A report ranking 50 of the Midlands’ most innovative businesses has been published today by Midlands law firm Mills & Reeve as part of its biennial “Innovation 50” – a campaign that celebrates the region’s R&D royalty, industry groundbreakers and rising stars.
The report, compiled by Mills & Reeve, highlights innovative success stories from across the region and features 50 businesses across five categories: Business intelligence and performance; Communication; Development and Inclusivity; Healthier, Safer Lives and Place and Environment.
RSS Infrastructure Ltd and INFRA Skills Ltd are proudly featured on the list alongside other Midlands based businesses, the companies were among a small minority of infrastructure and training companies that made the cut, due to their innovation and approach to improving safety procedures in one of the most safety conscious sectors in the UK.
RSS Infrastructure’s innovative safety products and procedures have helped them become a multi-award winning business in recent years. In the submission, the company highlighted their industry first safety procedures like the Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS), a dash mounted warning device that alerts drivers of fatigue with its revolutionary retina-based scanning system. The company’s fatigue monitoring commences during the rostering process where the in-house CRM is used to calculate the travel time to and from site, shift duration and work type. This ensures each rostered team member is matched geographically to the location of the works and has the right skillset for the task required.
The company has also developed an interactive HSQE Induction which aims to deliver a clear and consistent message whilst providing an extensive overview of how to develop and ensure safe working practices. Through a series of learner driven exercises, which covers a variety of safety orientated topics including, but not limited to; Health, Safety and Environment, Legal Responsibility, Moral Obligations, Policies, First Aid, Fire Safety, Drugs & Alcohol, Medication, Risk Management, Management of Fatigue, Working Hours, Management of Competence, Work Safe Procedure and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
INFRA Skills, the sister company to RSS Infrastructure, also submitted their approach to infrastructure innovation with evidence of their ‘INFRA Card’ system, a QR based cloud database that enables employees to examine the workers competencies, reducing plastic waste and the ability to forge credentials. The company also produced evidence of their ‘Journey into Rail’ programme, which was implemented to be delivered on a ‘roll-on, roll off’ basis and presented over a four-week period. The programme encompasses a wide range of different learning techniques including e-learning, tutor led delivery from the Head Office, based in Birmingham. The fully funded course provides learners with comprehensive training, additionally, all participants are provided with; Network Rail approved D&A and Medical assessment (mandatory prior to enrolling on the course), Full Rail approved PPE (helmet, gloves, goggles, safety boots, Hi-Vis over trousers, Hi-Vis all-weather jacket, Hi-Vis vest), All Learning Materials, Sentinel Card and Non-Sentinel Competency Certificates/Cards.
Following successful completion of the course learners are given a guaranteed interview with RSS Infrastructure. Furthermore, to provide learners with an opportunity to put their theory in practice, the company has a dedicated training facility based at Seven Valley Heritage Railway in Bewdley as well as utilising existing track infrastructure within the Birmingham area, thus providing trainees with a safe environment from which to learn new skills and ensure that they are ‘work-ready’. The agreement that is in place also helps to ensure that 16-mile heritage site is maintained and can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.
The success of the above initiative has meant that over 180 people have completed the course and are no longer reliant on benefits and are also helping to bolster the rail sector and ensure projects are delivered on time.
Upon reviewing each company’s submission, a select group of business leaders from across the East and West Midlands were part of the expert panel that selected the final 50 from this year’s applications, which this year saw a 10% increase in entries compared to the inaugural campaign in 2017. The panel judged entrants on both their originality and impact, with the 50 highest-scoring businesses securing their place in the report.
Steve Allen, Head of the Birmingham office at Mills & Reeve, said:
“Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Mills & Reeve. From pushing boundaries in our own products and services – earning us a place in the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Top 50 and wins at the Legal Week Innovation Awards – to celebrating those that are making waves in their markets, we’re on a mission to encourage and recognise forward-thinking business activity that solves problems.
We launched the Innovation 50 in 2017 to celebrate Midlands businesses at their most enterprising, confident and creative. Two years on, and the buzz around the region has only grown – with the quality of 2019 entries showing that we more than live up to our national reputation. From social enterprise to telecoms and business support to agritech, the 2019 Innovation 50 is leading the way with fresh ideas and standout execution. We’re proud to launch the latest report, and look forward to seeing the journeys that these businesses take in the coming years.”
Richard Toy, CEO also commented:
“We are delighted to be featured in the report, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of innovative projects that change the approach the infrastructure sector faces. The procedures our in-house team work on help not just our company, but our clients and partners too. We aim to increase safety, productivity and inclusivity, and decrease environmental and traditional problems that the infrastructure sector has been known to have.
We are proud members of the Midland Metro Alliance, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and have numerous partnerships with Birmingham based universities and businesses, we made our start in Birmingham over 10 years ago with many of our Directors, Department Heads and workforce being based in the Midlands, so we pride ourselves on our name being synonymous with the areas growth.”
The 2019 Innovation 50 applicants were judged by an expert panel including:
- Paul Bassi CBE, CEO REI PLC
- Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair, Performances Birmingham
- Victoria Copestake, Business Development Manager, Enterprise Loans
- Andrew Dawson, Director and Co-Founder, Curium Solutions
- Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
- James Fry, Partner and Head of Life Sciences, Mills & Reeve
- Susan Hallam MBE, Founder and CEO, Hallam Internet
- Mark Hipwell, Pre-Construction Manager, HS2, and GBCC Future Faces President
- Kath Preston, Enterprise Consultant, Aston University
- David Varnham, Parker, Banking and Finance, Mills & Reeve
- Keith Webb, Deputy Regional Manager, Corporate Banking – Midlands Region, HSBC UK
- Tracy Westall, Executive Chair, Curium Solutions
To view the full 2019 Innovation 50, visit: https://www.innovationfifty.com/ and to follow and share the campaign on social media @innovation_50 #MRInno50