Made Smarter appoints new chair of North West pilot

Made Smarter, a national movement which is helping SME manufacturers in the North West to adopt digital technologies, has appointed Glyn Jones as the new chair of its steering group.

Based in BAE Systems’ Air business in Lancashire, Glyn Jones is the delivery director for the Tempest programme leading a team of around 1,000 engineers and manufacturers developing technology and options for UK’s next generation combat air system.

Born in Crewe and educated in Liverpool, Jones has been with BAE System for more than 30 years’ working on many of the leading military and civil aircraft programmes, including the F-35 Lightning II and Eurofighter Typhoon.

He replaces Andrea Thompson, managing director for Europe & International business at BAE Systems Air, as chair of the steering group which will oversee the development and delivery of the Made Smarter adoption programme in the North West.

The board, which features 15 representatives (see bottom of this article) drawn from manufacturing firms from across Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region, will also monitor progress of the adoption pilot and help inform the proposed national roll-out of the Made Smarter movement.

Jones is deeply supportive of the opportunities Made Smarter brings to SME manufacturers having spent his career introducing new technology and digital capability and seeing the considerable benefits they can bring.

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has created “significant new challenges in terms of production processes, workforce, and supply chain constraints,” Jones commented that adopting new technologies is the best way manufacturers can recover and become stronger.

Made Smarter offers a range of support for manufacturing SMEs, including: expert impartial advice and one-to-one support; matched funding for technology and digital tools; digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business; eight-month leadership and management training programmes, and fully funded Digital Technology Internships.

Donna Edwards, Made Smarter programme director paid tribute to Andrea Thompson for the significant contribution she has made to Made Smarter since it launched in November 2018.

“Her extensive international experience across key manufacturing sectors has helped deliver transformative change to significant numbers of SME manufacturers in the region,” noted Edwards.

Examples of how SME manufacturers supported by Made Smarter are using emerging technologies to navigate the impact on business from the coronavirus pandemic include:

  • Fabricon Design, based in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, uses advanced manufacturing methods to produce innovative plastics, aluminium and steel component designs for a range of sectors. It used a new 3D printer to make headbands for facial masks used by NHS staff and designed and manufactured a respiratory port for a hospital’s CPAP machine.
  • Textiles manufacturer Tibard, based in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, used a new CAM cutting machine to start making PPE equipment and scrubs for hospitals.
  • Beverston Engineering, based in Knowsley, Liverpool City Region, specialise in prototyping and the manufacture of engineering components for aviation, aerospace, oil, gas and pharmaceuticals industries. As a supplier to Rolls-Royce, part of VentilatorChallengeUK, a consortium of 14 firms including Airbus, Ford, Accenture and Siemens, Beverston has been making parts for the ventilators for the NHS.
  • Storth, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery for slurry management based in Carnforth, Lancashire, used a new robotic welding system to continue operating when welding staff were self-isolating.
  • Nutree Life, manufacturers of plant-based nutrition products based in Preston, Lancashire, used new automation technology to cope with a substantial surge in orders.
  • Alphabond Technologies, an adhesives manufacturer based in Northwich, Cheshire, was able to continue manufacturing operations remotely using a new ERP system.

Steering board members include:

  • Glyn Jones (BAE systems)
  • Carlene Nobile (BAE Systems)
  • Andrea Hough (ATEC Engineering Solutions)
  • Dave Barber (Mettler Toledo)
  • David Hughes (ABB)
  • Emma Degg (North West Business Leaders)
  • Graham Malley (Accenture)
  • Jayne Moorby (Oxley Group)
  • Leanne Holmes (Crane Payment Innovations)
  • Leo Omar (Red Ninja)
  • Luke Walsh (Brain Boxes)
  • Mike Lewis (Mpac Lambert)
  • Simon Ansell (Jaguar Land Rover)
  • Simon Keogh (Siemen)
  • Simone Peppi (Pilot Group)