Launch of a program to help businesses in the region increase their productivity through technology

A SCHEME to help increase the productivity of manufacturing and engineering SMEs has been launched in Warwickshire.

Made Smarter has launched a £ 1.9million digital adoption campaign to boost the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in the county.

Digital experts will provide advice to companies on how to move to advanced and automated technologies, as well as improving the overall digital skills of employees.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Business Partnership Growth Center (CWLEP) is leading the one-year program with counterparts in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Centers, Black Country, Worcestershire Business Central, The Marches, of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working with the WMCA and their partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) in Coventry to leverage the expertise of their digital manufacturing specialists.

Craig Humphrey, CEO of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said there are potentially 14,500 manufacturing SMEs in the region that could benefit from the National Made Smarter Movement.

He said: “All the growth centers in the West Midlands are working together to reach out to SMEs in our regions who will benefit from this practical help.

“Digital technology can seem daunting and with the daily efforts of owners and management teams to keep their businesses operating during the pandemic, this type of activity needs to be pushed to the high end of their priorities.

“But we believe helping SMEs in advanced manufacturing and engineering to operate more efficiently is essential for their long-term future success.

“The Growth Centers will assess each company that applies to ensure that we provide them with the kind of specialist support they need, which in Coventry and Warwickshire could be in the areas of robotics and automation, and artificial intelligence since we work with WMG and MTC.

“We will then help SMEs to develop an action plan for the adoption of digital technology in their own detailed roadmap, which could involve participating in a leadership training program, being offered an internship. student or receive a matching grant.

“The National Made Smarter Movement aims to attract SMEs that are not often reached by mainstream business programs and services, by transforming digital tools within their businesses, which in addition to developing their workforce and creating jobs , will benefit the regional economy. “

Charlotte Horobin, Regional Director of Make UK for the Midlands and East of England, said: “The rollout of the Made Smarter Adoption program in the West Midlands is great news for manufacturers, and we and our members are congratulate.

“Our 2020 Innovation Monitor highlighted that 18% of West Midlands manufacturers are not embracing industrial digital technologies, which we hope the program will help address. Digital adoption will be key to boosting productivity emerging from the current COVID crisis, creating more well-paying jobs and supporting the region’s competitiveness. “

Professor David Greenwood, CEO of the WMG HVM Catapult Center, added: “Digitization for small businesses requires a different approach than large businesses. It’s not about buying multi-million pound software systems – it’s about improving tools for design, manufacturing, digitizing existing facilities and equipment, and integrating into line-of-business systems. supply.

“We are delighted to bring the expertise of WMG and High Value Manufacturing Catapult to help transform the productivity of SMEs that are so essential to the West Midlands regional economy. “

Neill Smith, manager of manufacturing support services at the Manufacturing Technology Center, said the Made Smarter program complements its ongoing work to help manufacturing SMEs increase productivity, build resilience, increase competitiveness and develop their activity.

He said: “We are helping introduce digital systems for SMEs, which capture the right information at the right time, to enable them to make the right decisions and run their businesses more efficiently.

“From assisting in the adoption of process control automation, robotics and digitization tools, to helping SMEs with data or systems integration and adoption of reality tools augmented and virtual, we help companies use digital data to drive CNC equipment in the latest manufacturing methods.

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