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Preston manufacturers allow Made Smarter to help their 200th business

Posted on - 6th December, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston News
Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West

Preston manufacturers have helped Made Smarter’s trailblazing technology adoption programme in the North West mark its third anniversary by reaching a major milestone.

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Three years on from its launch, the government-funded and industry-led initiative helping SMEs (small to medium enterprises) drive growth and de-carbonise through digitalisation, has now supported its 200th business.

Business Insight 3, a security technology business, and Linx Paper, a toilet paper manufacturer are among the latest wave of manufacturers starting their journey to use technology to benefit their business and the environment.

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They are among 65 SME manufacturers in Lancashire who have secured £1.4M matched funding for 76 projects, worth £5.8M after private sector investment. 

These investments are forecasting the creation of 444 new jobs and 937 upskilled roles, and are forecast to deliver an additional £68.7M in gross value added (GVA) for the Lancashire regional economy over the next three years. 

Technologies that integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, are being used to drive efficiencies and reduce waste.

Meanwhile, 3D-printing, automation, and robotics are being used to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said:  “Over the last three years we have worked extremely hard to drive digital technology usage among makers across the North West.

“We have engaged with 1,381 SMEs in the region to help them 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, as well as upskilling their workforce and creating new high-value jobs.

“We’re also playing a crucial role in helping the UK grow sustainably and reach its ambitious aim of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. 

“Digitalisation enables businesses to find the sustainability sweet spot between these economic, social, and environmental goals. We look forward to continuing our drive to enable hundreds more manufacturers to learn how digital transformation can help them recover, grow, and create resilience.”

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Since launching in 2018, Made Smarter has engaged with 1,381 businesses from every corner of the region to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth, navigate Covid-19, and tackle climate change.

670 have reaped the rewards of intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice, 248 have used digital transformation workshops to help take their first steps to transform their business, and 56 business leaders have developed the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing through the Made Smarter Leadership programme, developed in partnership with Lancaster University.

Manufacturers have benefited from funded digital technology internships which offer students and graduates paid placements to work on live technology projects. 

Across the wider North West, Made Smarter’s £4.6M matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16M after private sector investment, will potentially create 1,177 new jobs, 2,205 upskilled roles, and an additional £192.9M in GVA.

Technologies that integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, are being used to drive efficiencies and reduce waste. 3D-printing, automation, and robotics are also being used to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

Over 80 per cent of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, while others have benefited from increase in revenue and exports, job creation and providing new skills to workforces, as well as improved visibility and enhanced integration with supply chains.

More than 25 per cent reduced their carbon emissions, while others cut energy bills, reduced waste, and became more environmentally sustainable.

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