Rochdale manufacturer stars in Made Smarter campaign to drive tech and skills adoption

Date published: 25 March 2022

A real-life manufacturer from Rochdale is the star of a new advertising campaign to increase technology adoption among businesses in the region.

‘For The Makers’ has been launched by the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, which works with small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers to help adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and digital skills to help boost productivity, drive sustainable growth and create new jobs.

The ads are being used as livery on 120 buses travelling across the region and will feature on digital billboards at key commuter locations.

They feature striking photographs and testimonials from ‘makers’ who have already reaped the rewards of Made Smarter since it was launched in 2018 including Richard Hagan from Crystal Doors in Rochdale.

Together with ads featuring other manufacturers in the region, the campaign aims to raise awareness and showcase the impact the government-funded, industry-led programme can have on SMEs who seek support.

Crystal Doors, a manufacturer of bespoke vinyl wrapped furniture components, worked with Made Smarter to create a digital roadmap, access digital interns, and technology projects to which are improving its efficiency, growth and sustainability.

Richard Hagan, managing director and owner, said: “Crystal Doors' digital transformation started with Made Smarter. From the first meeting, their insight and advice have been invaluable in refining our project to become as focused and impactful as it is today.

“By capturing data from all our operations, we can make informed decisions that enable a more efficient factory and positive for the environment. The support from Made Smarter catapulted us along our journey.”

450 manufacturers in Greater Manchester, including 45 from Rochdale, have so far benefited from support of the Made Smarter’s programme of fully-funded intensive support which includes grants for technology, expert, impartial technology advice, and digital transformation workshops to help take their first steps to transform their business.

Meanwhile, businesses have accessed digital technology internships which offer students and graduates paid placements to work on live technology projects, while current and future leaders have also developed the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing through the Made Smarter Leadership programme.

49 companies in Greater Manchester, including seven in Rochdale, have secured in excess of £1.1M matched funding for 63 projects, worth £3.8M after private sector investment, which are forecast to create 264 new jobs, upskill numerous roles, and deliver an additional £44.5M in gross value added (GVA) for the regional economy over the next three years.

These technologies are helping integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, to drive efficiencies and reduce waste. Other projects have introduced 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

But given Greater Manchester is home to more than 6,000 manufacturers, employing 110,000 people and generating £8bn of economic output each year*, Made Smarter is determined to extend its offer of support to the SMEs in this sector who often struggle to realise industry 4.0 transformation within their companies. 

Donna Edwards, Programme Director for Made Smarter North West said: “The positive impact that Made Smarter is having on Greater Manchester’s manufacturing businesses has been fantastic to see and we hope to replicate this across the North West.

“Our mission is to continue reaching out to the region’s SME manufacturers to connect them to the tools that will make an everyday difference to their businesses. The campaign celebrates the local business leaders that have started their digital journey with Made Smarter and used new technologies to grow their businesses.

“By showcasing their stories across Greater Manchester, we are communicating our key messages to those makers who may not be aware of our programme and what it could potentially offer their own businesses.”

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