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Our skills team has recently expanded with the introduction of Jude Honeyman, our Organisational Development and Skills Adviser. 
In this piece, Jude outlines her background, her new role at Made Smarter, and how our skills team ensures manufacturers have the right capabilities to move digital transformation forward in a growing SME. 

Hear Jude's perspective and expertise
  • The journey to Made Smarter 

    My career before Made Smarter was really varied. Over the last quarter of a century, I’ve worked in the fire service and public sector, as well as in Italy. There’s been one common theme throughout: working closely with people so that they feel confident in their role and industry. This is regardless of any change or external factor – whether that’s a digital transformation or a global pandemic. 

    It was definitely an instinctive move to join Made Smarter’s Organisational and Workforce Development team. Our focus is on supporting manufacturers that are undergoing digital transformation, specifically by ensuring their teams have the skills required to achieve digitalisation success and perform their job effectively. 

    In some cases, makers don’t have enough of the right people with the right skillset in place, mainly because change is coming so fast. They may need to recruit or look at their current workforce to identify experts, new talent or complete a full review of the people plan  - all that we help to embed. . We consider how they can recruit the right candidates for the job and upskill their existing team members if necessary. It’s important to determine what SMEs need from the start, so they can be sustainable and continuously improve – both now and in the future. This could even be with the introduction of a highly skilled intern to get the process moving. My aim is to look at the bigger picture and find a solution that suits all.

  • The story so far 

    It’s been a great experience and a really interesting learning curve - working for Made Smarter – I’m definitely enjoying it. There's a tight-knit culture here; we’re very much a team, and everyone helps each other.  

    What’s more, there’s clearly a high level of respect within the team. Programme Manager Alain Dilworth can only be described as a brilliant, collaborative leader, I also work very closely with Ruth Hailwood too, who’s the Organisational and Workforce Development Specialist Adviser here at Made Smarter. It’s a joy to work alongside these talented individuals – not only do we get on very well, but we also respect each other’s strengths, they are getting used to my energy and style very quickly! In fact, the whole team have been fantastic – teamwork at its best.   

    The job itself is incredibly interesting too. My role requires me to be involved in a variety of aspects, which means I’m gaining knowledge in a range of intriguing areas. I’ve engaged in workshops across the North West – from Cumbria to Congleton – and have had the opportunity to learn a great deal along the way, including all about Industry 4.0 and the latest digital technologies.  

    In addition to this, I’ve contributed to many online workshops, at first just observing how my role could help makers. A key thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a requirement for manufacturers to pin down exactly what they need to do to achieve their digital transformation – as always, planning is key. Really looking forward to getting back to site visits and seeing progress in real life!  

  • The project I’m most proud of 

    I’ve been immersed in some really fantastic projects in my time here so far. My first site visit was to Derek Rose, a British fashion and lifestyle brand. It was interesting to discover the sheer level of detail that goes into making loungewear!   

    And, of course, it was great to see the impact Made Smarter has had on their production. We helped Derek Rose obtain an enhanced vetigraph machine, enabling them to cut silk better. Once this was in place, they realised they needed to move floors. By migrating their operations upstairs, employees were better able to perform different jobs. 

    My part in this was to first create a skills matrix, specifically looking at the senior team and what they required. They’d recently implemented a new way of working and a new process, so leadership training was identified as a particular focus area. From this point, I will work with partners and the company leaders to ensure the best fit and support is in place .  

    Our support does not stop - we support beyond the initial digital change and review and evaluate as we go along to check all is well. I’ve kept in touch with Laura from their operations team, and she knows she can always rely on us as their first point of contact for support.  

  • The skills support we offer 

    I genuinely think Made Smarter’s skills support is so beneficial for manufacturers. Simply knowing about all the different ways people can progress, especially when it comes to digital transformation , can make the world of difference.  

    I’ve found makers particularly benefit from the local approach we take. Right across our team, everyone is with them the entire way. It’s not about filling out a form and moving on but working with manufacturers on a one-to-one basis throughout their journey, learning about the individual, the business and their challenges.  

    Along the way, we ensure that we understand some SMEs will have particular things in place already, and some will benefit from us going in at a foundational level. We also make sure we know what they’re comfortable with, and are left with the right skills across the entire organisation. 

    On top of this, makers can feel assured that everything we do is current and constantly improving. In the same way we look to future-proof manufacturers, we review our own services and processes on a continuous basis. Again, it’s something that’s ingrained within the team; during meetings, it’s fantastic to see that everyone is comfortable enough to discuss ways we can evolve our offering.  

  • The future of digital support 

    As we shift towards an increasingly digital future, I envision that more resources will be required to support organisations in the right way. Remote and hybrid working models are here to stay, and new ways of working are emerging all the time – it is crucial to empower manufacturing businesses in their digital transformation journey so they can stay agile and competitive. Our Leadership programme and support has also been very successful and with another Cohort starting in March, we can only remain positive about the longer terms effects of Made Smarter support. 

    And that’s what the skills team here at Made Smarter aims to do. To learn more about how you can leverage our support to get the right skills in place for your digital journey, get in touch today

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