Skip to content

19 North West manufacturers win gold for digitalisation

Nine Greater Manchester SMEs are among the first ever gold-winning recipients of the Made Smarter Awards, launched to celebrate excellence in manufacturing and digital transformation.

The inaugural awards have been unveiled by the pioneering Made Smarter programme to mark its fourth anniversary of helping SME manufacturers to digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth through adopting digital technology.

158 award winners have been recognised in total for their committed approach to digital transformation, with bronze, silver or gold certifications awarded depending on their engagement and advocacy of Made Smarter.

The first 19 gold award holders include nine Greater Manchester manufacturers:

  • Mackinnon and Saunders, a puppet-maker based in Altrincham that has embraced the latest developments in additive manufacturing
  • The Bury Black Pudding Company, a food company in Bury on a mission to create the world’s first ‘smart black pudding factory’
  • Crystal Doors, a manufacturer of bespoke vinyl-wrapped furniture in Rochdale that was paired with a graduate intern to establish a network of sensors to gain insights on machines
  • MSM Aerospace Fabricators, a Middleton-based manufacturer of aircraft components that has invested in digital twin technology to redesign its factory
  • Firstplay Dietary Foods, a food manufacturer in Stockport that increased production capacity ten-fold by investing in automation technology
  • Visual Architects, creative interiors specialist in Tameside that has invested in robotics to transform its manufacturing capability and bring the majority of production in-house
  • Atec Engineering Solutions, a Salford-based leader in electronic and electro-mechanical equipment that slashed its time-to-quote by correcting and centralising data
  • BEP Surface Technologies, a manufacturer of chill rolls in Radcliffe that is using virtual reality simulation to redesign its processes
  • Arden Dies, a die and tooling manufacturer based in Stockport that developed its own digital roadmap, took onboard two interns and invested in digital transformation leadership skills.

Commenting on the winners, Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme, said:

“Digital transformation can be hard, particularly in the current climate and given the challenges the sector has faced in recent years, so it is right we recognise the hard work, dedication and forward-thinking nature of these businesses and their employees. They have embraced digitalisation to become a leading example of UK manufacturing excellence.”

Made Smarter has now supported over 2,500 North West businesses since its launch in 2019 with impartial advice, digital transformation workshops, skills support, leadership training and grants towards technology projects.


For Greater Manchester manufacturers unsure of how to prepare for the exciting opportunities presented by digitalisation, our Manufacturing Service is an ideal stepping-stone. Speak to one of our specialist advisors today to learn more.

Share this post

GenAI-Powered Chatbot