Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses among Preston firms to land funding boost

Posted on - 20th February, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Campaigns, Preston News, Redevelopment

Preston is set to benefit from dozens of new manufacturing jobs thanks to Made Smarter’s pioneering technology adoption programme.


Launched to help businesses digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth, the government-funded and industry-led initiative has helped six SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the borough with £150k to invest in projects, worth £1.2M, and involving data, robotics and extended reality technologies.

These manufacturers are forecasting they will create more than 27 new jobs, upskill 109 existing roles, and deliver an additional £4.5M in gross value added (GVA) for the Preston economy over the next three years.

The new figures have been revealed as Made Smarter marks its fourth anniversary by helping its 250th SME manufacturer invest in new technology.

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Among the latest businesses to get support from the programme are Honeywell Meats, family butchers in Preston, and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, based in Preston. 

They join other Preston manufacturers, Business Insight 3 Ltd, Envirosystems (UK) Ltd, Linx Paper Ltd, and S.W. Watson & Son Limited to benefit from support towards technology investment.

Daniel Hall, Owner of Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, said they became more flexible and agile after investing in software systems and are now looking at improving other areas of the business.

“We’re driving innovation across the market to meet the needs of our customers, and with a growing team, we’re always looking for more ways to optimise our efficiency and support and motivate our people to be their best.”

“Digitising key areas of our production has enabled us to visualise key trends and insights on screens in real-time, helping the team to make quick decisions through transparency of data. The investment has had a really positive impact.”

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Across the North West, Made Smarter has supported more than 2,500 businesses on their digitalisation journeys, offering fully funded support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, and skills development.

250 manufacturers have secured funding for 275 projects worth £18M, including £5M funded by Made Smarter and £13M from the businesses themselves.

Almost 1,300 new jobs are forecast to be created, 2,400 existing roles upskilled, and an additional £209M in GVA for the North West economy over the next three years.

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Commenting on the programme’s achievement, Donna Edwards, director of the North West adoption programme, said: “When we launched the Made Smarter adoption programme four years ago our ambition was to boost growth, productivity, efficiency and create high value, well-paid jobs of the future, as well as play a vital role to help accomplish the UK’s aim of reaching net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

“Digital adoption is still rife and robust in the SME sector. It’s been great to see that so many firms 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. 2023 promises to be another busy year for Made Smarter.”

Made Smarter has helped manufacturers adopt technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, others are now using 3D-printing, automation and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

By adopting cutting-edge technologies, these businesses are benefitting from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, an upskilled workforce, lower energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint.

By supporting many of these businesses to take their first steps towards digitalisation, Made Smarter is also paving the way for more advanced technologies coming quickly down the track such as the industrial metaverse.

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