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Manufacturing SMEs in LCR invest £1.2M to adopt new technologies supported by Made Smarter

12 months on and 11 makers are making things smarter

150 Liverpool City Region businesses have already approached the pilot for support

Liverpool City Region small and medium sized manufacturers have invested £1.2M to adopt new technologies, supported by £400k of funding, in the first year of the Made Smarter programme.

The Made Smarter North West pilot is working with SMEs to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth.

This support for local manufacturing SMEs includes 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.

62 of the businesses supported with specialist technology advice, including 10 in Liverpool City Region, have also secured matched funding, and with this support forecast to deliver an additional £52M in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next three years.

SME applicants 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.

By adopting these cutting-edge technologies, these businesses benefit from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, providing new skills to workforces, enhanced integration with supply chains and reduced environmental impact.

The latest Liverpool City Region SMEs to secure funding include: Palace Chemicals (Liverpool); Bulky Bob’s (Liverpool); Parity Medical (Wirral); Diamond Precision Engineering (Birkenhead); Hi-Tech Steel Services (St Helens); and Beverston Engineering (Knowsley).

Other businesses previously revealed to have secured funding include: Abbey Group (Knowsley); Fusion Implants (Liverpool); Applied Nutrition (Knowsley); Blends Holdings (Knowsley); and DT Engineering (Halton).

Simon Reid, Head of Advanced Manufacturing at Growth Platform, the Liverpool City Region Growth Company, said: “Made Smarter has been a tremendous success since its launch in Liverpool just over a year ago.

“Manufacturing is vitally important to the Liverpool City Region economy, supporting just under 50,000 jobs and a rate of growth that outstrips the national average. However, to continue to progress we need to work with our manufacturing and engineering businesses, especially SMEs, to help them keep pace with technological change to increase productivity and ultimately drive further growth.

“I would encourage all manufacturing and engineering companies in the Liverpool City Region to engage with Made Smarter and see for themselves the benefits the adoption of digital technologies can bring to a business.”

The £20M pilot programme was launched in November 2018, becoming 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.

During its first 12 months a series of successful events in Liverpool City Region have allowed Made Smarter’s team of expert advisers to connect with businesses operating in a wide range of sectors including engineering, aerospace, food and beverage, agriculture, steel, chemicals and textiles.

The North West pilot is being overseen by the Made Smarter Commission – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and industry leaders.

Juergen Maier, former CEO of Siemens and co-chair of the commission, said: “When we launched Made Smarter in November 2018 our ambition was to kick start a new industrial revolution for the manufacturing sector and turn the UK into a world leader in digital technologies.

“I am thrilled that so many manufacturers in the North West have grasped what I believe is a once in a generational opportunity to boost productivity, create high value and highly paid jobs of the future. Our task now is to scale this up and see what other regions can learn from the great work that’s already being done here.”