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With the next Leading Change for Digital Champions (LCDC) programme about to start, Ruth Hailwood, Made Smarter's Head of Organisation and Workforce Development, looks back on its success.

It has been just over a year since the first set of delegates completed our fully-funded, pioneering, Leading Change for Digital Champions programme.

While our highly successful Leading Digital Transformation programme was designed for owners and senior managers to embed a digital strategy in manufacturing businesses, LCDC was launched to support others involved in implementing digital change.

The complementary programmes were driven from our recognition that impactful and lasting change needs to flow through an entire organisation, from top to bottom.

The common denominator is that they are positive about technology, have a willingness to learn, and want and support the changes digital technologies will bring.

What to expect from Made Smarter’s Leading Change for Digital Champions programme

Leading Change for Digital Champions (LCDC) has been delivered using a bite-size, blended approach consisting of two face-to-face workshops, online coaching, a site visit to an SME manufacturer to see the impact of digital change first-hand, as well as a chance to see the latest digital technologies at an Amazon fulfilment centre.

We have now delivered our bespoke training to almost 30 manufacturers who hail from across the spectrum of the workforce, from aspiring managers to production operatives.

These cohorts of digital champions have been able to share experiences and learn from each other. This has helped create a peer-to-peer network of past and present digital champions. By bringing together digital champions at different stages, this network supports SMEs who are not quite ready to implement digital adoption with those that are already doing it. 

How do manufacturers benefit from the Leading Change for Digital Champions programme?

Mactapes a textile manufacturer uses traditional looms and modern machinery to weave curtain and roman blind tapes.

Business manager James Dyer was among the first cohort of LCDC. Having moved into manufacturing from retail, he benefited from hearing about the challenges facing a network of delegates. He also got to share his experiences of people, culture and change management from the retail industry.

James told us that the workshops taught him about the importance of creating consensus and removing roadblocks through improved communication, ensuring all perspectives within the business are heard.

As a result, Mactapes introduced new communication tools such as regular handover huddles between shifts to overcome their challenges.

Mactapes is now applying its digital change know-how to an IIoT project focused on capturing data to manage machine downtime, introduce preventative maintenance, and increase production capacity.

This is just one example of the positive impact Made Smarter is having using a people-first approach to help SME manufacturers adopt technology tools to take their businesses forward.

Register your interest in Made Smarter’s Leading Change for Digital Champions programme today

Technology tools bring change to the way day-to-day work is done and this change needs to be led to make sure the people in the business are ready to use these tools to maximise the benefits for the business and realise the potential of their people.

I am excited to meet the next cohort of our Leading Change for Digital Champions programme when it returns early July to teach participants about the impactful and lasting changes digital technologies can bring.

With a few spaces still available, manufacturers across the North West are now being encouraged to register their interest for the programme. The workshops will take place in September.

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