Bike manufacturer Hope Technology has adopted industrial digital technologies designed to boost its growth and productivity, after securing funding through the Made Smarter Programme.
Hope is among 62 businesses now investing in a range of industrial digital technologies including Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D-printing and robotics. The aim of the investment is to solve business challenges across a range of manufacturing functions and deliver an additional £52 million in gross value added (GVA) for the North West Economy over the next three years.
300 North West SMEs have secured support, including specialised advice and £1.6 million of the funding, in the first year of the Made Smarter programme.
Donna Edwards, Programme Director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, said: “Over the last year the Made Smarter team has engaged with hundreds of makers from every corner of the region. We have found a great enthusiasm about the benefits of adopting new digital technology tempered by uncertainty of how to go about it.
“It’s clear that the SMEs need the specialist advice and insight to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits.”
The support for local manufacturing SMEs includes expert impartial advice and one-to-one support, digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers take the first steps to transform their businesses, eight-month leadership and management training programmes offered in partnership with Lancaster University.
By adopting these cutting-edge technologies businesses like Hope will benefit from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, providing new skills to workforces, enhanced integration with supply chains and reduced environmental impact.
Edwards continued: “Made Smarter is relevant for any North West SMEs employing less than 250 staff who make, create, manufacturer or engineer. The interest we have received in the first year has been incredible. I urge local businesses to get in touch and find out how digital technology can transform their business.”
The £20 million pilot programme was launched in November 2018, becoming operational in January 2019, and runs until March 2021. It will inform how best to support SME manufacturers in the adoption of new industrial digital technologies.
The pilot is being overseen by the Made Smarter Commission, a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS) and industry leaders. Co-chair of the commission and former CEO of Siemens, Juergen Maier, added: “When we launched Made Smarter in November 2018 our ambition was to kick start a new industrial revolution for the manufacturing sector and turn the UK into a world leader in digital technologies.
“I am thrilled that so many manufacturers in the North West have grasped what I believe is a once in a generational opportunity to boost productivity, create high value and highly paid jobs of the future. Our task now is to scale this up and see what other regions can learn from the great work that’s already being done here.