SME manufacturers across Greater Manchester, three of whom are based in Tameside, have invested £6.7m in technology, supported by Made Smarter’s trailblazing adoption programme in the North West.
85 businesses in the county have now secured £1.8m matched funding from the government-funded, industry-backed initiative, adopting technologies as diverse as sensors, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI).
Backed by £4.9m of private investment, these manufacturers are forecasting the creation of 451 jobs and 890 upskilled roles, boosting the county’s economy by £69m.
16 Greater Manchester manufacturers are among the latest wave to join Made Smarter, taking to 300 the number of businesses the programme has supported with tech investment. They include:
Brightside Brewing Company, a family run brewery, based in Radcliffe
Chandley Ovens, manufacturer of commercial bakery equipment, based in Hyde
Just Bee Honey, producers of vitamin honey products, based in Trafford Park
Liversidge (Windows & Double Glazing) Ltd, a manufacturer of doors and windows, based in Oldham
Saxon Furniture, sofa and chair manufacturers, based in Bolton,
Stream Measurement, a manufacturer of flow meters, based in Oldham
Thomas Storey Fabrications Group, steel manufacturers in Manchester.
Foams 4 Sports, safety equipment manufacturer, based in Ashton-under-Lyne
Glossop Cartons, manufacturer of printed carton board packaging, based in Stockport
Mactapes, a textile manufacturer, based in Stalybridge,
Promac Precision, an engineering firm, based in Royton, Oldham
Surface Pro, a bespoke joinery and shopfitting manufacturer, based in Eccles, Salford
Vecom Sillavan Metal Treatment, specialists in metal surface treatment, based in Bury
A & D Sports, a manufacturer of gym equipment, based in Rochdale,
Alphin Pans, manufacturer of bakeware and cookware, based in Delph
Avamco, a solid surface manufacturer, based in Wigan.
Carley Friedrich, Director at Brightside Brewing Company said: "We've extremely grateful for the help, support and training we've received by working with Made Smarter. It's helped us take a critical look at our business' digital needs, understand how to improve on weaknesses that were found as well as how to capitalise upon existing strengths.
"The grant we received towards our kegging equipment has also undoubtedly been a game changer. This investment gives us more control over a process which was previously totally outsourced, thereby providing more stability and autonomy for the business, increasing profitability and also upskilling our brewery team."
Phillip Ramsdale, Technical Director at Thomas Storey, said: "Made smarter has been instrumental in helping us drive our vision and values, giving us the confidence to enhance digital technology within our inspection area, improving traceability and supporting a culture of ownership that is aligned with our customers' goals."
Emma Pattison, Managing Director of Chandley Ovens, said: “As a newly formed employee-owned business, with a brand new manufacturing site and a strategy focused on building a new future for Chandley Ovens, Made Smarter has been the perfect partner. Their support has enabled us to build an IT platform suited for our rapidly growing service business, to procure modern equipment and to develop our product ranges to lead the way in control, energy efficiency and ease of use.”
Ian Liversidge, Managing Director of Liversidge (Windows & Double Glazing) Ltd, said: "Made Smarter has been instrumental in our shift towards a paperless system. Upgrading our production line with computerised scan points during this phase has significantly improved efficiency, reducing mistakes, increasing profitability, and speeding up the overall process."
Robert Allan, Managing Director of Stream Management, said: “Working with the knowledgeable Made Smarter team has been really useful. It has allowed us to make a significant investment in our test facility which allows us to secure and grow our gas meter calibration services.
“Our new rig will be one of the most accurate high-capacity rigs in the country with full automation to provide greater efficiency and help bridge skills gaps.”
Ethan McCoy, Business Analyst, said: "We are extremely grateful to Made Smarter for its support. Investing in technology can be tricky, but the insight from the team at Made Smarter gave us huge confidence in the ROI of improving our processes."
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.
With the Government committing to continue the North West adoption programme as part of a UK roll out, manufacturers are being urged to connect with Made Smarter to access the funded support on offer. This includes digital transformation workshops to create a digital roadmap, impartial and expert technology advice, leadership and skills training, as well as grant funding for digital internships and technology projects.
Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said: "I am incredibly proud of what the Made Smarter team has achieved over the last five years. These milestones are simultaneously a moment to celebrate, as well as a reminder that 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. As such we are redoubling our efforts to reach more businesses, and to inspire and inform them about the benefits of technology adoption.
"For many this may be helping them take the first step to digitise manual and paper-based systems or using sensors to capture vital production data. But for others with a digital infrastructure in place, they may be ready for more sophisticated, boundary-pushing technologies such as analytics, machine learning and AI, which are evolving at unprecedented speed.
"Digital isn’t coming – it’s arrived. Adopting technologies at the right time and in the right way is the key to unlocking real benefits for industry, society and the planet."
For more information, visit www.madesmarter.uk