Furniture makers help Made Smarter reach 250th tech milestone

Furniture manufacturers have helped Made Smarter’s pioneering technology adoption programme reach its 250th investment milestone.

Among the latest businesses to secure support from the government-funded and industry-led initiative are: 

  • Door And Window Systems (DAWS), based in Knowsley, a manufacturer of aluminium windows and doors; 
  • Edwards & Hampson, based in Bootle, manufacturers of unique and bespoke staircases; 
  • Northern Joinery, a bespoke staircase manufacturer in Whitworth; and 
  • Orb Interiors, based in Salford, manufacturers of kitchens for trade and retail.

Meanwhile, Multiwood Products, a kitchen door manufacturer based in Bury, who have already experienced the benefits of Made Smarter support, are taking the next step in their digitalisation journey.

Launched in 2019 to help businesses digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth, Made Smarter has supported 275 technology projects worth £18M, including 13M from the businesses themselves. 

Manufacturers are forecasting their investments will create almost 1,300 new jobs, upskill 2,400 existing roles, and deliver an additional £209M in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next three years.

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.

Door and Window Systems (DAWS), a door and window manufacturer based in Knowsley, Liverpool City Region, is forecasting significant growth after investing in software and systems integration tools.

With the help of Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshop process and support investing in digital tools, the business is forecasting rapid growth, increased market share and new jobs.

Julian Wetherall, Director of DAWS, said: “Our experience of Made Smarter has been incredible. The team has guided us through a complex process to invest in technologies which are having a huge impact on our business.”

Orb Interiors, based in Salford, invested in software to automate and streamline production.

Jose Ouaknin, Head of Production, said: “Made Smarter has supported a project which enabled us to digitalise a traditionally inefficient paper based process. Planning software optimises workflow, works orders are shared on tablet and we have live reporting giving us full visibility and traceability.

“Our investment has been transformative, reducing waste, identifying efficiency gains, increasing capacity by 30% and giving us more time to focus on growth areas. We have already been able to create a new job with more in the pipeline.”

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.

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.”

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