How can your business take its first ‘smart’ digital transformation steps?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming what it means to manufacture. But, how can businesses best leverage the capabilities of digital technologies to gain that necessary competitive edge?

The pilot will engage with 3000 North West manufacturers - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The pilot will engage with 3,000 North West manufacturers – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

As part of the government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy, the Made Smarter North West Pilot is being launched to enable SME businesses access to pivotal funding and expert advice on their digital journey.

The initiative – launched at The Manufacturer’s Smart Factory Expo – is supported by a £20m investment from the government and private sector, in order to introduce new advanced solutions, services and equipment to manufacturers.

It will also align research bodies, digital assets and IDT know how across the North West to strengthen the leading manufacturing eco-system in the region.

In total, it sets out to increase regional GVA by up to £115m, which could further propel manufacturing in the area.

Made Smarter will engage thousands of manufacturers

Working through the five North West Growth Hubs: Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire and Warrington, the pilot will engage with 3,000 North West manufacturers and provide intensive support to 600.

Over the next few years, the pilot will test out the most effective ways to engage manufacturers in the North West and encourage them to adopt industrial digital technology such as, IOT and sensor technology, 3D printing, robotics, VR, blockchain and artificial intelligence. Learn how Made Smarter can provide manufacturers with advanced technology solutions here. 

Made Smarter will encourage manufacturers to use 4IR technology including VR - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Made Smarter will encourage manufacturers to use 4IR technology including VR – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

This adoption could radically improve their competitiveness, increase their exporting capabilities, and raise regional productivity.

Widely seen as a blueprint for the rest of the UK, an announcement in the recent budget stated that up to £121m of additional Made Smarter programme funding would be made available across the country as part of government’s £1.1bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This new service will work with existing productivity and digital skills programmes in the North West, including ‘Be the Business’ and the ‘Digital Skills Partnership’.  

Although the UK manufacturing sector punches above its weight on R&D, exports and productivity, the Made Smarter Review reports that low adoption levels of industrial digital technology and poor leadership and management is holding back manufacturing productivity in Britain.

The opportunities from industrial digital technology are numerous; it can revolutionise a business’s processes, operations and products. In fact, full adoption could realise a 25% manufacturing productivity increase over the next decade.

The Made Smarter scheme is designed for manufacturers who understand the potential investing in digital technologies will give to their business, but have found it hard – perhaps because of skills, cultural or financial issues – to take those crucial first steps on this journey.

Whatever the challenge, the pilot will provide independent expert advice to drive understanding and adoption of IDTs. Carried out through guidance, funding and fast track access to an ecosystem of understanding.

Smart people, smart processes, Made Smarter.

Don’t miss out! Visit www.madesmarter.uk and learn more now, or visit their advisors on stand D72 at the Smart Factory Expo. 

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Case study: Crystal Doors

Crystal Doors started production in 1990’s changing CNC Robotics tools manually on a 3-axis machine.

The adoption of digital technology has seen productivity improve at Crystal Doors -image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The adoption of digital technology has seen productivity improve at Crystal Doors -image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The business now has two CNC nesting cells with automatic loading of the boards, automatic tool changing and automatic products offloading – with 5-axis movement.

By adopting digital technology, productivity is now comfortably eight times better per unit cost at Crystal Doors. This allows a greater volume of orders and significantly more complex products to be manufactured.

With Made Smarter guidance, more SME’s could transform their manufacturing operations like Crystal Doors has.

Start your own revolution! 

Discover how you can help build the North West’s digital manufacturing future, register for an assessment at MadeSmarter.uk

What is Made Smarter - Infographic