Wirral is set to benefit from new jobs and growth after backing from Made Smarter, the pioneering technology adoption programme.
An initiative launched in 2019 and led by the industry and funded by the government assists businesses in digitizing, decarbonizing, and boosting their growth.
So far it has helped 13 manufacturers on the peninsula with grants towards technology projects worth £1.3M after investment from the businesses themselves.
The is forecast to create nearly 100 new employment opportunities, upskill 125 existing roles, and the contribution of an extra £9.6M in gross value added (GVA) to the Wirral economy over the following three years.
The latest Wirral business to secure support is Microspec, based in Bromborough, manufacturers of microbiological consumables, based in Bromborough.
Microspec has increased its production capacity and decreased energy consumption and expenses by investing in a completely automated production cell and an all-electric moulding machine, allowing the firm to maintain competitiveness.
Alan Christie, Director, said, “During and post pandemic we have experienced a huge upturn in the business and we have struggled to keep up with demand. In addition the current energy crisis has meant we urgently need to look at more energy efficient machines.
“The support from Made Smarter has allowed us to achieve this and has also substantially increased our production capacity ensuring that in the event of future pandemics Microspec will be able to provide more of required laboratory supplies and as a country we will be slightly less dependent on supplies from overseas.”
Meanwhile, SFL Mobile Radio, based in Bromborough, a communication device specialist, having already experienced the benefits of Made Smarter support, is continuing its digitalisation journey with further help from the programme.
Other Wirral businesses that have reaped the rewards of tech investment include: C.A.E. Services (Northern) Limited, Diamond Precision Engineering (Wirral) Limited, Heap and Partners, Machfab Engineering, Openhouse Products, Organica (UK), Parity Computers, Sandstone Wirral Ltd and GenerationJuice.
Commenting on the programme’s achievement, Donna Edwards, director of the North West adoption programme, said, “When we launched the Made Smarter adoption programme four years ago our ambition was to boost growth, productivity, efficiency and create high value, well paid jobs of the future, as well as play a vital role to help accomplish the UK’s aim of reaching net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
“Digital adoption is still rife and robust in the SME sector. It’s been great to see that so many firms have tapped into our expertise to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits. 2023 promises to be another busy year for Made Smarter.
“As trailblazers, we are tremendously proud of our achievements working together with the manufacturers we have supported, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels. More challenges lie ahead for manufacturers as they navigate a multitude of demands on their businesses, whilst also trying to keep up with the rapid pace of change. So, I would encourage any North West manufacturers who are wondering where to go next with technology to help manage their business more efficiently and sustainably to get in touch with the Made Smarter team.”
Across the rest of the city region, Made Smarter has helped 47 Liverpool-based businesses with £1.1M towards technology projects that are worth £4M. This will create more than 300 new jobs and boost GVA by £46M.
Made Smarter has helped manufacturers adopt technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, others are now using 3D-printing, automation and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.
By adopting cutting-edge technologies, these businesses are benefiting from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, an upskilled workforce, lower energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint.
By supporting many of these businesses to take their first steps towards digitalisation, Made Smarter is also paving the way for more advanced technologies coming quickly down the track such as the industrial metaverse.
Across the North West, Made Smarter has supported more than 2,500 businesses on their digitalisation journeys, offering fully funded support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital roadmapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, and skills development.
250 manufacturers have secured funding for 275 projects worth £18M, including £5M funded by Made Smarter and £13M from the businesses themselves.
Almost 1,300 new jobs are forecast to be created, 2,400 existing roles upskilled, and an additional £209M in GVA for the North West economy over the next three years.
Main image: Made Smarter