Businesses Made Smarter through support for technology investment

THREE Tameside manufacturers have secured support from Made Smarter, the movement helping Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Visual Architects, based in Hyde, is among the latest wave of manufacturers to secure funding for projects aimed at introducing digital tools and technologies to boost productivity and growth, and navigate the impact of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Fabricon Design (Ashton) and Manchester Manufacturing Group (Denton), which have both experienced the benefits of Made Smarter support, are taking the next step in their digitalisation journeys.

Fabricon Design

Lefteris Angelidis, managing director at Visual Architects, a designer and manufacturer of event interiors, said: “Made Smarter has been rocket fuel for our company. With the programme’s support we have not only analysed where we are now but looked well into the future and mapped out a real solid direction.

“The support of the staff has been incredible from advancing us to presenting us with a lot of really helpful information. Besides the support Made Smarter has enabled us to invest into robotics, new machinery and a digital technology intern to assist us in advancing our company to the next level.
“Made smarter has been one of the most valuable assets a company could ask for.”

Since it was launched two years ago, the Made Smarter North West technology adoption pilot has engaged with 350 businesses in Greater Manchester.

Of those, 148 manufacturers have received intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, a leadership programme, and funded digital technology internships.

Thirty-four businesses have secured £841,000 matched funding for 44 projects which are worth £3million after private sector investment.

The technology adoption projects are forecast to deliver an additional £32m in gross value added (GVA) for the Greater Manchester economy over the next three years, create 191 new jobs, and upskilling 455 existing roles.

Some manufacturers are developing projects using technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes.

Othersare using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

Donna Edwards. programme director Made Smarter NW adoption pilot

More than 80 per cent of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, and more than 25 per cent reduced their carbon emissions.

Businesses will also benefit from increased revenue, profits and exports, and lower energy bills.

Donna Edwards, North West pilot programme director at Made Smarter, said: “Over the last two years the pilot has proven the value technology can bring to the manufacturing sector.

“We have helped hundreds of North West makers start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.

“We have seen huge success with Made Smarter-supported businesses reporting growth, productivity and efficiency gains, job creation and high-value jobs. We’re also playing a crucial role in helping the UK reach its ambitious aim of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

“Reaching 155 funded projects which will support 126 businesses to create over 750 new jobs and upskill almost 1,600 existing roles is a tremendous achievement.

“We are determined to continue reaching out to the region’s SME manufacturers to connect them to the tools that will make an everyday difference to their businesses. I would encourage manufacturers to contact Made Smarter to ensure they don’t miss out.”

• Made Smarter is the UK national industrial digitalisation movement to drive productivity and growth of manufacturing industries and put the UK at the forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Backed by world-renowned businesses and working in partnership with the Government, Made Smarter will make a real, everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor.

Made Smarter was formed following a nationwide review into UK manufacturing that recommended key changes: more ambitious leadership, greater innovation in developing new technologies, faster implementation and adoption of these technologies and deeper understanding of the sector’s skills requirements.

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