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The North West is a thriving manufacturing hub, and there's a great thirst for digital transformation across Cheshire and Warrington.

Makers in this region have notably experienced many benefits as a result of implementing technology within their organisations, such as boosted efficiency - particularly during the rise of remote working.

This particular area has even given the larger city regions of Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Liverpool a run for their money. 

Here, Ian Marshall, Digital Transformation Specialist for Cheshire and Warrington, reveals more about their technology adoption journey. 

Technology Adoption across Cheshire & Warrington
  • The thirst for transformation

    Cheshire is a large county with a richly diverse business scene – from rural-based activities to large, corporate manufacturing operations. Each of these organisations has their own demands and supply chain requirements. It has been eye-opening to work with them, to say the least; they have an ambition to transform and grow that has both impressed and inspired me. 

    Geography and borders make this region a slightly more complex one when it comes to connecting with these organisations and starting the digitalisation conversation. However, that hasn’t stopped makers like Twinfix and Plastic Card Services from innovating. In fact, there are many success stories coming out of Cheshire and Warrington – they’re just not as publicised.   

  • The road to success

    Momentum is really building in Cheshire after the quiet period caused by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve had clients from 2019 getting back in touch and wanting to reengage.  

    When lockdown hit, many manufacturing companies didn’t know what to do at first. What we are finding is that makers have been forced into being more strategic, and have taken the time to develop a roadmap which will lead to a positive digital transformation. This is a good by-product of the pandemic – and one of the few silver linings in what has been an incredibly challenging time for manufacturers. 

    We’re now seeing many projects in the pipeline for 2021 that involve technology solutions including additive manufacturing, augmented reality, data systems and cybersecurity. 

  • The makers leading the way

    One of the most interesting things about the Cheshire and Warrington region is the high proportion of chemical and pharma manufacturers. It’s well known that the North West economy comprises a very successful chemical cluster, but a lot of these manufacturers and wider ecosystems reside within this particular area. From manufacturers of hand sanitiser through to fuels and lubricants, we’re seeing a real appetite from all those within the chemicals sector and supply chain.  

    Here’s just a small selection of the makers we’ve been able to support… 

    ESL Fuels 

    ESL Fuels is an innovative fuel producer, supplying specialist products to the road, heating and marine markets. They work with leading distributors which gives nationwide coverage, and their end customers include schools and the NHS. ESL Fuels is using technology to boost the efficiency of their operations and our grant funding is helping them scale their business and launch exciting new projects. 


    Twinfix make roof glazing and canopies and have benefitted through our support in a number of ways – including a digital transformation workshop. Technical Director Dan Smith also undertook our leadership programme to help navigate the pandemic. Digital technologies have helped Twinfix re-open their business through remote working capabilities, all the while ensuring that their factories were safe at all times. We’re now in talks about further project scoping and grant funding.  

    Technoprint Cheshire 

    Then there is Technoprint Cheshire, a specialist information leaflet manufacturer. This is a perfect example of how a Cheshire-based business used the Made Smarter Leadership Programme to better understand their own digital journey. 

    Art Graphics 

    Art Graphics, who design and engineer bespoke art frames and acrylic boxes, have seen significant benefits through our digital technology internship programme. On top of this, we’ve supported them with grant funding for data and systems integration.  

    Alphabond Technologies 

    Our support enabled Alphabond Technologies to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic – in fact, they were almost unaffected by the situation as they could put information through an ERP system and have better data visibility. 
    Plastic Card Services

    Lastly there is Plastic Card Services, who utilised funding through Made Smarter to write a new software solution that has enabled them to win a contract worth £500,000 annually, and boost turnover by 8%. They’re now looking at other opportunities to streamline and optimise their production-line processes. 

  • Supporting Cheshire and Warrington makers 

    Whilst many makers are aware of the potential that adopting new technologies can unlock, some aren’t given the tools and advice to make an informed choice when it comes to particular solutions and use cases. We can help them to explore new approaches via technology, and learn to embed them in a way that increases efficiency and sustainability. What’s more, we can support them in building a digital workforce that is equipped with the skills and expertise to create a better future. 

    To begin or enhance your digital journey, get in touch with us today. Our support and technology advice is fully-funded, as well as independent and impartial. This means you can trust that we’ll recommend only the best, most fitting solutions for your business. 

    Once we’ve helped you to identify the right solution, you could potentially have the option to access grant funding of up to 50% of the overall cost of the investment. This will enable you to set your digital journey in motion, and even launch new products and services ahead of schedule. 

    Whether it’s through grant funding, our leadership programme, or the workforce skills to help you get your project off the ground, Made Smarter is here to support you. 

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