Manufacturers in Rochdale recently got the chance to find out more about the £20m Made Smarter business support programme in the North West designed to boost productivity and drive growth through the adoption of new technologies and design processes.
Hosted at Crystal Door’s manufacturing facility, 25 innovative Rochdale manufacturing companies from a wide range of sectors attended the event which was held last week. They got to hear from John Searle, Chief Executive of Rochdale Development Agency, Paul Halliday and Martin Hyman from the GC Business Growth Hub and Steve Cleaver from Made Smarter.
Issues discussed included how Rochdale SMEs can fulfil growth ambitions and develop competitiveness through new technologies, and the wide range of support, advice, funding and guidance which is available via both the Growth Hub and the Made Smarter North West pilot programme.
Those in attendance also got to see digital manufacturing technology in action with a tour of the Crystal Doors factory. Led by Crystal Doors Managing Director Richard Hagan, visitors saw how the company already utilises highly advanced robotics and other ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies to gain massive efficiencies in their production process.
Richard Hagen, who helped to launch the Made Smarter programme last year alongside Siemens’ Chief Executive Juergen Maier, said: “Adopting digital technology such as automation within my business allowed us to leap frog the competition. The efficiencies such processes bring impacted massively on our bottom line, and I would encourage any Greater Manchester manufacturer, from any sector, to explore how business initiatives like Made Smarter North West could change the way they work.”
John Searle, Chief Exec of Rochdale Development Agency, said: “It was great to see so many local manufacturers coming together to find out more about the range of support available, and to learn from one another.
“It was a useful forum where many of them realised that the issues they are facing in their own business, are very similar to those in others – even where the products are very different.
“The business support from available is vital to these organisations and through working with them and the Rochdale Development Agency we can improve productivity and increase job numbers.”
Steve Cleaver from Made Smarter said: “I have been working with businesses across Greater Manchester to understand the barriers to technology adoption. The event in Rochdale raised the same challenges. The North West Made Smarter North West pilot will help businesses to overcome the barriers by providing specialist advice and match funding.”