Three local manufacturing SMEs invest in the first year of Made Smarter to adopt new technologies

Date published: 11 January 2020


Three local manufacturers are among 13 Greater Manchester businesses to have invested £1M to adopt new technologies, supported by almost £300k of funding, in the first year of the Made Smarter programme.

The Made Smarter North West pilot is working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth.

This support for local manufacturing SMEs includes expert impartial advice and one-to-one support, digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, eight-month leadership and management training programmes offered in partnership with Lancaster University, as well as funded three-month student placements.

The latest Rochdale borough SMEs to secure funding are MSM Aerospace Fabricators, a leading SME manufacturer specialising in complex forming and welding of high temperature metals; Heatsense Cables, one of the UK’s leading specialist thermocouple manufacturers; and Techtex, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of healthcare and industrial fabrics.

Previous businesses to have secured funding includes Pakeeza Dairies.

 

Jeremy Kemsley-Pein of Heatsense Cables
Jeremy Kemsley-Pein of Heatsense Cables

 

SME applicants are developing projects involving the adoption of a range of industrial digital technologies, including Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D-printing and robotics to solve business challenges across a range of manufacturing functions.

By adopting these cutting-edge technologies, these businesses benefit from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, providing new skills to workforces, enhanced integration with supply chains and reduced environmental impact.

Donna Edwards, Programme Director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, said: “Over the last year the Made Smarter team has engaged with hundreds of makers from every corner of the region.

“We have found a great enthusiasm about the benefits of adopting new digital technology tempered by uncertainty of how to go about it.

“It’s clear that the SMEs need the specialist advice and insight to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits.

“This is exactly how Made Smarter can and is helping businesses across the region. 

“Made Smarter is relevant for any North West SMEs employing less than 250 staff who make, create, manufacture or engineer. The interest we have received in the first year has been incredible.

“I urge local businesses to get in touch and find out how digital technology can transform their business.”

The £20M pilot programme was launched in November 2018, becoming operational in January 2019, and runs until March 2021.

The pilot will inform how best to support SME manufacturers in the adoption of new industrial digital technologies.

During its first 12 months, a series of successful events in Greater Manchester have allowed Made Smarter’s team of expert advisers to connect with businesses operating in a wide range of sectors including engineering, aerospace, food and beverage, agriculture, steel, chemicals and textiles.

The North West pilot is being overseen by the Made Smarter Commission – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and industry leaders.

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