Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Top marks for ISO firm

Audrey Asamoah, Owen Wright, managing director Michael Bright, Wendy Mewis and Diane DibleyA Malmesbury company that helps firms achieve internationally recognised ISO certification is celebrating its own access, after winning praise from the prestigious European Foundation for Quality Management.

IMSM, which has headquarters in Malmesbury and offices in Swindon, Manchester and Chelmsford, achieved a four star rating from the Brussels-based EFQM.

The business, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, helps companies prepare for the internationally recognised ISO quality standards, including ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 27001 Information and Data Security.

EFQM helps organisations improve and achieve high levels of performance through its Recognised for Excellence model, a comprehensive management framework used by more than 30,000 organisations in Europe. The model covers nine criteria, including leadership skills, policy and strategy, internal processes and the results they have achieved from customer, employee, society and key performance sectors. 
 
Auditors from EFQM put IMSM through its paces during a week-long audit at the company’s
headquarters. Afterwards, they praised IMSM for understanding the market and the needs of the clients and for adding value. The business was also complimented for making considerable investment in growing people internally and externally.
 
“IMSM really committed some years ago to excellence and our commitment is paying off in improvement across all results areas, the impressive commitment of people to continuous improvement, as well as through the achievement in the Recognised for Excellence process,” said Diane Dibley, IMSM business improvement consultant.
 
Wendy Mewis, leader of IMSM’s excellence steering committee, added: “Our employees are being personally developed and trained, our customers are being offered a continually improved service and our internal processes and long-term strategy are structured and proactive rather than reactive. In short, we are a better company.”
 
She added: “Our assessment week was tiring, stressful, but intensely rewarding. The achievement of our goal made all the hard work worth it and the assessment feedback has given us invaluable insight in how to move forward.”

Managers in ‘danger’ industries get safety accreditation as firm launches ‘near-miss’ reporting policy

Chris Boyd, Lower Compton, depot manager; Alex Henderson, company secretary; Andrea Pellegram, technical manager - waste solutions; Steve Burns, divisional director - waste solutions; Mike Webster,  group director - waste solutions and Neil Luce, transport supervisor - waste solutionsSix senior managers at Wiltshire-based Hills Group - which operates in three of the most statistically dangerous industries in the UK - have completed safety courses as part of the European Week for Safety and Health.

And the firm has introduced a near-miss strategy, where close shaves are reported along with actual accidents, helping managers to identity and eliminate risks.

The managers all completed the Managing Safely course led by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

The nationally recognised and respected certificate is designed to give managers the knowledge and tools to handle health and safety issues.

The course covers subjects such as assessing and controlling risks; identifying hazards; investigating accidents and incidents, and protecting the environment.

 “We operate in three of the most statistically dangerous industries in the UK,” said chief executive Mike Hill, “and as a result we take health and safety seriously. 

“Our good health and safety record speaks for itself and is one we are proud of, but whilst there is no room for complacency there is always room for improvement.”

The Hills Group’s operations cover waste management and recycling, quarrying and production of ready mixed concrete, and building construction including new homes.

Earlier this year the group launched its Year of Health and Safety initiative to highlight the importance of working in safe environments and reducing time off as a result of injury at work.

Focusing on the principles of strong management leadership combined with active worker participation as specified by the European Week for Safety and Health, Hills has laid out specific targets to reduce the number of reported incidents during the year.

Employees throughout the company have been issued with ‘near-miss booklets’ to capture potential health and safety issues they come across whilst at work and report, to their manager, the action taken to immediately resolve the matter.   Managers then follow up the reports with more permanent solutions. 

Mike Hill said: “I am confident that we will achieve the target set. It is widely acknowledged that for every one accident there are 10 near misses.  So improving our reporting of near misses and taking action to eliminate the risks should result in even fewer accidents.”

 

Transformer set to bring road congestion to Wiltshire roads

Bonecrusher and Optimus Prime do battle in Transformers the MovieA giant transformer will bring congestion to Wiltshire's roads this weekend, police have warned.

Disappointingly, the transformer in question is not of the 'robots in disguise' variety from the toy and movie franchise, but a a giant piece of electrical kit, which will be driven on the back of a lorry from from Avonmouth Docks near Bristol to a substation at Melksham on Sunday morning, October 27.

At 5.10m wide, 65ft long and weighing 254 tonnes, the load is one of the largest ever to be brought through Wiltshire. 

Departing Avonmouth at around 6:45am and travelling at a maximum of 12mph it is expected to take five hours to reach Leigh Delamere services on the M4.

Continuing on from there it will exit the M4 at junction 17 heading south on the A350 towards Chippenham and then onto the A4 towards Corsham. This section is expected to take around three hours to complete.

The final two hours will see the transporter turning left onto the B3109 and then follow the A365 towards Melksham before turning left onto the B3353 and right into Westlands Lane.

A police escort, provided by officers on rest days and paid for by the haulier, will be provided throughout.

A police spokesman warned: “Because of the size and slow speed of the transporter people are advised to ensure they allow plenty of time to complete any planned journeys,” and confirmed “no, it's not a robot in disguise).

Royal guest pays a visit to underground Ark

Duke of Kent visit to ArkHRH The Duke of Kent paid a visit to Ark Data Centre in Corsham last week as part of a tour of leading technology businesses in the region.

Ark – a company that designs, constructs and operates the UK’s most efficient data centres, known as The Arks – was selected as part of The Duke’s tour of the area to learn more about innovative technologies.

Ark has received widespread recognition for operating the most energy-efficient datacentres in the country, which can save clients over £1 million and 6,000 tonnes of carbon, per Mega Watt of IT load, each year.

The Spring Park datacentre campus at Corsham, one of two in Ark’s estate, is unique as it not only has 38 acres on which to build sustainable datacentres above ground, but also an underground facility which may be developed for Data Vaults in the future.

The Duke, who is the patron of the British Computer Society, was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton, and was hosted by CEO Huw Owen, and COO Steve Webb.

The Queen's cousin was led on a rare guided tour of the underground facilities and briefed on the history of the nearby mines, before taking a tour of Ark’s state of the art datacentre facilities, where he had the chance to see at close hand the latest innovations and intricate processes that ensure such high-energy efficiencies at Ark.

The Lord Lieutenant said, “As patron of the British Computer Society, his Royal Highness has a keen interest in technological developments, and he appreciated this opportunity to learn about a company which is very much at the cutting-edge of the growingdata centre industry.

He took a real interest in the key processes that take place at Ark, and found the history of the site fascinating. It was a pleasure to have His Royal Highness with us for the day.”

Huw Owen CEO of Ark, added, “It was our sincere honour to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent to Ark Data Centres and to provide him with a tour of our facilities.

His visit caps what has been an exciting year for the company, we have made great strides to advance our position, and we look to continue to expand our operations both here at Spring Park and at Cody Park in Hampshire, whilst investing in the latest innovations to ensure our clients receive only the best service possible.”

Spooky theme for charity photo shoot

Stew Taylor with his backdrop. Image courtesy of Trinity PhotographyA scary scene at a Salisbury photo studio could raise hundreds of pounds for charity this weekend.

Trinity Photography is taking part in the round-the-clock Great Big Portrait Marathon, which runs from midday on Saturday, October 27 to midday on Sunday 27.

And, because the clocks go back this weekend, the 24-marathon will become a 25-hour event.

The studio is inviting families, work colleagues and friends to wear Hallowe'en fancy dress for their portraits, to be taken before a backdrop painted by the artist Stew Taylor. 

In return for a donation to Winston's Wish, the studio will upload pictures to its Facebook page for subjects to download.

Last year's event raised £500 – a figure the studio aims to improve on this year.  

Trade marks: tastier than you think

Jessica BentHave you heard about Hybrid Baking? If you haven’t yet, you will soon: it is getting increasingly popular in the States and is no doubt on its way to the UK.

Every morning hundreds of people queue outside a New York bakery to get their hands on the infamous 'cronut'.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the cronut, it is a blend of the key components of a croissant and a donut, deep-fried and filled with cream or chocolate and it is not for the faint hearted!

The cronut is just one of the new additions to the baking world which now has the 'townie', a tartlet-brownie and a 'duffin', a donut-muffin to name a few.

With the explosion of these new culinary delights with such catchy names it was inevitable that the intellectual property lawyers among us would question whether the names are properly protected and who owns the trade marks in these new products.

In respect of the cronut, the owner of the New York bakery may not have been the first person to ever bake a cronut, but they certainly have been savvy enough to register the name as a trade mark. The only bakery to officially carry the cronut, they have created a monopoly over the name which creates exclusivity and ultimately queues of eager people willing to try one. 

The legal perspective: A trade mark grants the owner exclusive rights over the mark and prevents others from exploiting it. So to the other bakers keen to jump on the cronut band wagon, they have to think of other inventive ways of naming their creations, which are not identical or similar to cronut.

Not only does the registered trade mark act as a deterrent to others intending to use it and allows the owner to take legal action against others if they were to use the trade mark, but it also allows the owner to sell, franchise or grant people a licence that allows them to use it. This in itself can lead to a substantial source of revenue for the trade mark owner.

The hot Pho incident

Another recent case highlights how trade marks can get their owners into hot water, or more precisely into hot 'Pho'.

Pho is the name for Vietnamese noodle soup, and Pho was trade marked in the UK as a logo with the word Pho by Pho Holdings, owners of various Vietnamese eateries going by the name of Pho.

Then along came Mo Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant in London, which incurred the wrath of Pho Holdings which required Mo Pho to change its name.

As Mo Pho supporters took to twitter and sided with Mo Pho, expressing disbelief that anyone could trade mark Pho, Pho Holdings backed down and said it was a mistake.

The legal perspective: The case underlines that businesses should always think long and hard about any possible PR or social media backlash they may face by getting their lawyers to write strongly-worded letters.

It also highlights the risk for businesses of applying for trade marks which are known names in other countries.

Although Pho would have been a valid trade mark when applied for eight years ago, as at that time it would not have been a generic name, it has probably become generic now through the increasing interest in Vietnamese food.

Additionally if a business chooses not to enforce its trade mark – as Pho Holdings has chosen given the PR backlash – this is likely to seriously undermine the trade mark as it does pave the way for other traders to use it.

The lesson has to be to choose your trade marks wisely and if there is any risk that your trade mark is generic, a softer approach to the other business might be the best option.

  • Jessica Bent is an intellectual property lawyer at Withy King solicitors. For issues over brands and trade marks, contact Jessica on 01225 730100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out why Marlborough is the UK's second best town for downsizing

Edward Hall Smiths GoreMarlborough has been named by The Telegraph newspaper as the second best town in the country for downsizing.

The town was pipped to the post by Berwick-on-Tweed, but saw off competition from Bicester, Whitby, the Isle of Wight and West Malling in Kent. 

Writing about Marlborough, Max Davidson said: “In this ancient market town, prices are quite steep compared with less-fashionable parts of Wiltshire.

“They are about £100,000 above the national average, but still low enough to attract downsizers.”

And the feature, in Saturday's Telegraph, quotes estate agent Edward Hall, who says: “Marlborough is a real haven for the cultured, with something for everyone.”

Mr Hall, of Smiths Gore, will be leading a seminar on downsizing at his 42 High Street premises tomorrow (Thursday) from 5pm to 7pm.

Research shows that one in five over 55s aim to downsize over the next five years.

Mr Hall said: “There are a variety of reasons, including health, money and lifestyle.

“Downsizing does not mean downgrading, and it can be a liberating experience for those who choose to do so.

“Nor does it necessarily mean looking at retirement housing, although that is one option.”

The seminar will look at examples of modern retirement options, and relocation services that make the move easier.

For more information call Smiths Gore on 01672 529056 or email Shona Ford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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