Bacon supplier Hall & Roberts (Provisions), long life doughnut manufacturer Simply Doughnuts, catering and food-to-go business Riverbank Catering and gin producer Shed 1 Distillery are working with Made Smarter to facilitate their digital transformations.
This follows news that UK food and drink manufacturers could soon benefit from a £20m round of funding for digital technology development from the Government.
Made Smarter has helped the four businesses to identify digital tools and technologies that can maximise operational processes and enhance business growth through its fully-funded workshop.
Each workshop is tailored to each business’s needs and involves two online sessions, a two-hour diagnostic of the business’s product, services, processes and people, and a one-hour ‘findings’ presentation to make recommendations for practical solutions to overcome business challenges.
Businesses gain a digital transformation strategy with recommended first steps, a technology roadmap and information about how to get further support from the programme – such as funding for digital tools.
‘Essential to cut costs’
Made Smarter technology expert Kevin Smith said: “The use of technologies is becoming essential in order to cut costs and enhance the customer experience. Without capitalising on digital tools, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) manufacturers risk getting left behind.
“A digital transformation workshop will ultimately help a business gain a competitive advantage. We take a holistic view of the business, and demonstrate the steps required in order to achieve a move to digital – it’s a quick way of gaining real, valuable insights.”
The new streamlined digital transformation workshops build on the success of the programme’s earlier face-to-face workshops and are better placed to succeed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West adoption pilot, added: “The challenges created by COVID-19 offered us an opportunity to review how we can best help SME manufacturers ensure digital is a key part of their business strategy and take that first step to digital transformation.
“Our face to face workshops were a huge success and have made a substantial difference to many of the region’s makers. I am delighted that we have been able to adapt by redesigning and streamlining the workshop process to make it simpler, faster and more effective, and deliver it online.”
The workshop will also identify other ways the Made Smarter programme can support a manufacturer’s transformation.
This includes the Made Smarter Leadership Programme delivered in partnership with Lancaster University, plus fully-funded digital technology internships to help implement projects. Made Smarter also offers specialist advice about workforce development and skills and funding for new digital tools and technologies – such as data and systems integration, robotics and automation, or additive manufacturing.
Smith concluded: “We have designed these workshops in a way that requires minimal time investment for manufacturers to turn the actions into results, while still allowing participants to focus on the day-to-day operations of the business.”