market Intelligence for NPD
• Circular Economy
• Managing R&D
• Collaborative Product Development
• Creating the Product Design Specification

These subjects are supported by other significant modules such as Finance Management & Planning – and to ensure that our partner companies have a global perspective, there’s a module on International Innovation Management.

It’s important to point out that this Master’s programme isn’t a knee jerk reaction to the global pandemic. It was devised and launched in the spring of 2019, with the first cohort of students starting in September 2019, the second cohort in January 2020 and the third cohort in May 2020. So, we’re not new to online lecturing, we’ve been successfully delivering our lectures via live broadcasts for quite some time. 

The programme’s delivery was designed in consultation with Welsh industry and follows a unique method of delivery;

  • 1pm on a Friday afternoon
  • Using a Virtual Classroom concept, delivered live and online
  • With pre and post-lecture material always available 
  • Delivered in bite-size chunks
  • Flexibility to schedule the study around work commitments. 
  • Assessments used to deliver real, tangible benefit to the organisation
  • e.g. analysis of technologies, short reports, design studies and presentations.
  • The modules provide highly relevant content direct into industry.

Manufacturing here in Wales already has a well-deserved reputation for being a highly skilled and knowledgeable sector of the economy, responsive to the market and to the production demands of the customers. But at UWTSD we believe that through this programme there is an opportunity both to capture and improve the innovation that already exists within a company, which in turn will lead to the development, design and manufacture of more profitable products and services.

Find out more about our flexible learning courses;

Certificate in Innovation Management *
MSc International Innovation Management

*The two modules that make up the certificate of Innovation Management (Innovation Management and Managing Product Development) are taken from our International Innovation Masters. Having completed the certificate of Innovation Management the learner will have attained 40 credits of our International Innovation Management MSc.

Please visit email [email protected] or call 01792 481199

Or fill out the contact form below.

These courses are part funded by the EU through Welsh Government. The International Innovation Masters Programme is part of the MADE Suite of Programmes.