AN historic valve maker has secured support from a programme helping businesses boost productivity and growth using digital tools.
Heap & Partners, a manufacturer and distributor of fluid control equipment from instrumentation products to process valves, is the latest business to sign up for support from the Made Smarter Adoption programme in the north-west.
The engineering firm, which dates back to the 1860s and is based in Birkenhead, Liverpool City Region, is aiming to introduce QR codes and cloud-based technology into its manufacturing process.
David Millar, managing director, said: "Made Smarter has supported us all the way with our project. Our hope is that the investment will accelerate our growth plans and create two new jobs.
"I would highly recommend any SME manufacturing or engineering business speak to Made Smarter.”
Since 2019 the government-funded and industry-led initiative has supported 161 businesses with £3.9m matched funding for 201 projects, leveraging £10.5m of private sector investment.
Some manufacturers are developing projects using emerging technologies that enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.
This transformative technology adoption is forecast to create 990 new jobs, upskill 1,845 existing roles, and deliver an additional £162.4M in gross value added (GVA) for the north-west economy.
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter Adoption programme in the north-west, said: “Surpassing the milestone of 200 funded technology projects is a significant achievement for the Made Smarter adoption programme in the north-west - and there is much more to come.
“Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing. Through it, the entire sector can reap endless rewards that will ultimately lead to considerable – and sustainable – growth. But upgrading to new technologies can seem like a complex and daunting task, and SMEs can miss out on significant improvements to their operations.
“Over the last two and half years we have developed a programme of wide-ranging support which cuts through the jargon to provide honest, impartial advice to help businesses identify the most effective digital tools, innovation and skills needed to make an everyday difference to their operations.
“I am delighted that so many manufacturing and engineering businesses of all sizes, from across all sectors, have realised the benefits of digital technology and would encourage other SMEs in the region to start their own conversation with us.”
Since 2019 Made Smarter has engaged with 1,266 businesses in the region to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth and navigate the impact of COVID-19.
618 manufacturers have received intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, a leadership programme, and funded digital technology internships.
Over 80 per cent of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, and more than 25 per cent reduced their carbon emissions. Businesses will also benefit from increased revenue, profits and exports, and lower energy bills.
Find out more about Heap & Partners Ltd on their member profile page here