Lancashire manufacturers in £2.2m investment drive

Fylde coast and Wyre small and medium sized manufacturers are among a host in the county which have invested £2.2m to adopt new technologies, supported by almost £500k of funding, in the first year of the Made Smarter programme.

Among the latest to invest, are The Protein Lab from Blackpool, My Fish Company of Fleetwood and Dewlay Cheesemakers of Garstang.

Cheese making at Dewlay

Cheese making at Dewlay

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 manufacturing SMEs includes expert impartial advice and one-to-one support, digital road-mapping 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.

Made smarter said 62 of the businesses supported with specialist technology advice, including 21 in Lancashire, have also secured matched funding, and with this support forecast to deliver an additional £52m in gross value added for the North West economy over the next three years.

It said SME applicants are developing projects involving the adoption of a range of industrial digital technologies, including Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Industrial Internet of Things, 3D-printing and robotics to solve challenges in a range of manufacturing functions.

Donna Edwards of Made Smarter

Donna Edwards of Made Smarter

Steve Fogg, Lancashire LEP chairman, said: “For areas such as 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.”

Donna Edwards, Programme Director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, said: “We have found a great enthusiasm about the benefits of adopting new digital technology tempered by uncertainty of how to go about it.

“It’s clear that the SMEs need the specialist advice and insight to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits.

"This is exactly how Made Smarter can and is helping businesses across the region.”

Visit www.madesmarter.uk for more.