The Lord Ashcroft International Business (LAIBS) School at Anglia Ruskin University is collaborating with partners from across Europe on a digital manufacturing project, entitled GrowIn 4.0.
The LAIBS, which is one of the largest business schools in the East of England, is playing a key role in the European digital manufacturing project, GrowIn 4.0, looking at the digitisation of the manufacturing industry.
The focus of the project GrowIn 4.0 will be the common challenges manufacturing SMEs throughout the North Sea Region (NSR) face, such as economic crisis, decrease in employment, loss of competitiveness.
The manufacturing industry is very important for the NSR economy and remains a driver for growth.
GrowIn 4.0 aims to build strong competences and tools in the participating regions for the benefit of manufacturing SMEs.
An overall objective of the project is to raise the level of innovation and to create more growth within manufacturing SMEs who are heading for Industry 4.0.
Dr David Arkell, a senior research fellow at the university, explained how the idea that digital technologies change the way we live and work.
Arkell: “We’ll be working with SMEs to find out what digital means to them, with the aim of developing new business models and raising awareness of some of the technologies that are available.
“Manufacturing has always been a linear process, but with the advent of technologies like 3D printing you can specify what you want made and get it produced quickly, which can really make a difference to small companies.”
Dr Arkell said the academics will be speaking to 150 SMEs in this country and abroad as part of the research. The project also includes two other large organisations from the region, the Cambridgeshire LEP and TWI at Granta Park.
Arkell: “A lot of SMEs and micro businesses would not consider themselves to be in manufacturing, but they are impacted by global supply chains. We need to find out what is important to them.”