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Industry Talk

Three year programme extension for Made Smarter

Programme has helped 2,500 businesses use tech and skill to grow regional value added by £176 million and create 1,250 jobs.

28th September 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  United Kingdom

Sustainable, Industrial

A UK programme that has already backed 2,500 SME manufacturers to adopt new digital technology and skills to create growth and jobs has secured £6.1 million in funding to continue for three more years.

Made Smarter’s adoption programme in the North West of the country has helped small and medium-sized companies start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice and a digital roadmap to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.

More than 250 of them, including many in the textile sector, have invested in new technology, ranging from software and sensors to robotics and extended reality, to become more efficient, build resilience, increase their productivity and grow sustainably.

These include businesses like Panaz, a leading supplier of high-quality decorative fabrics and wallcoverings based in Burnley, Derek Rose, a specialist manufacturer of nightwear, loungewear and leisurewear based in Congleton and Lantex, a textile manufacturer in Accrington.

As a result, Made Smarter-supported manufacturers are set to create 1,250 new jobs, upskill almost 2,300 existing roles, deliver an additional £176 million in gross value added to the region and help the UK meet its net zero target by 2050.

Made Smarter will now accelerate its drive to support hundreds more SME manufacturers to embrace the industry 4.0 movement.

Meanwhile, as a result of the trailblazing work in the North West, the national roll out of the Made Smarter adoption programme has continued, and now includes the West of England and East Midlands. They join the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

“I am delighted that the Government has recognised the extraordinary impact that Made Smarter’s adoption programme is having on digitalisation of SME businesses and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in the North West,” said Alain Dilworth,  programme manager for the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West. “While UK manufacturing navigated the pandemic and is working towards recovery, it is also bracing for further challenging times and economic bumps in the road ahead. Our rallying call to manufacturers is that digital technologies offer businesses opportunities to build resilience, innovate and transform. Digital tools can help manufacturers make marginal savings, set themselves apart from competitors in a volatile time, and make products quicker, more affordable and more efficient.”

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