15 July, 2024

National awards programme launched by Made Smarter

10 July, 2024

Made Smarter, an initiative connecting manufacturers with technology and skills, has launched a national awards programme to recognise digital transformation among SME manufacturers. The Made Smarter Adoption Awards aim to celebrate companies that have embraced technology and skills to digitalise, decarbonise, and drive growth.

Winners have been selected from regional adoption programmes in the North West, West Midlands, North East, and Yorkshire and Humber. The regional winners advancing to the national awards include:

Firstplay Dietary Foods, a specialist food manufacturer based in Stockport, won the Made Smarter North West award.

Bridge Cheese, a cheese manufacturer based in Telford, won the Made Smarter West Midlands award.

heliguy, a drone manufacturer based in North Shields, won the Made Smarter North East award.

Choc Affair, a chocolatier based in York, won the Made Smarter Yorkshire and Humber award.

These companies will now compete in the national awards, with the overall winner to be announced in Liverpool on 27 June.

Brian Holliday, Co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission, commented on the awards’ launch, stating: “The Made Smarter Awards celebrate digital transformation among SME manufacturers. It is with great pride that we see these inaugural awards taking place this year. I congratulate all winners and nominees across the regions as we celebrate the successes the Made Smarter adoption programme has supported.”

He highlighted the programme’s impact, including the creation of thousands of new jobs, the adoption of multiple digital technologies, and the empowerment of future digital leaders through skills and leadership training. Holliday also noted the planned expansion of the programme into more regions in 2025, aiming to boost manufacturing productivity, increase exports, strengthen UK supply chains, create new value streams, and reduce CO2 emissions.

In the North West, Firstplay Dietary Foods won the award for the Greater Manchester area, with other area winners including Weaver Dane Ltd (Cheshire), McMenon Engineering Services Ltd (Cumbria), Logs Direct Ltd (Lancashire), and Spice Kitchen Online Ltd (Liverpool). Tom Fletcher, Managing Director of Firstplay Dietary Foods, praised the support from Made Smarter, saying it helped create a digital roadmap, invest in automation, and embed new digital leadership skills.

In the North East, heliguy won the North East LEP Combined Authority area award, while The Expanded Metal Company, based in Hartlepool, won the Tees Valley Combined Authority area award. Sam Barnes, Product Development Manager at heliguy, noted the significant impact of Made Smarter on their business, including funding for machinery and engagement with training programmes.

In Yorkshire and Humber, Choc Affair won the North Yorkshire area award, with other area winners including JW Rose Bakers (South Yorkshire), Kirkstall Precision Engineering (West Yorkshire), and Detech Europe (East Yorkshire). Julian Barrie, Managing Director of Choc Affair, highlighted the ease of the process with Made Smarter and the invaluable support and financial assistance received.

In the West Midlands, Bridge Cheese won the Marches area award, with other area winners including D.A.R.L Engineering (Coventry and Warwickshire), Advanced Innovative Engineering (UK) (Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire), Reynolds Blinds (Greater Birmingham and Solihull), Metal Assemblies (The Black Country), and G&O Springs (Worcestershire). Michael Harte, Managing Director of Bridge Cheese, emphasised the role of Made Smarter in enabling and accelerating their business’s growth through investment in new technology and the creation of a digital roadmap.

The national awards programme by Made Smarter showcases the commitment and progress of SME manufacturers in adopting digital technologies and skills to enhance their operations and drive future growth.



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