Strategic Partnerships: Business Engagement Boost

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On January 20, 2022 by Josh Arrowsmith
Explore more: Experiences & Industry Insights | Case Studies | Testimonials

Forging Strategic Partnerships: How we are are benefiting

It has long been a fundamental belief of the management team that creating opportunities for gathering insights, welcoming new ways of thinking and listening to critical friends is hugely beneficial to our business. Ensuring that we continue to develop as a business benefits our customers and our staff by protecting our future and creating new possibilities.

When you are ‘inside’ a business, it is sometimes hard to be objective and to see changes as the positive opportunity they really are. Building relationships with external strategic partners, and being open enough to listen to their findings, is a key driver of Finishing Line’s long success.

Our strategic Knowledge Transfer Partnership with The University of Essex, has enabled us to keep pace with evolving management theories and mythologies, ensuring that we continue to progress, as well as to gain valuable insights resulting from academic study.

Through the Business Collaboration Fund, a team of researchers from the university undertook in-depth market research into the current eCommerce Fulfilment landscape with the intention of identifying market opportunities for Finishing Line to investigate. The researcher team used social science tools to undertake customer profiling, competitor analysis and approaches to change management.

The research project was overseen by Finishing Line’s Strategy Associate, Joshua Arrowsmith, and occurred in August 2021.

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1. Data Collection

Once the landscape of the sector had been understood, there were three key areas of investigation

  • How warehouse capacity can be increased
  • What type of training would futureproof the workforce
  • How to gain the ongoing commitment of staff

Dr. Shabneez Bhankaraully, Assistant Professor of Management at The Essex Business School, University of Essex commented, “We were tasked with making recommendations on how to improve profitability, whilst at the same time bringing forward strategies to support a committed and healthy workforce in achieving sustainable development. Projects like this enable us as academics to see how we can play an active role in generating value-added solutions to companies, which in turn is contributing to the development of the local economy and the UK economy in the long run.”

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2. Growth Mindsets

Despite leading a business with a 35-year heritage, Andy Mead, Finishing Line’s Managing Director, continues to seek out the opportunities for development. This type of growth mindset is, he believes, is critical to ensuring that their customers get best value from Finishing Line, enabling customers to take fullest advantages of changes in changing shopping behaviour resulting from the pandemic, for example, or to respond appropriately to sustainability measures.

It also provides opportunities for the students and academics to gain real world, commercial experience and apply their theoretical knowledge. Relationships with businesses create the opportunities for academics to get published in quality journals and generate high impact case studies, so it is a partnership with benefits for both sides.

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GAP Analysis & Development usually involves conducting a company assessment.

3. Strategic Decision Making

Alongside the research project, Finishing Line has another relationship with the University of Essex, through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which embedded a Management M.Sc graduate within the business. Josh Arrowsmith joined the company as Strategy & Change Management Associate with a specific intention to bring innovation to our established business.


Most visible changes from the outside have included a company rebrand, the launch of our new website, to ensure our digital footprint matched our internal dynamism, which has resulted in entry into new markets leading to new business. There have also been many other changes throughout the business as a result of Josh’s contribution.


Andy Mead comments, “Too often in business, leaders feel that it is their role to lead and not to listen. We have a long history of listening, to our customers, our staff and to external partners. All with the intention of using that knowledge to improve the business so that we can be here for many more years to come.”

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Overall, the project had a significant positive impact on the business, enabling Finishing Line to further strengthen its position within the eCommerce Fulfilment marketplace, by refining the customer segment that the business targeted. Collaboration is in many ways the key to success, and due to our experiences, this case study really does cement what we have achieved in partnering up.

Finishing Line is always on the lookout to further enhance and add to current strategic partnerships, and believes that through collaboration, you can achieve great feats of innovation. Should you have any propositions to collaborate with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we can provide ecommerce fulfilment, returns management, contract packing and warehouse management.

Please get in touch with us, send a live chat message, or call +44 (0)1268 498 950

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Josh Arrowsmith

Head of Commercial & Innovation

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