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Business support spotlight: Made Smarter

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Our Business Support Spotlight series highlights the wealth of support listed on Boost’s Support Hub and available to Lancashire businesses. Today’s spotlight shines on Made Smarter.

How do you help Lancashire businesses?

Made Smarter is working with Lancashire manufacturers, helping them to adopt the latest digital technologies. If you are a manufacturer looking to accelerate the growth of your business but struggling to understand the best route forward Made Smarter can help.

We work with SME businesses to understand the challenges they face and their vision for the future. Our support includes:

  • Impartial advice from a team of digital specialists
  • Impartial advice around skills, culture and workforce development
  • Creating a digital roadmap for your business
  • Access to a digital native to help with technology strategy or implementation
  • Enhancing your digital skills with a dedicated learning hub
  • Up to 50% match funding to support the purchase of hardware and software
  • Leadership development programme offered in partnership with Lancaster University.

Why do Lancashire businesses need your support?

The Made Smarter Review found that low levels of technology adoption in the UK and insufficient digital leadership and management skills are stifling productivity. If the manufacturing industry were to seize the opportunities presented by digitalisation, they could transform both processes and products.

Digital tools and technology are essential for makers to remain competitive, cut costs, increase growth, and enhance the customer experience. Without capitalising on the opportunities digital technology offers, manufacturing companies risk getting left behind.

Many barriers to technology adoption exist. We discovered the biggest ones were insufficient capital, a need for advice and guidance, gaps in skills and knowledge, lack of digital as part of the overall business strategy. The support Made Smarter offers has been designed to help manufacturers to overcome these barriers.

How are you helping Lancashire businesses overcome the economic challenges of coronavirus?

The pandemic has had a huge impact on manufacturing, and we’ve played a part in helping businesses react to it. Made Smarter-supported makers responded to the challenges with resilience, agility and innovation.

Some used emerging technologies to navigate the impact, switching production to help the front line. Others harnessed new capabilities to ramp up production to tackle increased demand and maintain operations while staff self-isolated.

New technologies have enabled other manufacturers to run their businesses virtually, remotely or with minimal human intervention. These tools have not only helped to ensure business continuity during the current instability, but they’ve also given makers a degree of confidence that they can adapt to any future unexpected circumstances. It’s shown just how important digitalisation is to a successful future for manufacturing, and its recovery from the pandemic.

What are the other key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?

It’s often the case that makers have previously employed technology without a plan for implementation - which leads to disparate, disconnected equipment. A good starting point is generally to focus on data and systems integration to ensure a holistic view of operations and performance before adopting other technologies.

Once systems are connected, businesses will be able to have a holistic view of data across their whole business to highlight inefficiencies and opportunities for growth. Businesses are often missing a digital focus within their business strategy which can cause disconnected legacy technology.

Our immersive digital transformation workshops have proved valuable in allowing businesses vital time away from their busy to-do lists to take that first step in identifying their main challenges, the potential solutions, and priorities.

What’s the future for the Lancashire economy?

We should remain positive about the future. No-one could have predicted the challenges businesses were going to face this year but there are inspiring examples from Lancashire manufacturers we have worked with where digital tools have helped them to respond to the circumstances they faced, in an agile way.

The restrictions COVID-19 placed on all businesses have challenged us to make the previously impossible, now possible. Technology sceptics have now become champions. So-called ‘traditional’ industries have demonstrated a forward-thinking mindset.

This can only be a positive thing for the future of the Lancashire economy and the businesses operating within it.

Looking for support to help grow your Lancashire business? Call 0800 488 0057 or complete our quick form and a member of the Boost team will be in touch to start your growth conversation.

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