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Offshore Wind Future Development (Supply Chain) Programme: interim evaluation


Scottish Enterprise (SE) has established a Supply Chain Development Programme to exploit the opportunities for Scottish businesses to supply the Offshore Wind (OSW) sector. Initially piloted from September 2009, this has developed through interim to the current operational Supply Chain Development Programme. The objectives of the programmes have been to help companies to take a strategic approach to diversification into the OSW market and develop new products and processes in order to secure business. Specifically, the current programme aims to deliver: supply chain intelligence to 1,500 Scottish companies, raising awareness of OSW opportunities; a two day OSW Expert Support Programme (ESP) delivered to at least 100 companies per full year with follow-up support provided to at least 20 companies; manufacturing audits for at least 20 companies per full year; and referrals into Growth Pipeline/Account Management each year. The evaluation aimed to assess: the scale and nature of activities and outputs; outcomes - value to companies and general opportunity awareness raising; effectiveness and value of individual strands of the programme (principally events and expert support); overall coherence of the programme and its linkages to other company and sector development initiatives; project management and delivery; and the programme’s contribution to the equalities and equities agenda. It also aimed to identify learning points and make recommendations for improvement.


The methodology consisted of a desk review of relevant documents; an analysis of management information on participant organisations; interviews with stakeholders; interviews with contractors delivering the ESP; and an e-survey of participants of the workshops/events.


The evaluation found that the programme is well designed and well suited to meet its objectives. The event programme was found to be well received and successful in attracting large numbers of attendees. It has also been geographically well spread and has positive feedback from delegates. Participants’ main reasons for attending events were to: increase their general awareness of the sector; understand business opportunities; and make contacts with buyers. In all aspects the e-survey respondent companies saw the events as useful but were not as good in clarifying their next steps for OSW. For most companies who participated, the ESP was also found to have been well received and seen as helpful; however, the scale of delivery of ESP and follow on support was low as a result of reliance on largely reactive referrals and limited active involvement to stimulate follow-on action. Evidence from the company survey showed that 59% of the companies at the workshops did not know of the existence of the ESP. This is considered the main challenge for the next stage of the programme. Most aspects of the support were seen as ‘OK’ to ‘useful’, although the sample numbers were too small to draw robust conclusions. In terms of fit with other SE supports, there is a clear strategic fit between the programme and other supply chain and OSW development activities. There is however limited linkage on an operational basis, with few referrals between programmes of support or progression into other stages of business development. The stakeholders have identified areas for further improvement.


The report recommends that the programme continues broadly as currently structured. However, a number of recommendations to improve the programme’s effectiveness were made, including: there should be a repositioning of the programme on OSW supply opportunities from throughout the world, not just in Scotland; the target audience for the overall programme should be formally confirmed as all companies with the potential to supply OSW; future events should be available through webcasts and continue to be delivered in a range of locations; a brief sales and marketing plan to promote the event programme is required; a sales plan for ESP should be developed and implemented as a matter of urgency; there is an urgent need to ensure greater action resulting from the ESP projects; monitoring of the programme should be strengthened; and ESP contractors should be reviewed to ensure there is appropriate capability to support wave and tidal renewables projects.

Author Bellerby Economics Consortium
Published Year 2013
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses