A pilot programme which has helped dozens of manufacturers in Cheshire and Warrington access technology and digital tools to boost productivity, growth and create jobs, is to continue as part of a £8M government rollout.
The Made Smarter North West initiative becomes part of the government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, which now expands into the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.
It means hundreds of more manufacturers in Cheshire and Warrington will be able to learn how digital transformation can help them recover, grow, and create resilience.
Donna Edwards, Made Smarter’s North West Adoption Director, said: “I am delighted that the Government has continued to support the North West Adoption programme.
“Over the last two years we have worked tirelessly to drive digital technology usage among SME makers across the North West with significant success.
“The programme 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.
“With the additional funding, we are able 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.”
Since it was launched two years ago, the North West technology adoption pilot has engaged with more than 150 businesses in Cheshire and Warrington to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to boost productivity and growth, and navigate the impact of Covid-19.
More than 60 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.
Businesses have secured £397,000 matched funding for 21 projects, which leverage £534,000 of private sector investment.
These technology adoption projects are forecast to deliver an additional £11.9M in gross value added (GVA) for the Cheshire and Warrington economy over the next three years, create 71 new jobs, and upskill 150 existing roles.
Trevor Brocklebank, deputy chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Cheshire and Warrington manufacturers have been involved in the North West Adoption pilot and they have seen the benefits of adopting digital technology. The Made Smarter programme has enhanced our sub-region’s manufacturing offer and has helped our businesses seize the most from digital tools and technologies.
“This further funding for the Made Smarter programme is a fantastic opportunity for more of our small and medium manufacturers to embrace industry 4.0, modernise, go digital and create new jobs. We look forward to helping more businesses access Made Smarter and are excited to see what more can be achieved by businesses in Cheshire and Warrington.”
The success of the North West Adoption programme will be celebrated at a free-to-access virtual conference, Made Smarter: The journey to digital manufacturing, on Wednesday, March 10.
Curated by manufacturers for manufacturers, the conference features an impressive line-up of industry heavyweights who will showcase the ‘why?’, ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ of digital manufacturing, including: Juergen Maier, Chair of the Digital Catapult and co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission; Stephen Phipson, the Chief Executive of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation; Andrea Hough, Managing Director of ATEC Engineering Solutions; and Glyn Jones, Service Delivery Director at BAE Systems and Chair of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group.
They will be joined by a host of SME manufacturers sharing real-life stories of their experience of the North West Adoption programme including Twin Fix (Warrington) and Plastic Card Services (Macclesfield).
For more information about the programme and the conference visit https://www.madesmarter.uk