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Success & Your Customers

Date: 23rd February 2017
Location: Wigan
Time: 8:00am - 11:30am
Theme: Business Strategy, Open new markets & Export, Start a business

Sorry this event has already taken place - please see our forthcoming events list

This is the second in a series of masterclasses completely focused on supporting textile manufacturing businesses to grow their businesses.  The session will be led by reputable textile manufactures sharing their experiences – good and bad. You will have the opportunity to gain insight around how those manufactures have navigated through their own growth journey and lessons learned. 

This second session will look at best practice in better understanding and responding to your customers and the market, and the tools needed for innovation and bringing new products to market. 

John Wakefield, UK Sales Director and Kate Burnett, Strategic Marketing Director from Milliken Industrials Ltd, will share their company’s experience of putting themselves in their customers shoes and developing stronger relationships with their customers

Peter McGuinness, MD of DRM Industrial Fabrics Ltd, will explain his approach to innovation, moving from initial idea to implementation and translating his customers’ needs into new products

Keble Chuck, Director of Mactapes will share a costing model, an essential step in developing your products and responding to the needs of the market post Brexit

Expect lots of conversation between the attendees and the speakers.

The masterclass will be hosted by Jeremy Graham, HR Director of Milliken and the masterclass will be followed by an optional tour of the Miliken Factory 

What will attendees learn / take away from the session?

Knowledge and ideas that will help:-

  •   Tackle problems that are holding back the growth of your business
  •   Better understand your customers
  •   Translate customer and market needs into new innovation and costed new products

 There will also be the opportunity for Business to business networking.

Bio of Deliverer

Peter is the Managing Director of DRM Industrial Fabrics. The company specialises in the design of bespoke textile items for specific applications. With more than 40 successful years in the filtration sector their customers range from large multi-nationals and global corporations to small specialist companies and SMEs. Peter has also set up two new companies and bought three others to establish the DRM group.

Peter leads an extremely innovative business which serves a number of textiles and engineering niches. He is an enduring supporter of skills work at Lancaster University, and is extremely well-placed to advise on innovation and skills and as a progressive entrepreneur his experience will be invaluable to masterclass participants. 

Manager, Milliken Floor Covering EMEAI.

Kate graduated in Textile Technology & Management at UMIST Manchester and has worked for Milliken for the past 20 years, based within the European floor covering business, holding a variety of roles, within manufacturing, development and marketing.

Initially working within the manufacturing environment as Process Improvement Engineer, Kate then managing the “Milliken Performance System” This TPM based approach for improved quality and productivity culminated in the Milliken Beech Hill site being awarded the prestigious JIPM award in 2000.

Kate has over 10 years working as product Development Manager included over-seeing the introduction Milliken’s innovative recycled cushion backing, and embedding sustainability criteria within the design and development process.  Understanding customer needs and market trends has been a key part of transforming Milliken’s floor covering portfolio, and the resulting growth within the EMEAI Office flooring Market Sector.

More recently as Strategic Marketing Manager, Kate’s role involves identifying new market opportunities, unmet needs, and alignment with Milliken capabilities to determine “where to play and how to win”

Milliken Industries Sales Director, John Wakefield, UK Sales Director 

Following a diverse career background in electrical engineering and ceramic manufacturing, I joined Milliken floorcovering business in 1989 as Midland regional sales manager.

Over the years at Milliken I’ve held a variety of sales, business and market management roles, including the development of many new market sectors such as Retail, Hospitality, Leisure, Education and Public Sector.

My present role includes the leadership of UK sales team, developing business predominantly within the commercial private office market and driven through specification sales of architectural, interior design, fit-out and corporate end users.

Product development & supply chain service linked to voice of the customer has been a critical part of the consistent growth of the UK market, which is highly competitive with multiple major UK, Continental and North American floor covering manufacturers.

Currently the role includes developing new ways of accessing markets, in order to drive business through new channels, without effecting established routes to market and existing customer relationships.  

Born and bred in Burton upon Trent, I love to travelling, meeting people and experiencing new cultures.  

MacTapes Ltd:  Keble Chuck

Keble is the Managing Director of Mactapes Ltd, a narrow fabric weaving company based in Stalybridge.

Keble has taken the business forward with focus on innovation and investment in high level technology and modern equipment and machinery.  In addition to investment in new technology, the company has developing or adapted standard machinery for the manufacture of specialist products, and so increasing their client base, production capacity and product range.

The growth of this small dynamic company has been slow and steady, as they develop new products, costing models and new markets whilst maintaining their current client base, earning the business a well-deserved reputation as a reliable, innovative, good value, high quality supplier.



8am – 8.30am


Refreshments, opportunity to network and view information stands


8.30am- 8.40am

Welcome from host company – Jeremy Graham, HR Director, Miliken Industrials Ltd

Introductions, setting the scene for the masterclass and the optional site visit


8.40am – 9.10am

John Wakefield, UK Sales Director and Kate Burnett, Strategic Marketing Director from Milliken Industrials Ltd

Leading by example; leading change; effective communication; motivation; more leadership, less management


9.10am – 9.40am

Peter McGuinness, MD of DRM Industrial Fabrics Ltd

Are you set up for innovation? – making it a priority; translating your customer and supplier needs into new product ideas; moving from a new idea to implementation

9.40am – 9.50am

Short break



Keble Chuck, Director of Mactapes Ltd

Costing models plus Brexit example


10.20am – 10.30am

Jeremy Graham, HR Director, Milliken Industrials Ltd

Closing remarks, feedback on masterclass


10.30am – 11.30am

Further networking/guided tour of Milliken Industrials Ltd factory


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