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Market Diversification

Servo Steel

Birmingham City University initially undertook a partnership with the Dudley-based company Servosteel, the UK’s leading steel toll processing company.

In 2007, the company invested over 20% of its turnover in new processing equipment to allow it to offer exclusively patented SCS (Smooth, Clean Surface) technology in the UK. SCS is a mechanical brushing technology that enhances the value of steel by delivering a smooth, clean surface in an environmentally-friendly way.

When the Black Country manufacturer invested in SCS as a revolutionary new line for processing steel coils, Birmingham City Business School proposed a bespoke Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which was available at the time to help the company with its marketing strategy.

This KTP was a one-year collaboration between a graduate, Birmingham City Business School and the company that identified new markets and drew on the collective knowledge and expertise to resolve a business problem.

Christian Korn, MD of Servo Steel was keen to focus on generating awareness and new business for SCS and specifically wanted to:

  • gain direct access to end users of steel strip encouraging them to specify the SCS material.
  • encourage stockholders and resellers to sell SCS actively to their customers.
  • establish the SCS service as a brand that has a positive profile which would lead to greater awareness.

Sanjin Hamza – a Birmingham City Business School graduate of Marketing, Advertising and PR – was recruited as KTP Associate and impressed Christian Korn immediately, with his work ethos and ability to learn very quickly about a very technical engineering subject. Working alongside the board and senior management team Sanjin was responsible for identifying new opportunities for SCS.

The Client

Essar SteelServo Steel has always had a very strong reputation in the UK steel market. To maintain and grow the business, Servo Steel needed to make the SCS line a success. The challenge lay in the sales and marketing of the new line: how to create demand from market sectors with which Servo Steel had knowledge, but no direct contact.

The KTP enabled us to reach the key decision-makers within our target market. I would highly recommend it as a way of adding academic philosophy to dealing with the day-to-day marketing problems faced by manufacturing and service industries.

Christian Korn, Managing Director, Servo Steel


  • The KTP project has been so successful that Servo Steel has now embarked on a longer two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Birmingham City Business School.
  • The Associate successfully identified appropriate target customer segments and developed communication strategies to realise the potential of SCS.
  • To date, the business has seen an increase in awareness and interest in the product and a number of potential business partners have been identified.