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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 Edge Hill University’s Manufacturing Connect.

How do you help Lancashire businesses?

Manufacturing Connect helps North West manufacturing SMEs understand digital business technologies, how these technologies can make business improvements, and how to tackle some of the common pitfalls during implementation.

Advice is provided by technology experts and manufacturing SMEs. Manufacturing Connect focuses on customer relationship management, material resource planning, and production planning technologies.

The programme provides SMEs with the confidence and knowledge to adopt digital technologies to boost their performance and productivity. The programme is a short and intensive to help SMEs quickly build confidence and a clear business case for adopting new digital technologies.

Why do Lancashire businesses need your support?

Whilst the range of digital technologies is proven to have a transformative effect on business performance and productivity, there are some very real and practical barriers which hold many SMEs back from taking the step to adopting:

  • Being confident on the ROI
  • Knowing which technology to select (in a crowded market of options)
  • Managing the change (in practices and mindset)
  • Minimising disruption

These are all real factors which businesses need to address and overcome. The impact on the business of not adopting digital technologies also needs to be given serious consideration.  Manufacturing Connect can also support SMEs to connect with funding schemes to help investment costs and with high quality, local technology specialists.

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

Coronavirus has highlighted the need for Lancashire businesses to be more flexible in order to remain resilient and to futureproof the business. Manufacturing Connect provides businesses with an understanding of how digital technologies enable a more flexible approach and lead to an improvement in operational efficiency. This supports Lancashire businesses to achieve growth, efficiency and an increase in productivity.

Lancashire manufacturing SMEs can learn from authentic manufacturing case studies and technology experts about the quantifiable benefits of adopting digital technologies and how they can overcome some of the economic challenges which coronavirus has created.

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

Many manufacturing businesses are experiencing problems and delays in their supply chain and it is difficult obtaining certain components which, in turn, causes delays in lead times. Seeking alternative suppliers is extremely time consuming which impacts on other aspects of the business. Brexit has also created challenges for some manufacturing companies, particularly for those which export their products or whose supply chain is based in Europe.

Some customers have been tightening their belts, particularly at year-end, which has led to a decrease in sales for some businesses. A level of uncertainty still exists and not knowing what the impact will be of the furlough scheme coming to an end is also another challenge.

What’s the future for the Lancashire economy?

Lancashire has a long history of manufacturing and of innovation. With the relevant support, the economy of Lancashire can recover and grow through building on its economic strengths.

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