Fuse Contract Furniture (Blackburn), Integral Surface Design (Skelmersdale), Starlight Bedrooms (Bolton) and Inscape Interiors (Chorley) have begun working with the North West technology adoption pilot to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth, as well as navigate the impact of Covid-19.
Almost 950 SME manufacturers have secured support, including specialised advice and £2.5m of funding, since the launch of Made Smarter 18 months ago.
This support includes expert, impartial technology advice, digital roadmapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, leadership development programme developed in partnership with Lancaster University, and funded digital technology internships.
104 of the businesses have now secured matched funding for 115 projects and are forecast to deliver an additional £100m in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next three years.
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.
By adopting cutting-edge technologies, these businesses benefit from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, an upskilled workforce, lower energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint.
Rob Barrows-Langford, operations director for Starlight Bedrooms, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Made Smarter in driving forward a technology project which will bring real value to our company and customers. The project will unlock growth potential and deliver enhanced resource efficiency and employment opportunities.”
Donna Edwards, above, the programme director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, said: “Reaching 104 business and 115 funded projects is a fantastic achievement - and there is much more to come.
“Over the last 18 months the Made Smarter team has engaged with hundreds of makers from every corner of the region offering specialist advice about the benefits to adopting new digital technology.
“I am thrilled that so many firms of all sizes have tapped into our expertise to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on manufacturing and resulted in widespread repercussions for the economy. Manufacturers have reacted and adapted to the different circumstances they find their businesses facing and technology has been at the heart of that response.
“While there is uncertainty, what is clear is that Made Smarter is needed more than ever to help SMEs maintain their competitive edge using technology to come back smarter and navigate the future.”