Abbey Group in Liverpool had bought all the best new kit for its many successful engineering projects. However, it struggled to reap the expected return on investment, until the Made Smarter North West Pilot worked with the company to bring all its planning and machine data into one digital stream of information and increase efficiency – and profits – by over 50%.
It’s a given that UK manufacturers urgently need to embrace digital manufacturing techniques, as a way to improve productivity and competitiveness. But when companies (particularly smaller ones) are told to go digital, confusion and hesitation can suddenly appear. The Made Smarter Commission’s North West Pilot is designed to overcome that.
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The team at the North West Pilot know they need to push many more companies like the Abbey Group into a digital future in order for the Made Smarter programme to be deemed a success and worthy of further government funding for a UK-wide rollout.
Software and data is a focus of Made Smarter
Donna Edwards is the Made Smarter Pilot Director, translating her own career experience in manufacturing into guiding others to success.
“Abbey Group is absolutely the target group we’re looking to work with,” says Donna Edwards. “You can see that doing some very simple things, and joining up some processes, can have a major impact on the efficiency and productivity of the company. Manufacturers may be really good at what they do, but the issue they’ve got is that over the years they’ve bought different pieces of equipment that don’t join up, and don’t make it easy for them to plan the product through the process.”
So, by getting software, which is effectively what this is about, and getting control of the data and what’s going on, that will enable manufacturers (such as Chris and his team here at Abbey) to see how to actually make the most efficient use of their capability, fill gaps in capacity and greatly increase their efficiency.