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60 digital manufacturing leaders created through Made Smarter

Managers and directors from SME manufacturers across the North West are gaining the skills to pursue digital manufacturing through Made Smarter’s innovative Leadership Programme. 

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Five cohorts of participants have now completed the eight-month programme, which encourages business leaders to develop a new way of looking at their business and create a clear strategy to enable the adoption of digital technology.

Delivered through the Lancaster University Management School, the University of Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with Made Smarter, the programme involves workshops, site visits, facilitated learning sessions and project ‘sprints’ to test new ideas.

Among the first 60 graduates is Sarah Poynter, Operations Manager at Stockport-based die and tooling manufacturer Arden Dies, who said the programme was hugely influential in kick-starting digital projects:

“Through the programme I was able to identify several clear opportunities to make some significant changes which would bring benefit to the business. 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.”

Manufacturers are now being encouraged to register their interest for the next two cohort intakes, which start in October and November at Lancaster University.

Reflecting on the success of the programme so far, 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 hi-tech and digitally-based manufacturing techniques into their own production processes while bringing employees and other stakeholders along on their digital transformation journey.”


For more information or to apply for a place, visit

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