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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 DigitME2 delivered from UCLan’s advanced manufacturing lab in Burnley.

How do you help Lancashire businesses?

DigitME2 helps manufacturing SME’s in Lancashire to grow their business and become more efficient by introducing Industry 4.0 based digital technologies into manufacturing processes.

These technologies include production system software, IIOT (industrial internet of things), data visualisation and data analytics, amongst others.

Why do Lancashire businesses need your support?

Digital technologies when applied to manufacturing processes can give businesses better understanding and control over their operations, allowing them to collate data which can be used to boost productivity, improve processes and drive growth. Smaller businesses can be left behind when it comes to implementing new technologies due to time, labour and money constraints.

As a funded project, DigitME2 can help to de-risk that initial investigation into how implementing new technologies can be of benefit to a business, providing a cost-free introduction into the manufacturing processes of now and the future.

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

In these difficult times it is even more important to use low-cost, low-risk methods to investigate ways to improve productivity. DigitME2 has adjusted its usual working set up to be able to work with companies remotely and therefore we can continue to assist companies without causing further disruption following newly introduced Covid-19 restrictions.

The presence of Covid-19 and its consequences have highlighted the advantages of Industry 4.0 technologies within manufacturing and how having greater visibility, access and control through manufacturing data allows businesses to be more adaptable and less dependent on inflexible processes.

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

Productivity in some areas of the Lancashire economy has consistently fallen below the UK average. Whilst increasing productivity through the adoption of automation and digitisation will help to reduce this gap, Lancashire businesses must be careful that this is not achieved at the expense of reduced employment levels.

Adoption of these new technologies, as well as the drive to improve sustainability, will require businesses to identify and reduce skill shortages across a large proportion of their workforce.

What’s the future for the Lancashire economy?

Lancashire has retained a broad ranging manufacturing capability which offers significant opportunities for the post Brexit and post COVID future. Growth in manufacturing will be driven by high value product manufacture, improved productivity through the adoption of digital technologies and a move toward greater sustainability in products and processes. The availability of high-class training through Lancashire based colleges and universities will help secure long-term employment for the Lancashire workforce.

The future of the Lancashire economy will ultimately be driven by our ability to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid changes in technology and markets.

 

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