Drives and Controls Magazine
Made Smarter has supported more than 250 manufacturers
Published:  26 January, 2023

The Made Smarter initiative, launched in 2019 to help SME manufacturers to digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth, has now backed more than 250 manufacturers with investments. It has funded a total of 275 projects with £18m of backing, including £5m from government-funded and industry-led initiatives, and £13m from the businesses themselves.

The supported manufacturers predict that their investments will create almost 1,300 new jobs, upskill 2,400 existing roles, and deliver an additional £209m in gross value added for the economy of North West England over the coming three years.

Made Smarter has helped the manufacturers adopt technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D printing, automation and robotics to solve challenges and meet demand. The businesses report that they are benefiting from higher productivity and revenues, increased exports, lower energy bills, and reduced carbon footprints.

Made Smarter has also helped more than 2,500 businesses on their digitalisation journeys by offering them funded support including impartial expert advice, digital roadmap workshops, and skills development.

“When we launched the Made Smarter adoption programme four years ago,” says Donna Edwards, director of the North West adoption programme, “our ambition was to boost growth, productivity, efficiency and create high-value, well-paid jobs of the future, as well as play a vital role to help accomplish the UK's aim of reaching net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

Donna Edwards: 2023 promises to be a busy year

“It’s been great to see that so many firms have tapped into our expertise to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits,” she adds. “2023 promises to be another busy year for Made Smarter.

But, she warns: “More challenges lie ahead for manufacturers as they navigate a multitude of demands on their businesses, whilst also trying to keep up with the rapid pace of change. I would encourage any North West manufacturers who are wondering where to go next with technology to help manage their business more efficiently and sustainably to get in touch with the Made Smarter team.”

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