SME manufacturers in the food and drink sector are the latest to secure backing from Made Smarter.
Brightside Brewing Company, Just Bee Honey, Studio Bakery, Chandley Ovens, Harbourside Products and Northern Pasta Company are among the latest wave of businesses starting their digitalisation journey to benefit their bottom line and the environment.
It means 300 businesses have now received matched funding from the government-funded, industry-backed initiative, to adopt technologies as diverse as sensors, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI).
Allison Metcalf, Managing Director of Studio Bakery, used Made Smarter support to create a digital roadmap and then invest in a new cutting machine.
She said: “Working with Made Smarter has been transformational for our bakery business. At a time where we were rapidly expanding, they were there to support us. New technology has increased our productivity and made us more efficient. We’re now able to meet our increased orders and we’re ready for the next stage of our expansion.”
Brightside Brewing Company, a family run brewery, based in Radcliffe, invested in new technology to improve control.
Carley Friedrich, Director, said: “We’re 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’s 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.”
Chandley Ovens, manufacturer of commercial bakery equipment, based in Hyde, has invested in new software.
Emma Pattison, Managing Director, 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.”
The 350 technology projects backed by Made Smarter over the last five years are forecasting the creation of almost 1,600 new jobs and over 2,850 upskilled roles, and are set to add £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.”