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Industry Talk

UK milestone for Made Smarter

SME manufacturers across sectors have secured £4.6 million matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16 million after private sector investment.

2nd December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Manchester, United Kingdom


Three years since its launch, the UK government-funded and industry-led Made Smarter technology adoption programme, which is helping SMEs drive growth and decarbonise through digitalisation, has now supported its 200th business.

Among the latest companies to receive funding are Derek Rose, a clothing manufacturer in Congleton, Private White VC, a luxury clothing manufacturer in Manchester and Lantex, a textile manufacturer in Accrington.

Lantex has secured support from Made Smarter for a data and systems integration project using a bespoke ERP system.

“Lantex is a traditional textile manufacturer and has been converting and manufacturing textiles in Lancashire since 1918,” said its MD Tim Daverage. “However, growth is being hampered because we cannot effectively manage and predict production schedules, as well as monitor stock.

“Our ambition is to implement an ERP system to reduce time-consuming manual administration and automate order processing, stock monitoring, on and off site, and give us real-time production data which we will be able to analyse to drive efficiencies. The next step will be to introduce a customer portal to enable direct ordering.

“We forecast that the new technology will reduce 100 hours of administrative work per month, improve customer experience, and drive profitability, setting Lantex up for another 100 years of business, so we are grateful for Made Smarter’s ongoing support.”

SME manufacturers across sectors have secured £4.6 million matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16 million after private sector investment.

Technologies that integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, are being used to drive efficiencies and reduce waste. Meanwhile, 3D-printing, automation and robotics are being used to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

These investments are forecasting the creation of 1,177 new jobs and 2,205 upskilled roles, and are forecast to deliver an additional £192.9 million in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next three years.

“We launched Made Smarter in the North West three years ago with the ambitious aim to kick start an adoption programme for digital technologies among small and medium-sized enterprises, strengthened by leadership training and harnessing talent within universities,” said Juergen Maier, co-chair of Made Smarter. “It is fantastic to see the tremendous impact that the programme continues to have on individuals, businesses, the UK economy, and the environment.

“It is clear from the unequivocal success we are seeing in the North West, and the positive effect adoption programmes in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East, are having that we are starting to grasp the multitude of opportunities that innovation and digital technologies offer. For the UK manufacturing sector to thrive and become a world leader, we now need to roll out Made Smarter nationwide and with a stronger ambition.”

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