New chair to help firms get Smart

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By LUCY ROUE

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

An­drea Thomp­son

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