Rochdale manufacturer secures Made Smarter support for technology investment

Date published: 22 December 2020

A Rochdale manufacturer has secured support from Made Smarter, the movement helping SMEs join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Crystal Doors, a manufacturer of bespoke vinyl wrapped furniture components, is taking its first steps with the technology adoption pilot aimed at introducing digital tools and technologies to boost productivity and growth, and navigate the impact of Covid-19.

Ben Horn, Digital Transformation Programme Manager at Crystal Doors, said: "Made Smarter has been supporting us in launching our Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Platform project. From the first meeting, their insight and advice have been invaluable in refining the project to become as focused and impactful as it is today. 

“Very soon, we will be taking the project live, transforming our customer experience and taking our manufacturing data management to the next level. The insights on our operations which we expect to get as a result of the project will allow us to make huge strides in efficiency and in improving the quality of our service.”

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

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.

34 businesses have secured £841,000 matched funding for 44 projects which are worth £3m 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 upskill 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. Others are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

Over 80% of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, and more than 25% 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.”

As well as technology, Made Smarter has supported manufacturers to develop digital strategies and new skills. 

Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshops are a rapid and bespoke process designed to accelerate manufacturing growth by identifying digital tools and technologies that can maximise operational processes and enhance business growth.

Manufacturers have also benefited from Made Smarter’s digital technology internships which offer students and graduates paid placements to work on live technology projects. Some have even secured jobs following their placement.

The Made Smarter Leadership programme, in partnership with Lancaster University is now also delivered by the University of Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan University.

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