Five furniture manufacturers are among the latest secured support from a programme helping businesses boost productivity and growth using digital tools.
The latest businesses to sign up for support from the Made Smarter Adoption programme in the North West include Dan Hurtley, a furniture and interiors solutions manufacturer, based in Lancaster, and Multiwood Products, a distributor and producer of kitchen doors and components, based in Bury.
Meanwhile, manufacturers which have already experienced the benefits of the Government-funded, industry-led programme are now taking the next step on their digitalisation journeys – including Inscape Interiors, a manufacturer of building interiors, based in Chorley, Pendle Doors, a doormaker in Blackburn (pictured), and Forest Sofa, a furniture manufacturer based in Salford.
Forest Sofa has secured support for a second technology project, which will reduce fabric waste by up to -10% and reduce cutting time by -50%. MD Ryan Mohieddin says: "We are delighted that following Made Smarter's support with our data and systems integration project, which will enable us to digitally track our production through the manufacturing process, we have now secured support for the second stage of our digitalisation. This involves the pattern digitisation, optimisation and material cutting to increase production capacity, whilst providing a digital back up protecting our IP. We are looking forward to this next step on our journey, as we continue to combine traditional manufacturing with digital innovation.”
Since 2019, Made Smarter has supported 161 businesses with £3.9m matched funding for 201 projects, leveraging £10.5m of private sector investment.
Some manufacturers are developing projects using emerging technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand. This transformative technology adoption is forecast to create 990 new jobs, upskill 1845 existing roles, and deliver an additional £162.4m in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy.
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter Adoption programme in the North West, says: “Surpassing the milestone of 200 funded technology projects is a significant achievement for the Made Smarter adoption programme in the North West - and there is much more to come. Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing. Through it, the entire sector can reap endless rewards that will ultimately lead to considerable – and sustainable – growth. But upgrading to new technologies can seem like a complex and daunting task, and SMEs can miss out on significant improvements to their operations.
“Over the last two-and-a-half years we have developed a programme of wide-ranging support which cuts through the jargon to provide honest, impartial advice to help businesses identify the most effective digital tools, innovation and skills needed to make an everyday difference to their operations. I am delighted that so many manufacturing and engineering businesses of all sizes, from across all sectors, have realised the benefits of digital technology, and would encourage other SMEs in the region to start their own conversation with us.”
Since 2019 Made Smarter has engaged with 1266 businesses in the region, to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth and navigate the impact of Covid-19. A total of 618 manufacturers have received intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help them take their first steps to transform their business, a leadership programme, and funded digital technology internships.
Over 80% of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, and more than 25% reduced their carbon emissions. Businesses will also benefit from increased revenue, profits and exports, and lower energy bills.