New chair to help firms get Smart
A MULTI-MILLION pound regional initiative to help the manufacturing sector become more digital has appointed a female chairman to its steering board.
Made Smarter will be directed by Andrea Thompson, managing director for Europe and International Programmes at BAE Systems.
In her role as Chair of the Made Smarter steering group she will oversee the successful development and operational delivery of the programme.
Joining her on the board, which features more than a dozen representatives drawn from manufacturing firms from across the North West will be Alan Purvis from Salford design and manufacturing firm Mettler Toledo Safeline and Andrea Hough from Worsleybased AT Engine Controls.
Alan and Andrea will help to monitor progress of the pilot project and report on learnings which will help to inform the proposed national roll-out of the Made Smarter concept.
Other outputs will include the ongoing promotion of Made Smarter locally, regionally and nationally, and the strengthening of relationships between Made Smarter and other partners working across the advanced manufacturing agenda in the North West.
Andrea said: “Having spent many years working in global industries like engineering, automotive and aerospace I know how respected and admired the North West of England’s manufacturing tradition is.
“However, much of this is down to the legacy of the first industrial revolution which started in this region. With Made Smarter we now have a real opportunity to kick-start a new era of technologyled manufacturing, driven by innovative and ambitious SMEs, throughout the whole of the North West.
“I am relishing the opportunity to helping shape and develop this exciting project which has the potential to transform the region’s industrial economy.”
Backed by government and big businesses the Made Smarter North West programme is set to engage with 3,000 SME manufacturers based in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region to boost productivity. Companies that get involved in the project will get the chance to access match-funded support and advice regarding how new technologies could revolutionise their manufacturing processes and reap the benefits of more efficient production. Around 600 North West manufacturing SMEs will also qualify for more intensive business support, gaining access to matchfunded grants, bespoke consultancy, mentoring and other resources which will help them to accelerate commercial growth. Mettler Toledo Safeline’s Alan Purvis said: “All manufacturers can improve business performance by designing smarter products which can be produced in smarter factories, but we all need to work out how to take advantage of digital tools to raise productivity and collaborate across complex supply chains. The Made Smarter pilot is a great opportunity to accelerate this process in the NW.” It is anticipated that by becoming a test-bed for new types of technologies and advanced processes, the region’s manufacturing sector could generate a 25 per cent increase in productivity and add £115m to the North West economy. Andrea Thompson, chair, Made Smarter