Made Smarter, a national movement which is helping SME manufacturers in the North West to adopt digital technologies, has appointed Glyn Jones as the new chair of its steering group. Based in BAE Systems’ air business in Lancashire, Mr Jones is the delivery director for the Tempest programme leading a team of circa 1,000 engineers and manufacturers developing technology and options for UK’s next generation combat air system
Born in Crewe and educated in Liverpool, he has been with BAE System for more than 30 years’ working on many of the leading military and civil aircraft programmes, including the F-35 Lightning II and Eurofighter Typhoon.
He replaces Andrea Thompson, managing director for Europe & International business at BAE Systems Air, as chair of the steering group which will oversee the development and delivery of the Made Smarter adoption programme in the region.
The board, which features 15 representatives drawn from manufacturing firms from around Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region, will also monitor progress of the adoption pilot and help inform the proposed national roll-out of the Made Smarter movement.
Mr Jones said: “As someone who is very much a product of the North West the prospect of helping businesses across the region runs through the core of me. I have spent my career introducing new technology and digital capability and seen the considerable benefits they can bring. I am energised and optimistic about the opportunity Made Smarter brings to SME manufacturers.
“Since Made Smarter launched it has delivered a programme which has made a significant difference to a number of the region’s SME manufacturers, but the coronavirus pandemic means we face significant new challenges in terms of production processes, workforce and supply chain constraints.
“Technology has been at the heart of the response to these challenges, whether that is finding new ways of working during the restrictions we have been operating under, or using our capabilities to rapidly produce parts for ventilators or protective equipment for those on the frontline tackling the virus.
“This ability to use technology to adapt and respond is critical and Made Smarter is needed more than ever to help SMEs maintain that competitive edge by adopting technology and rebounding from the current situation even stronger than they are today.”
Made Smarter offers a range of support for manufacturing SMEs including: expert impartial advice and one-to-one support; matched funding for technology and digital tools, digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business; eight-month leadership and management training programmes offered in partnership with Lancaster University; and fully funded Digital Technology Internships.
Donna Edwards, Made Smarter programme director, said: “I would like to thank Andrea Thompson for the significant contribution she has made to Made Smarter since it launched in November 2018.
“Her extensive international experience across key manufacturing sectors has helped deliver transformative change to significant numbers of SME manufacturers in the region.
“Glyn is a fantastic replacement as chair of the steering group and a valuable addition to the wider Made Smarter network of key business leaders we have brought together to continue to develop and drive this project through an extremely challenging time.
“I look forward to working with him and other board members in our continued efforts to boost the North West’s economy through the adoption of new technologies especially during these difficult times.
“Manufacturing has been at the forefront in our fight against the pandemic and technology has proven to be its backbone.”