​Textile manufacturers in Cumbria are being urged to adopt digital tools to drive sustainability and growth.

Made Smarter, the technology adoption programme, is urging textile manufacturers to adopt to changes in the industry.

125 companies from the sector based in the North West, including 12 in Cumbria, are embracing change by tapping into impartial expert technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help them take their first steps, a leadership programme, digital technology internships, and skills development support.

Among those tapping into Made Smarter support are Oubas Knitwear, a manufacturer of knitted textiles, garments and accessories based in Ulverston; and Cumbria Embroidery & Print, a manufacturer of corporate and personalised workwear uniforms and leisurewear, based in Barrow.

Kate Stalker, Director of Oubas Knitwear, said: "As a business it is important that we continually strive to improve our design, manufacturing and business processes. New technology and skills will play a big part in that.

"We embarked on Made Smarter's Digital Transformation Workshop to access the fully funded help to take stock of our current situation and explore how technology can overcome some of our challenges. It was a valuable exercise that has given us a digital roadmap and vision for the future."

Commending the impact of the Made Smarter programme, Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), which brings together a network of 2,500 designers, manufacturers, agents and retailers, 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 UK fashion and textile industry has a worldwide reputation for originality, quality, and innovation, combining skilled design and craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. To continue building on this achievement and ensure the UK remains competitive against global competition, manufacturers need to embrace current and emerging technologies, and the huge potential digitisation offers, as well as to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in our sector to the highest level."

Made Smarter has produced a free guide to help businesses in the sector at madesmarter.uk/resources/guide-textile-manufacturing-how-digital-transformation-is-securing-a-sustainable-future/.