Digital technology specialists have been appointed across the West Midlands to boost productivity and growth as part of the £1.9 million Made Smarter programme.
The five experienced digital experts will be sharing their knowledge to improve the digital skills of employees to make a difference to the day-to-day operations of small and medium-sized manufacturing and engineering businesses through a variety of ways including reducing costs, improving manufacturing times or helping to win more overseas contracts.
The region is divided into six Growth Hub areas. The Marches will be covered by Digital Technology Specialist Barry Jones, Worcestershire by Martyn Mangan, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by Tim Kirby, the Black Country by Jit Gatcha, Coventry and Warwickshire by Paul Sullivan and Greater Birmingham will be covered by Paul, Martyn and Jit.
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 and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority and their strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
There are tens of thousands of people employed by small and medium-sized manufacturers in the West Midlands, and this digital support should help them and their employers adapt to new and smarter ways of working, securing jobs and businesses for the future.
After the devasting impact of the pandemic on our economy, it’s exactly this kind of support that will help our region’s businesses and the people they employ, recover and seize the new opportunities that digital technology provides.
Jit Gatcha has owned and run a number of businesses for the last 25 years and helped to launch the Innovation Product Development Centre at the University of Wolverhampton before leading the ground-breaking Advanced Engineering Cluster project for the i54 technology corridor which included helping clients to launch new products internationally and working on augmented and virtual reality technology.
In 2011, Jit set-up a business consultancy offering a range of services including new product development, change management and mentoring, working with companies ranging from BMW to Tata. He said:
Made Smarter is a programme that can provide much-needed support in the digitalisation of manufacturing.
When we look at where the UK stands globally in manufacturing, we are eighth globally and third in Europe with three per cent of the world’s global manufacturing output.
The UK is the leader in Artificial Intelligence in Europe, with over 200 SMEs in this field compared to Germany’s 81 and 50 in France and the Nordics.
SMEs that move forward with the adoption of technology will thrive and the ones that don’t will struggle in this changing business environment which is why we want businesses to be perfectly placed to make the most of emerging digital tools.
Jaspal Sohal, Director of Black Country LEP Growth Hub, said:
This is an important business support programme for the manufacturing sector. Adoption of industrial digital technologies can often seem incredibly daunting and expensive, yet the benefits of increased productivity and reduced costs in the long term can be significant.
With an experienced and dedicated digital transformation advisor available to companies in the Black Country, we urge all eligible businesses to apply at the Black Country Growth Hub or directly at MadeSmarter.uk.
To register and find out more information, please visit http://bit.ly/MadeSmarterWestMidlands