A manufacturer of environmentally friendly household cleaning products has created new jobs and is forecasting significant growth, after investing in new technology with the support of Made Smarter.
Organica UK, based in Birkenhead, is one of dozens of SME chemical manufacturers capitalising on the opportunities that digitisation offers through the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the increased use of digital technologies.
Through impartial expert technology advice and match funding on technology projects, digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps, a leadership programme, digital technology internships, and skills development, the programme is helping businesses in the sector increase productivity, achieve sustainable growth, and create new high-value jobs.
Organica makes environmentally friendly household cleaning products such as washing-up liquid, laundry detergents, fabric conditioner, and cleaning sprays for leading supermarket brands.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the business has experienced a growing demand for its products and needed to increase production capacity, and improve how it manages resources.
Working with Made Smarter, it invested in two data-driven technology projects. The first used Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors to capture the volumes of ingredients going into and coming out of its blending tanks, the number of bottles being filled, capped and labelled on the filling lines, and the number of boxes on the packaging lines.
By introducing real-time monitoring and analytics Organica was able to make data-driven decisions that increased productivity by 20%, reduced energy consumption by 10% and reduced waste by 20%.
It laid the foundations for a second project to adopt a bespoke, cloud-based ERP solution to improve how it keeps track of orders, production and stock.
Organica forecasts that it will make its production processes 25% more efficient, reducing energy consumption by 10% per ton of product and reducing waste by up to 20%.
The business has now created eight new jobs and is expected to increase turnover from £5m to £8m.
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.”
To drive the adoption of digital technology among the North West’s chemical industry, which is valued at £10bn, Made Smarter has produced a free guide to help demystify digitalisation.
The downloadable document includes topics such as how digital tools can help tackle key business challenges including: achieving consistent quality, complying with regulations, managing waste and pollution, identifying supply chain trends, and supporting production planning.
Donna Edwards, North West Adoption Programme Director at Made Smarter, said, “The North West is made up of hundreds of chemical makers who create a variety of products which impact virtually every aspect of our lives, such as soap, paint and fuel.
“The sector is adopting digital technologies at a faster rate than other sectors in a race to stay competitive, adapt to strict quality standards, compliance and reporting responsibilities, and reduce its environmental impact through waste and emissions.
“However, in highly regulated manufacturing, jumping feet first is very risky and upgrading to new technologies can seem like a complex and daunting task.
“To help demystify digitalisation and help SMEs to their first step, we have produced some crucial guidance as well as explained why implementing digital tools is such a priority in this sector.”
Made Smarter is also forging a partnership with the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), the leading national trade association representing chemical and pharmaceutical companies, including key clusters in the North West, North East, and Yorkshire and Humber.
Commending the impact of the programme, Ian Cranshaw, Head of Regional Affairs for the CIA, said, “The success of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West has demonstrated the value of targeted support for SME manufacturers to help them take those first steps on their digitalisation journeys. The rollout of the innovative programme to the West Midlands, North East, and Yorkshire and the Humber regions, expands that support to other key UK chemical clusters.
“At the Chemical Industries Association we have been studying the impact and potential of digitisation for some time, having set out our latest thinking in our Digitisation in the Chemical Industry report. Investment in digital technologies for plants is increasing. However there are several key barriers preventing faster and more widespread adoption and in order to overcome these, we have urged the Government to implement the findings of the Made Smarter review.”
To download the free guide visit: https://www.madesmarter.uk/resources/guide-the-challenging-world-of-chemical-manufacturing/