Made Smarter inspires more than £2m of manufacturing investment

In the first 12 months of the Made Smarter programme, the government initiative launched to encourage businesses to upgrade their manufacturing processes, Lancashire SMEs have invested £2.2m in adopting new technologies.

Business involved are developing projects involving the adoption of a range of industrial digital technologies, including Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D-printing and robotics to solve business challenges across a range of manufacturing functions.

The programme offers support including expert impartial advice and one-to-one support, digital roadmapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, eight-month leadership and management training programmes offered in partnership with Lancaster University, as well as funded three-month student placements.

So far, 21 Lancashire firms have secured matched funding, totalling almost £500,000, which is forecast to help deliver an additional £52m in gross value added for the North West economy over the next three years.

The latest Lancashire SMEs to secure funding include: Hope Technology (Barnoldswick); Panaz (Burnley); DA Techs (pictured, Chorley); Basically Trade (Burnley); NIS integrated engineering (Chorley); Allspeeds (Accrington); Pendle Polymer Engineering (Colne); The Protein Lab (Blackpool); Spiroflow UK (Clitheroe); My Fish Company (Fleetwood); Edward Taylor Textiles (Blackburn); Nutree Life (Preston); Inscape Interiors (Chorley); Dewlay Cheesemakers (Garstang); S.W. Watson & Son Limited (Preston); Motion Graphix (Skelmersdale); and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses (Preston).

Manufacturing is a sector which continues to deliver good jobs and high wages

Other businesses previously revealed to have secured funding include: EnviroSystems (Preston); Graham Engineering (Nelson); Len Wright Salads (Tarleton); and T & R Precision Engineering (Colne).

Steve Fogg, Lancashire LEP Chairman, said: "For areas like Lancashire, where manufacturing of all kinds is still so important, Made Smarter has been a welcome addition to the support we can offer to local businesses.

“This is a sector which continues to deliver good jobs and high wages, but we recognise the need to support the adoption of digital technologies. Lancashire businesses have benefitted from the expertise of the Made Smarter team, used grants to advance their plans and as importantly, they are accessing the leadership and skills support to fully realise the benefits of these technologies."

Made Smarter is relevant for any North West SMEs employing less than 250 staff who make, create, manufacture or engineer. 

The £20m Made Smarter pilot programme was launched in November 2018, became operational in January 2019, and runs until March 2021. The pilot will inform how best to support SME manufacturers in the adoption of new industrial digital technologies.

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.