Made Smarter helps firms improve productivity

Lancashire manufacturers are improving productivity through the Made Smarter programme, which uses data and systems integration to drive growth.

Twenty-four businesses have already usedtechnology to achieve digital transformation and gain a competitive edge.

They are: Allspeeds Limited (Accrington); Basically Trade (Padiham); Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses (Preston); DA Techs (Chorley); Dewlay Cheesemakers (Garstang); Envirosystems (Preston); Graham Engineering (Nelson); Hope Technology (Barnoldswick); Inscape Interiors (Chorley); My Fish Company (Fleetwood); NIS (Chorley); Nutree Life (Preston); Panaz (Burnley); Pendle Polymer Engineering (Colne); S.W. Watson & Son (Preston), The Protein Lab (Blackpool) and T & R Precision Engineering (Colne).

They are among the 84 SME manufacturers in the North West that used funding through the Made Smarter North West Industry 4.0 adoption pilot and have embraced industrial digital technologies which connect their disparate systems and unify data residing in different sources.

For example, T&R Precision, an engineering company operating in the aerospace sector, invested in a bespoke solution to fully automate a machining system by applying new software and hardware solutions to a 5-axis CNC machine. It is integrated with the quality control department, provides real time oversight to the management team and allows every order to be tracked and integrated into the supply chain.

The solution reduces the manufacturing process from 90 hours to 18, increases productivity levels and is forecast to increase revenue by 33 per cent over the next three years.

Tim Maddison, managing director, said: "A unique, ‘future state’ manufacturing method will provide us with a significant competitive advantage over our principal customer’s in-house manufacturing processes. It will reduce the number of operations, machines and man-power required to manufacture the components, providing a step change in our productivity and efficiencies. The investment and support of Made Smarter will create stability for the company and workforce and give us the confidence to invest in the future.”

Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West, said: “Data and analytics are central to the 4th Industrial Revolution, so I am extremely pleased that so many SME manufacturers are putting data at the heart of their own digitalisation journeys."

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