A project to help West Midlands manufacturing and engineering firms adopt the latest technology has seen more than £10 million in value generated since its launch last summer.
Made Smarter is a £1.9 million scheme which helps SMEs in the manufacturing and engineering sectors utilise new digital technology and equip them for the future.
And figures from WMG, University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) show the total three-year Gross Value Added (GVA) to companies signing up to the scheme has already reached £11.7 million from a grant spend of just over £200,000.
The news follows Made Smarter having more than 175 companies sign up to receive support, with 200 sign-ups on the horizon.
Businesses that sign up to Made Smarter first receive a visit from experts from either WMG or the MTC, who look at the company’s operations and advise what technology could help them move forward.
A ‘digital roadmap’ is then produced, showing clear steps the company needs to take to get there. Businesses then receive further technical support from the experts to plan, develop or implement these changes.
Advice is also given from one of Made Smarter’s digital technology specialists for each Growth Hub area, who can point the company in the right direction for grant funding and other forms of support.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with the region’s other Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with WMCA and their strategic partners Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and WMG, at the University of Warwick.
Nasar Jockey, Principal Engineer at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “To have reached these three-year GVA figures in such a short space of time is fantastic news, and shows just how much impact Made Smarter is having.
“Having digital experts visit businesses directly, recommend new technologies to adopt and help them with applying for grants makes such a difference compared to businesses that try to go it alone.
“We are confident that we, along with the MTC, can help West Midlands firms reach more than of £15 million in three-year GVA by the end of March, and we are looking forward to visiting further businesses to help them on their Made Smarter journey.”
And Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, added: “These superb GVA figures prove Made Smarter is making a real difference to the success of manufacturing and engineering SMEs in the West Midlands.
“Thanks to the expertise of WMG, the MTC and our digital experts, firms signing up to Made Smarter are reaping the rewards, and we would encourage those who have not signed up to get in touch with the team.”