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DriveWorks Double Queen’s Award: Two Years On

Two Years On

This month marks two years since we received our double Queen’s Awards.

The awards are tangible recognition of our team’s hard work and commitment. We’re still just as proud today to be Queen’s Award holders as we were when we first received them two years ago.

This time two years ago, four members of the DriveWorks team had been to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Awards winners reception. Whilst there, they met and spoke with HRH Prince Charles.

We then hosted a Digital Technology and Automation open day, where we were presented with our Queen’s Awards for Innovation and International Trade.

We couldn’t have predicted the events that would unfold following receiving our Queen’s Awards but our commitments to innovation and international traderecognised by our Queen’s Awards, have helped us to remain strong and efficient throughout the pandemic.

Let’s take a look back at what’s happened in the past two years.

Our Double Queen’s Award Presentation and Technology Open Day

On Friday 6th September 2019, we held our Queen’s Award Presentation and Digital Technology & Automation Open Day at our corporate headquarters in Thelwall, Warrington.

Proudly flying the Queen’s Award flag, we welcomed 135 guests to join us.

We gathered in the courtyard in front of the Barley Store, as the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs M.B.E. presented the two awards and Royal Grant of Appointments to our company founders, DriveWorks CEO Glen Smith and Vice President, Maria Sarkar, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

The Queen’s Awards are the highest award available to UK businesses, recognising outstanding achievement.

In 2019 more than 200 businesses, including 151 small and medium enterprises, were awarded Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

Only 6 companies received a Double Queen’s Award, and we were extremely proud to be one of them!

David Briggs M.B.E described the awards as “a truly great achievement and a testament to the hard work and commitment from the entire DriveWorks team”.

Amongst the guests joining us to celebrate our achievements were Cllr Wendy Johnson, Mayor of Warrington, Faisal Rashid, Local MP for Warrington South, members of the Warrington Business Exchange, DriveWorks customers, resellers, friends, family and many other members of the local community.

We set up technology demonstrations to showcase our award-winning software and give guests the opportunity to see the software in action.

There were live configurators, videos, 3D printers and virtual reality to explore.

Adapting to Changes

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, there was a lot of uncertainty for many businesses. Companies struggled to adjust and employees were furloughed or let go.

For us, we were very grateful for our previous investments in technology, and our ongoing commitment to digital transformation. Our team were well set up for working remotely and we were able to transition to fully working from home overnight.

Whilst it was an unusual time, we embraced it as an opportunity to improve, create and innovate.

We’ve hosted more digital events and created more online resources and have continued to invest in the best technology that allows us to deliver great content and engaging presentations.

Our training room has now been turned into the DriveWorks ‘‘Digital Suite’. With a green screen, teleprompters, cameras and microphones we have lots of capability for recording professional and engaging content to share with DriveWorks users!

We are now glad to be back in the office mostly full time, collaborating with our team in person again, hosting training sessions and making the most of our offices.

Continuously Innovating

We are really proud to have been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Innovation. Innovation is at our core and we’re constantly investing, researching, developing and moving forward.

Following receiving the awards, we’ve released two major software releases and accompanying service packs.

In February, we celebrated 20 Years of Innovation and Automation.

Over the past 2 decades, technology has changed considerably, something that we’ve embraced and adapted to with our own technology.

In this time, we’re proud to have delivered 19 major software releases with multiple service packs.

In March, we announced that another Queen’s Award-winning company, BGF, invested £4 million into DriveWorks.

BGF is an established, independent investment company that has backed almost 400 businesses in the UK since 2011.

The funding from BGF provides us with more opportunities to scale, invest in our international markets, and of course develop our technology further.

Continuing with innovation, we’ve launched a new MyDriveWorks Community with useful online resources and forums for DriveWorks users to connect, discuss the software and help each other.

As part of the new community, we also launched the brand new DriveWorks Learning Portal – packed with self-guided online technical learning courses on a huge variety of DriveWorks topics.

Exporting to More Countries

The Queen’s Awards are highly respected in many countries. Being recognised with the awards strengthened our position in those countries. Since receiving the awards, we’ve added new resellers from around the world, some of them in new countries and markets for us.

As a Queen’s Award for International Trade recipient, our CEO and VP were invited to the Institute of Export & International Trade Gala Dinner before the pandemic. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet Queen’s Awards winners and network with other UK business leaders. We have also joined the Institute of Export & International Trade to stay connected with other exporters.

Maria Sarkar, VP of DriveWorks has since been appointed Northern Powerhouse Export Champion. This programme focuses on raising awareness of the benefits of exporting, communicating where to go for support, and inspiring more companies to start trading internationally (or to expand their current reach).

We’re also continuing with our commitment to helping more companies to expand their reach with DriveWorks software. Creating an online product configurator with DriveWorks enables companies to use the power of digital to sell to anyone, anywhere, online 24/7.

Our strong international channel helped us to survive the pandemic.  Like most companies, sales slowed down for us but we are fortunate not to rely on one economy.

Manufacturers all over the world began to realise, more than ever, the importance of digital transformation and are looking to invest in technology like DriveWorks to improve their processes and work smarter.

Manufacturers have been looking to invest in a configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution to help them meet the increasing demand for custom products, faster and with greater accuracy, to gain a competitive edge.

CPQ solutions are built on rules, workflow, user interface, and typically need to integrate with other company systems. These are the core technologies and capabilities that have underpinned DriveWorks since it was first introduced to design-to-order and engineer-to-order companies using SOLIDWORKS 3D design software in 2001.

DriveWorks CPQ for Manufacturing enables manufacturers to build and manage their own custom configure, price, quote solution.

Working as a Team

We’re a close-knit team and often get together to share knowledge and engage in fun activities.

We’ve continued to add to our knowledge in many ways, learning together and sharing knowledge. Many of our team have completed courses and received new certifications, including in SOLIDWORKS and the 3D Experience Platform.

Since receiving the Queen’s Awards our team has continued to grow. We’ve welcomed new placement students and 9 full-time employees, as well as welcoming back previous placement students in new graduate scheme roles.

Following investment from BGF, we welcomed Sharon Baylay as our Non-Executive Chair. With so many opportunities ahead of us, Sharon’s experience will also help us to manage our relationship with BGF and target our investment into the right areas of our business and markets to accelerate growth and exceed customer expectations.

We recently welcomed Pauline Reeves as our Financial Director. Pauline brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience and we’ll be sharing more about her and her background on our blog soon.

Supporting Communities

We’re lucky to be involved in many great communities and we’re committed to supporting them in any way we can.

We’re proud sponsors of SOLIDWORKS User Groups (SWUG). We attend and support user group meetings. We host our own annual award for DriveWorks SWUG leader of the year and we’ve received awards from the community too – we were awarded SWUGN Partner of the Year Award two years running. Last month we were proud to be part of the 6th edition of the annual SLUGME event. An event that ran over 24 hours!

Recently we have been catching up with different people from all corners of the SOLIDWORKS Community. It’s been great to learn more about the different career paths that have led members of the community to be such a key part of the network.

One of the main reasons we support communities is to build a strong future for STEM.

FIRST® is a not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. First Robotics competition teams have had access to DriveWorksXpress for many years and we’ve supported them with free learning resources. However, last year, we added to our sponsorship and now offer free licenses of DriveWorks Solo, alongside online training and learning resources to help them take automation even further and focus on quality robot design.

In 2020, we released a brand new DriveWorks Solo Certification, so SWUG members, FIRST Robotics teams, and any other SOLIDWORKS users and students can add an extra certification to their CV. It’s available online so SOLIDWORKS users can get certified from anywhere, at any time.

Closer to home, we’ve been heavily involved in our local Cheshire & Warrington Pledge, supporting education. We’ve hosted two Digital Work Experience Days, inviting local students to spend a day with us and learn about future career opportunities.

We’ve also been involved in virtual events, to keep students engaged and motivated, and helping them to make the most of their time. Our team hosted a Girls in Digital event, where we spent time with students to teach them about the variety of careers in digital.

We’re pleased to have been able to continue supporting these communities virtually over the last 18 months.

Virtual Events

Over the past year or two, we’ve attended and hosted more virtual events than ever before. We’ve learnt a lot about the best ways to connect online, and we’ve had more opportunities to get together without needing to travel.

In 2020 and 2021 we made our own annual event DriveWorks World, fully virtual. This year we were joined by over 450 DriveWorks customers, resellers and partners from 39 different countries to talk and learn about all things DriveWorks.

As a new way of connecting DriveWorks users from around the world, we introduced DriveWorks Drivers. These quarterly meetings are an opportunity for us to invite guest speakers to share experiences and encourage questions and dialogue about the technology. We have just held our fourth meeting of DriveWorks Drivers!

We have also launched Let’s Chat About – a brand new weekly technical discussion session to help attendees learn more about DriveWorks, improve technical knowledge and get the most from the software.

Virtual DriveWorks World and DriveWorks Drivers have enabled us all to make the most of technology to connect more.

We’ve had the opportunity to get involved in many other virtual events, staying connected with the community and providing more opportunities to learn.

We’re looking forward to attending and presenting at our reseller SOLIDWORKS 2022 launch events over the coming months! Look out for more details on our events page.

There’s More to Come

A lot has happened in the two years since we received our awards and it doesn’t stop there. 2021 marks 20 years of continuous innovation and automation for DriveWorks and innovation will always be at our core.

We have a strong track record of adding to our design automation and configurator capabilities year after year, by listening to customers and anticipating market needs. We have continuously invested in our team and worked with the wider DriveWorks Community to contribute to a strong future for STEM.

Our recent investment from BGF marks the start of the next phase of our strategic plan and provides us with more opportunities to scale, invest in our international markets, and of course develop our technology further.