From education to employment

Fast-track leadership programme to create digitally-empowered SME manufacturers

Made Smarter - LtoR Dr Ann Mulhaney, MMU, Ruth Hailwood Made Smarter, Mandy Parkinson, MMU

Made Smarter has launched a new fast-track leadership programme to help North West SME manufacturers accelerate their digital transformation.

In just three months, the ‘Leading Digital Transformation’ programme will turn participants into digitally-informed, empowered leaders, armed with a bespoke digitalisation strategy.

The funded solution has been designed by Made Smarter’s North West Adoption Programme, the government-funded industry-led initiative to increase technology adoption among SME manufacturers, and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

It will be delivered through a blend of face-to-face workshops, online webinars, case studies and site visits to smart factories, including Print City, MMU’s 3D additive and digital manufacturing hub, where participants will see technology in action.

Heading up the programme is Dr Ann Mulhaney, Senior Enterprise Fellow for the Centre for Enterprise at MMU, an expert in organisational transformation, strategy and innovation, leading change and employee engagement.

Leaders will walk away with a set of practical tools, a strategy for digital transformation and an offer to access further support from Made Smarter, including funding for new technology.

The new programme is available by application to manufacturing businesses with less than 250 employees, a turnover less than £36M or balance sheet less than £18M, and a significant part of their operations based in the North West.

With places limited, it builds on the success of Made Smarter’s trailblazing leadership initiative which launched in 2019 and went on to equip 60 business leaders with the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing.

Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter’s North West Adoption Programme, said:

“Manufacturing leaders have endured an incredibly difficult few years, steering a course through the pandemic and facing up to new challenges such as rising energy prices, supply chain disruption and labour shortages. 

“Technology and a digital strategy is important for SME leaders so they are better equipped to deal with current and forthcoming challenges and opportunities. 

“The Made Smarter leadership programme was the first of its kind and developed a generation of digital leaders. We are confident that our new fast-track, funded Leading Digital Transformation programme will have an even greater impact, supporting a new generation of leaders to make the most of opportunities that digital transformation can offer.”

Ruth Hailwood, Made Smarter’s Organisation and Workforce Development Specialist Adviser, said:

“After four years with our finger on the pulse of manufacturing, Made Smarter understands what SME leaders want and need. 

“This programme focuses on strategy and how to identify critical priorities for taking a business forward, as well as highlighting where digital tools can help. It examines the business from the top floor to the shop floor, capturing real perspectives about their readiness for digital transformation.

“It has been designed to be flexible for manufacturing leaders to fit around their busy schedules, allowing them to take time out of their business to reflect on the bigger picture and share ideas, experiences and opportunities with their peers in manufacturing.”

Mandy Parkinson, Director of Centre for Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University, said:

“MMU is delighted to collaborate with Made Smarter on this new leadership programme which will provide fast, focused support to business leaders at such a critical time. 

“Since 2015, we have supported more than 2,000 SMEs in areas including growth, innovation and resilience and we are looking forward to seeing the difference our range of expertise will make to more businesses across the region.”

Registration to join the programme, which starts on March 30th, is now open.
For more details on the visit:

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