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BusinessMade Smarter empowers 125 digital leaders

Made Smarter empowers 125 digital leaders

Made Smarter has selected 125 people to become ‘digital leaders’ via its innovative leadership programmes.

The participants enjoy varying manufacturing roles, from managers to production operatives.

Made Smarter is a government-funded industry-led initiative to increase technology adoption among SME manufacturers, offering funded access to its Leading Digital Transformation (LDT) programme and Leading Change for Digital Champions (LCDC) programmes.

LDT programme

LDT is delivered over three months with Manchester Metropolitan University. It blends face-to-face workshops, online webinars, case studies to see technology in action, and a site visit to PrintCity, Manchester Met’s 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre.

Since last year, the programme turned 34 delegates into digitally-informed, empowered leaders, with bespoke digitalisation strategies.

The latest companies to graduate from the LDT include are Colour Synthesis Solutions in Manchester and Massey & Harris in Stockport.

LCDC programme

LCDC is delivered using a bite-size, blended approach consisting of two face-to-face workshops, online coaching, a site visit to an SME manufacturer to see the impact of digital change first-hand, as well as a chance to see the latest digital technologies at an Amazon fulfilment centre.

The programme has so far created a network of 29 advocates to guide others and support the impactful and lasting changes digital technologies will bring.

This is in addition to the 62 business leaders equipped with new digital skills through Made Smarter’s trailblazing leadership initiative run between 2019 and 2023.

Manufacturers across the North West are now being encouraged to register their interest for the next series of programmes.

Alison Brooks, business manager at Massey & Harris, a playground equipment manufacturer, said: “The belief and confidence I have walked away with, both professionally and personally, is quite something. The programme was well led, engaging, full of useful information, and a real source for inspiration.

“Any fears I had about the programme being too technical disappeared from the first session and I was hooked. I was able to quickly ascertain where we were as a company, why we had previously failed in leading change, what we needed to do, when, and how. I was also able to implement changes immediately, improving communications and increasing the buy-in for the changes in the pipeline.

“I also really benefited from learning from her peers and visiting their factories. Although we are all at different stages, it is comforting that we share the challenges.”

Since launching in 2019 Made Smarter has supported 2,500 manufacturers in the North West to access expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help take that first step to transform a business, and support with technology adoption projects. It has also supported 284 businesses with skills and leadership advice and training.

Ruth Hailwood, Made Smarter’s organisation and workforce development specialist adviser, said: “Our Leading Digital Transformation programme and Leading Change for Digital Champions programmes work hand in hand to support SME manufacturers to take their entire organisation and people through digital transformation successfully and maximise the opportunities for their business.

“Ultimately, accelerating changes to leadership and skills within the industry, especially with SMEs, will make the biggest difference to achieving successful digital transformation and reaping the benefits for UK manufacturing economically, socially and environmentally.”

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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