CUMBRIAN manufacturers have helped Made Smarter’s trailblazing technology adoption programme in the North West mark its third anniversary by reaching a major milestone.

The programme has now match funded 200 businesses, supporting them to drive growth and decarbonise through digitalisation.

This includes 25 SME manufacturers in Cumbria who have secured £560k matched funding for 30 projects, worth £1.9M after private sector investment.

These investments are forecasting the creation of 79 new jobs and 166 upskilled roles, and are forecast to deliver an additional £19.75M in gross value added (GVA) for the Cumbrian regional economy over the next three years.

Among the latest wave of manufacturers starting their journey to use technology to benefit their business, their bottom line and the environment are Stramongate Press and English Lakes Ice Cream.

Kendal Nutricare, based in Kendal, a manufacturer of nutrition products including infant formulas and baby cereals, used Made Smarter's digital internship programme to prove the business case for employing a data analyst to harness the value of the data being produced in its factory, both in terms of the machinery, processes, and energy consumption.

Grant Remington, Projects & Contracts Manager, said: "The internship through Made Smarter was a roaring success. He analysed our site data highlighting areas to improve. Made Smarter then supported us to invest in a data and systems project for a new ERP system to control the site, monitor stock levels and give the business an enriched way to forecast, which we have started to implicate.”

Since launching in 2018, Made Smarter has engaged with 1,381 businesses from every corner of the region to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth, navigate Covid-19, and tackle climate change.

Across the wider North West, Made Smarter’s £4.6M matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16M after private sector investment, will potentially create 1,177 new jobs, 2,205 upskilled roles, and an additional £192.9M in GVA.

Over 80% of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, while others have benefited from increase in revenue and exports, job creation and providing new skills to workforces, as well as improved visibility and enhanced integration with supply chains. More than 25% reduced their carbon emissions, while others cut energy bills, reduced waste, and became more environmentally sustainable.

Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said: “Over the last three years we have worked extremely hard to drive digital technology usage among makers across the North West. We have engaged with 1,381 SMEs in the region to help them start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.