Manufacturers celebrated at first Made Smarter Adoption Awards

By Antao Greer Communications

28 May 2024

Made Smarter Adoption Awards - LtoR - Donna Edward (Director of Made Smarter North West), Stephen Talbot (Sales Director at Logs Direct), and Paul McLaren (Chair of Made Smarter North West’s Steering Group).jpg.jpg

Manufacturers in Lancashire pursuing digital transformation have been celebrated at the inaugural Made Smarter Adoption Awards.

The Made Smarter Adoption Awards champion manufacturing and engineering companies who have committed to adopting technology and skills to digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth.

The programme is led by Made Smarter, the national movement accelerating technology and skills adoption.

At the North West regional awards, Logs Direct, a manufacturer of premium firewood and logs based in Lancaster, picked up the Made Smarter Award for the Lancashire area. 

The company was picked ahead of shortlisted firms: Crozier Campers, based in Poulton-le-Fylde; Studio Bakery, based in Clitheroe; CTR Plastics, based in Burscough; Rainford Timber, based in Bamber Bridge; and Bloom in Box, based in Burscough.

Stephen Talbot, sales director at Logs Direct, said: “We are thrilled to have won the Lancashire award which celebrates the progress we have made on our digital journey.

"Made Smarter has been instrumental in allowing us to move forward with our investment in technologies enabling a real-time kiln monitoring and heat-recovery system, which will improve productivity, efficiency and product quality.

“By leveraging Made Smarter’s expertise in technology and skills we have the confidence to pursue the next steps of our digital transformation."

Logs Direct missed out on the overall Made Smarter Adoption Award for the North West to Stockport-based Firstplay Dietary Foods, who now progress to the national awards in Liverpool on June 27 against the regional winners from adoption programmes in the North East, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber.

The Made Smarter Adoption Programme is a government-funded initiative which offers SME manufacturers support including digital transformation workshops to create a digital roadmap, impartial and expert technology advice, leadership and skills training, as well as grant funding for technology projects.

Since 2019, SME manufacturers across the North West have invested £22m in new technologies, forecasting the creation of almost 1,600 new jobs, over 2,850 upskilled roles, and adding £242m to the economy over the next three years.

Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said: "I would like to congratulate the winners and nominees who have all embraced digitalisation to become leading examples of UK manufacturing excellence. 

“Digital transformation is challenging, particularly given the challenges the sector has faced in recent years, so it is right we recognise the forward-thinking nature of these businesses and their employees. 

“I am incredibly proud of what the Made Smarter team has achieved over the last five years. While these awards are a moment to celebrate, our work is by no means done. Our mission is to engage with the thousands of manufacturers out there who we are certain could benefit from our support, and to inspire and inform them about the benefits of technology adoption.”

Commenting on the launch of the awards, Brian Holliday, co-chair of the Made Smarter Commission, said: "The Made Smarter Awards celebrate digital transformation among SME manufacturers, and it is with great pride to see these inaugural awards taking place this year.

“I would like to congratulate all winners and nominees, from across all the regions, as we collectively celebrate the successes the Made Smarter adoption programme has helped support in each of the individual manufacturing businesses.    

“The impact of the programme continues at pace with the creation of thousands of new jobs, the adoption of multiple digital technologies and empowerment of future digital leaders with our skills and leadership training.

“We are looking forward to the expansion of the programme into more regions in 2025. This allows us to truly support increasing manufacturing productivity, raising exports through international competitiveness, strengthening UK supply chains and creating new value streams and reducing CO2 emissions.”

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