Data tech adoption driving Liverpool SME manufacturers’ growth ambitions

SME manufacturers in the Liverpool City Region are using data and system integration technology as the driving force behind their digital transformation and growth ambitions, new analysis from Made Smarter reveals.

More than a third (21) of the 55 technology projects supported by Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme focussed on digital technologies which connect disparate systems and unify data residing in different sources.

As a result of integrating systems and consolidating data sources, business leaders have achieved real-time visualisation of their processes, been able to spot trends in production and labour, correct maintenance and quality issues, and minimise safety, business risk and operational downtime throughout their production. 

One in three are adopting robotics and process control automation, while others are investing in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), using sensors to collect critical production data to gain valuable insights about the efficiency of operations. Adopting additive manufacturing to reduce waste and fast track prototyping, and immersive technologies are also a focus of attention from some manufacturers. 

And, early adopters who have already captured data are now focused on analytics and artificial intelligence to get more insight and value from their manufacturing operations.

Among those reaping the benefits are Organica UK, a Birkenhead-based manufacturer of environmentally friendly household cleaning products for leading supermarket brands. They invested in data-driven technology projects which introduced real-time monitoring and analytics. As a result, they were able to increase productivity by 20% and reduce energy consumption and waste.

Organica UK, a Birkenhead based manufacturer of environmentally friendly household cleaning products for leading supermarket brands

Noel Doyle, Technical Director, said, “We have always been proactive and positive about the challenges and opportunities in digitalising, but Made Smarter support has enabled us to really hone our vision. 

“We have created a digital roadmap, brought in new skills, and fast-tracked our adoption of the right technologies we need to overcome our challenges and barriers to growth. We are now able to monitor and manage production on a scale that has so far not been possible.”

Alain Dilworth, Programme Manager for the Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme, said, “Data and analytics are central to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, so it is encouraging that so many of this region’s makers are embracing the opportunities that these tools offer.

“Capturing the data from across their processes and bringing it all together in one place is a vital first step for many manufacturers looking to solve problems and recognise opportunities. It also becomes a platform for the next step, one which some are already taking, is to analyse the data using artificial intelligence.

“Over the last four years Made Smarter has supported 2,500 businesses with grant funding, skills training and leadership advice. We are keen to start more conversations with SME manufacturers about how we can help them.”

Main image: Organica UK, a Birkenhead based manufacturer of environmentally friendly household cleaning products for leading supermarket brands

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