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Made Smarter Initiative Empowers SME Manufacturers with £22 Million Investment in Technology

by Anna

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) manufacturers have injected £22 million into technology adoption, thanks to the Made Smarter adoption programme in the North West. The groundbreaking initiative has seen 300 businesses secure £6.5 million in matched funding, supporting the implementation of various technologies such as sensors, robotics, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Over the past five years, these 350 technology projects, backed by £16 million in private sector investment, are poised to create nearly 1,600 new jobs and more than 2,850 upskilled roles. The initiative anticipates adding £242 million to the economy over the next three years.

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Among the lifestyle product manufacturers benefiting from industrial technologies are Weaver Dane, Saxon Furniture, Crozier Design, Neal Jones Furniture, Contour Campervan Furniture, Evertaut, Mactapes, English Trading Company, and Alphin Pans.

Contour Campervan Furniture, based in Kendal, has successfully adopted CNC machinery with Made Smarter’s support. Co-founders Caitlin Green and Tom Lake shared their experience, stating, “This technology has enabled us to bring production of our birch plywood campervan furniture in-house. We can now produce more, have improved quality control over our product, and are able to innovate and create new products much more quickly. This has helped us to create jobs, made us a more profitable company, and significantly reduced our lead times for our shipped flat-pack campervan furniture.”

With the UK Government committing to continuing the North West adoption programme, manufacturers are encouraged to engage with Made Smarter to access funded support. The assistance includes digital transformation workshops, expert technology advice, leadership and skills training, and grant funding for digital internships and technology projects.

Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, expressed pride in the achievements of the initiative over the last five years. Edwards emphasized the ongoing mission to reach more manufacturers and inspire them to embrace technology adoption, noting that digital transformation is crucial for unlocking benefits for industry, society, and the planet.

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