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Made Smarter creates 60 digital leaders

SME manufacturers prepare for the challenges of a digital future with Leadership Programme

Posted on 25 Aug 2021 and read 1017 times
Made Smarter creates 60 digital leadersFive cohorts of SME manufacturing managers and directors, have now completed Made Smarter’s innovative Leadership Programme through the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), the University of Liverpool (UoL) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The programme encourages current and future leaders to develop a new way of looking at their business and create a clear strategy to enable the adoption of digital technology, including how that can drive the ‘net-zero agenda’.

It uses a blend of workshops delivered by academics and experts in digital and leadership, site visits to SME manufacturers already on the journey of adopting digital technology, facilitated-learning sessions, and special project ‘sprints’ to test new ideas.

The programme also leverages peer-to-peer coaching to create a trusted network of leaders, many of whom have remained in close contact.

With 60 SME leaders now empowered to transform their businesses, more manufacturers across the North West are now being encouraged to register their interest for the next two cohort intakes, starting on 7 October and 10 November at Lancaster University.

Donna Edwards, North West Made Smarter Adoption Programme director, said: “I am delighted that the Leadership Programme has helped create 60 new digital leaders by giving them time out of their business to reflect on the bigger picture and share ideas and experiences alongside their peers in manufacturing, before returning to their own business to develop a new digital strategy to create growth and efficiencies.

“They are among hundreds of manufacturers in the region grasping the opportunities offered by Made Smarter which include expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help take that first step to transform a business, funded digital technology internships and support with technology adoption projects.”

She added: “I would encourage SME manufacturers to make contact with Made Smarter to find out how we can help with leadership development, skills and how to adopt technology the right way.”

The programme, which takes place over eight months, includes seven workshops led by both academics delivering leading-edge thinking and business practitioners demonstrating adoption in real business settings.

Delegates will also embark on ‘sprints’ where they will test their ideas with other business leaders to build engagement and learn from each other.

Hugely influential

Sarah Poynter, Arden Dies operations manager, a die and tooling manufacturer based in Stockport, said the programme was hugely influential in helping her to prioritise and kick-start digital projects.

She said: “Through the programme I was able to identify several clear opportunities to make some significant changes which would bring benefit to the business. Furthermore, I was able to use the sprint approach to accelerate making those ideas a reality.

"One sprint was all about addressing a number of significant production issues relating to an existing product line which demanded very short turnaround times, high volumes and quality specifications. By automating large parts of the process we were able to accelerate the end-to-end process.

"While some of the sprints are still in play, they have been game-changing through reduced wastage, increased agility, quality and improved delivery performance."

Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said: “When we co-created the Leadership Programme with Made Smarter, our hope was to create a space for leaders to build their confidence, capacity and capability, to identify, test and adopt new technologies.

“It is clear from the feedback from so many of the leaders from the five cohorts who have now embarked on this programme that they have reaped great benefit from taking vital time away from the business to develop a strategy to adopt new digitally-based manufacturing techniques into their own production processes while bringing staff and other stakeholders along on their digital transformation journey.”

Registration for the next Leadership Programme is now open. For more information or to apply for a place on the next cohort visit the website (www.madesmarter.uk).