Research on tap

Date of publication: September 1, 1994


This paper discussed the relationship between a research buyer, Yorkshire Water, and a research provider, Robertson Bell Associates (RBA) Limited. It explores how this relationship has developed over time, and at how a flexible approach has been adopted, particularly beneficial in times of economic frost. The first part of the paper looks at the economic pressures that face the UK water industry, monopoly suppliers who are not associated, generally, with the concept of competitive pressure. A background picture of Yorkshire Water, and of how the research function within the organisation has developed, is provided. The agent-client relationship is introduced in Part One of the paper, but is explored in much greater detail in Part Two. This section also looks at the changing needs of the client, and at how the flexible response from the agent has developed. It details the research that has been carried out, explores the range of techniques employed, and looks at some of the results to date. The final part of the paper explores the benefits to the client of the flexible approach. It discusses how research is managed within the organisation in a way that minimises cost and maximises customers benefit.

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