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Made Smarter: The journey to digital manufacturing conference

Join us to celebrate the UK manufacturing journey to advanced digital technologies.

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Fast forward digitalisation: Discover what digital could do for you on 10th March

Date: 10th March 2021
Time: 09.00-17.00
Registration has now closed

Make 2021 the year technology changes the way you do business and helps to make your organisation more resilient, more productive and ultimately more competitive. Join us at the journey to digital manufacturing conference on 10 March 2021.

Is the conference right for me?
The conference is aimed at anyone working in the UK manufacturing and engineering sector. Whatever you make, find out how your product or process could be Made Smarter. 

What can I expect?
- Hear from your peers about how they have implemented new technologies;
- Access tailored 1-2-1 impartial, expert business growth advice sessions;
- Gain practical steps to develop your digital manufacturing strategy; 
- Learn how new technologies have opened up new markets, products, and customers; 
- Take part in workshops to develop your leadership skills and receive tips and tools to start you on your digital journey; 
- See how digital tools have supported the resilience of local manufacturers. 

Agenda session themes
  • 09.00: Welcome

    Welcome and opening remarks to the Made Smarter Conference

  • Smarter insights with Andy Burnham, Mayor Greater Manchester City Region

    During this Key Note, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, will discuss the importance of the North West manufacturing sector, the role for digital technology in driving the growth of the sector, and the benefits technology is bringing to the North West economy.

    Andy Burnham was elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017. 

    Responsible for shaping the future of Greater Manchester, Andy’s priorities include ending rough sleeping, transforming Greater Manchester into one of the greenest city-regions in Europe, and making Greater Manchester a great place to live, get on, and grow old.

  • Smarter insights with Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor, Liverpool City Region

    During this session, Steve Rotheram, will discuss the importance of the manufacturing sector, and the benefits digital technology is bringing to the Liverpool City Region. He will highlight a selection of digital exemplars and outline digital growth initiatives currently taking place. 

    Steve Rotheram is the Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region. Since his election in 2017 he has overseen almost a billion pounds of investment in the region, delivered half-price bus travel for apprentices and played a prominent role in tackling the challenges of Coronavirus among other achievements. Steve launched the Made Smarter North West Adoption Pilot in 2018.

  • 09.50-11.00: How Made Smarter is powering the fourth industrial revolution

    Facilitated by:

    • Nick Peters, Executive Editor, UK Manufacturing Media Ltd t/a ZenootTV
    • Juergen Maier, Co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission and Chair of the Digital Catapult
    • Glyn Jones, Service Delivery Director at BAE Systems and Chair of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group
    • Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK and member of the Made Smarter Commission
    • Andrea Hough, MD of Atec Solutions and member of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group and Made Smarter Commission
    • Donna Edwards, Managing Director of the Growth Company and Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme Director
    • Matthew Ellis, Assistant Director of Made Smarter for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

    The events of 2020 really threw the spotlight on the manufacturing sector, with technology proving particularly crucial in helping businesses maintain and pivot their operations, and respond to fluctuating demand. This panel session will see us hear from Made Smarter manufacturing leaders, who will reflect on the importance of digital and the benefits that makers have experienced by embracing new technologies. The panel will also explore the insights that brought about Made Smarter itself, along with how the North West has been leading the way in digital adoption and what the future holds. 

  • 11.00-12.00: The journey to digital: The manufacturers' perspective

    Facilitated by:

    • Jayne Moorby, Marketing Manager of Oxley Group

    Featuring real-life examples from manufacturing:

    • Keith Scobie-Youngs (Cumbria Clock Company)
    • Peter Saunders (MacKinnon and Saunders)
    • Rod Wah (Beverston Engineering)
    • Luke Walsh (Brainboxes).

    Get inspired by hearing real-life examples from manufacturers about the value technology has brought to their businesses. In this panel discussion, you’ll find out how other manufacturers set out on their own digital journey and overcame common barriers with support from Made Smarter, as well as their future plans for digital adoption. This interactive session will allow you to understand how digital technologies can work for your business. 

  • 12.00-12.40: Fast forward your digital journey: A taste of a digital transformation workshop

    Session led by:

    • Amy Edwards, Digital Transformation Specialist of Made Smarter
    • Kevin Smith, Digital Technology Specialist

    With insights from:

    • Andrea Kuehne (DRM Industrial Fabrics)
    • Ben Soper (Stead McAlpin & Company)

    If you’re interested in adopting the latest digital technologies but struggling to know where to start, then Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshops can help. We recognise that all manufacturers have unique requirements, so we designed our workshops to be tailored to your individual needs. We’ll build up a snapshot of your company at this particular moment in time, focusing on your products, services, people and processes. This practical session will give you a taster of the workshops and offer practical next steps on how your business can embark on its digital transformation journey.  

  • 13.00-14.00: Leading your business through digital change [Pre-registered and fully booked]

    Session led by:

    • Dr Randall Zindler, Academic at Lancaster University

    With insights from:

    • Dan Smith (Twin Fix) who benefited from the Made Smarter Leadership Programme.

    In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn about the importance of strong leadership – something that’s absolutely critical during periods of complexity and change. You’ll hear how you can enhance your capacity and capability. This will help increase your confidence when choosing the technologies that will enable you to remain competitive in the current uncertain environment. You’ll also discover the value of sharing ideas as part of a peer network, and have the opportunity to ask any questions. This session is only open to manufacturing SME leaders in the North West. You must pre-register to join this session.

    [Pre-registered & Fully-booked]

  • 13.00-14.00: Using technology to boost business resilience in an uncertain world

    Facilitated by:

    • Simon Reid, Head of Advanced Manufacturing of Growth Platform

    Featuring real-life examples from manufacturing:

    • Julian Lopez (Storth)
    • Patrick Mroczak (Nutree Life)
    • Louise Ray (Plastic Card Services)
    • Chris Lever (Bindatex)
    • Fadi Jarad (Sandstone Wirral).

    Whilst the past few years have thrown many unprecedented challenges at makers, creating significant uncertainty and changing the manufacturing environment forever in the process, we have still experienced significant opportunity. This session will explore how makers have adapted, innovated and diversified, to create resilience through the adoption of technology. Join us to explore common challenges and gain ideas about how you can safeguard your future.

  • 14.00-14.45: Digitisation Does not Eliminate the Need for Manufacturing Excellence [Pre-registered and fully booked]

    Session led by:

    • Rachel Baldry, Manufacturing Team at Business Growth Hub
    • Nick Brandwood, Manufacturing Team at Business Growth Hub

    Digital technologies are often seen as a shortcut to manufacturing excellence. However, to sustain the benefits of intelligent process control and automation, a culture of pre-existing manufacturing good practice is required.  You will be taken through the behaviours and routines required for digital transformation, before opening up the session to questions. You must pre-register to join this session.

    [Pre-registered & fully-booked]

  • 14.00-15.00: The teams of tomorrow: Engaging and upskilling your workforce

    Facilitated by:

    • Ruth Hailwood, Operational Workforce Development Adviser of Made Smarter


    • Sarah Dhanda (Enginuity)
    • Joe Crolla (Greater Manchester Combined Authority)
    • Sarah Poynter (Arden Dies),
    • Rebecca Lee-Panton and Luke Hickson (Fabricon Design).

    This panel discussion will focus on the people in your organisation and how to make sure they are ready to use any new digital tools you look to adopt. We will explore the benefits of implementing cultural change and upskilling in your business to ensure your workforce shares your vision.  

    You’ll hear from business leaders who will share their experiences of culture change and employee engagement and where they have used digital natives to help upskill their workforce.  

    Skills specialists will share their insights about what skills gaps are being identified and how these can be addressed.  

  • 15.00-16.00: Sustainable manufacturing: How technology is leading the way

    Facilitated by:

    • Poppy Brewer of Accenture

    Featuring real-life examples from manufacturing:

    • Ben Horne (Crystal Doors)
    • Phil Milar (Creative Apparel)
    • Jamie Baxter, (DA Techs)
    • David Reardon (Bloom-in-Box).

    In this session, our panellists explain how technology can help manufacturers of all sizes take small steps to sustainable production. They’ll discuss how going digital has allowed them to reduce their carbon footprint; how it’s benefitting their businesses, reducing costs to their bottom line and, of course, the environment. You can get fully immersed in how technology can help your business become more sustainable. 

  • 16.00-17.00: The importance of customer trust and the role of technology

    Facilitated by:

    • Kevin Smith, Digital Technology Specialist of Made Smarter

    Featuring real-life examples from manufacturing:

    • Steve Wood (Parity Medical)
    • Sean Parnaby (Contactless Check Solutions)
    • Karen Callard (Starlight Bedrooms)
    • Noel Doyle (Organica UK).

    With customers and suppliers expecting more than ever from manufacturers in terms of transparency, authenticity, and reliability, having their trust is key to your business success. Our discussion is led by manufacturing leaders who will highlight the importance of data in building customer confidence and loyalty.

  • [All Day] Meet the expert sessions

    Throughout the day we will have a range of experts on hand for 1-2-1 drop-in sessions for you to get the answers to important questions relating to your manufacturing. You can hold sessions to discover the support and funding you need with:

    • Made Smarter

    • Knowledge Transfer Partnership

    • Cheshire & Warrington Growth Hub 

    • Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership