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Patrick Grant’s Cookson & Clegg manufacturer gets Made Smarter support

Tom Bottomley
13 July 2020

Blackburn-based clothing manufacturer Cookson & Clegg – owned by fashion designer and co-presenter of The Great British Sewing Bee TV show, Patrick Grant, has secured support from Made Smarter, the movement helping SME’s join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Made Smarter is the UK national industrial digitalisation movement to drive productivity and growth of manufacturing industries and put the UK at the forefront of the “4th Industrial Revolution.”

Backed by world-renowned businesses and working in partnership with the UK government, Made Smarter is out to make a real everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor.

The pilot scheme will help Cookson & Clegg introduce digital technology to help boost productivity and growth amid the COVID-19 impact. Other North West England based manufacturers to have secured the specialised advice and funding are workwear makers Creative Apparel in Stockport, and dance wear manufacturers, Roch Valley, in Heywood, Rochdale.

Cookson & Clegg managing director Patrick Grant, said: “With the support and advice of Made Smarter we have been able to pursue our ambitions of improving both productivity and cost control across our operations by adopting digital technology.

“Capturing data from the shop floor and being able to monitor it in real time is an exciting first step on our digital transformation journey.”

Almost 950 SME manufacturers have secured support so far, including specialised advice and £2.5m of funding, since the launch of Made Smarter 18 months ago.

Some 104 of the businesses have now secured matched funding for 115 projects and are forecast to deliver an additional £100m in gross value added (GVA) for the North West economy over the next three years.

Some manufacturers are developing projects using technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

By adopting cutting-edge technologies, the businesses benefit from improved productivity and revenue, increased exports and job creation, an upskilled workforce, lower energy bills, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Donna Edwards
Donna Edwards

Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, commented: “I am thrilled that so many firms of all sizes have tapped into our expertise to help them select the right approach for their business, how much to invest and which technologies will bring the greatest benefits.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on manufacturing and resulted in widespread repercussions for the economy. Manufacturers have reacted and adapted to the different circumstances they find their businesses facing and technology has been at the heart of that response.

“While there is uncertainty, what is clear is that Made Smarter is needed more than ever to help SMEs maintain their competitive edge using technology to come back smarter and navigate the future.”

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