Coventry and Warwickshire will continue to be the world’s creative engine in manufacturing and engineering, according to a new report.
The current Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub SmartRegion report’s findings focus on the adoption of the government’s Made Smarter programme in the West Midlands.
Since the £1.9 million scheme was introduced in April 2021, the West Midlands Growth Hubs, led by CWLEP Growth Hub, have been working closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority and their strategic partners the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry and WMG, University of Warwick, and have registered 207 businesses to the programme in the West Midlands.
Grants have been awarded to 36 West Midlands businesses which is expected to lead to a £27 million net Gross Value Added increase over the next three years, which is an average net GVA rise of £751,000 per company.
The latest SmartRegion report, which collects information from the Growth Hub’s business engagements as well as from CWLEP, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and other organisations, emphasises how the Made Smarter programme has impacted positively on businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Paul Sullivan, the Made Smarter Digital Transformation Specialist for Coventry and Warwickshire, said the programme was helping manufacturing and engineering businesses of all sizes to adopt cutting-edge digital technology to help them grow as well as access match-funded grant funding, digital experts and internships.
He said: “In the next five-to-ten years, Coventry and Warwickshire will continue to be the world’s creative engine.
“It is important that the latest technologies are developed here to give manufacturers the edge in terms of their output. Suppliers are continually looking at how to improve and we see that digital technology adoption will be the primary change over the next five to ten years. The transfer of this knowledge will play a big part in the area’s future prosperity.
“We must accept that there is no point in protecting this technology and its development and understand that the real value is in sharing our ability to be market leaders.”
He said Made Smarter was helping Coventry and Warwickshire’s ability to reset and recover from the pandemic.
Paul added: “Engineering companies are generally ahead in looking at alternative ways to improve output and make improvements in quality.
“Made Smarter allows businesses to make decisions with the support of business support professionals and technology specialists.
“This combination is very important as it can allow the introduction of new technology without huge internal disruption. The programme understands time restraints on business and introduces change in the most appropriate manner to minimise disruption.
“Companies are using tools that allow them to operate from home, and this can involve machine operatives, designers, planners, and project managers, all of whom have adapted to these significant changes.
“The ability to communicate remotely has opened additional markets on an international stage that were not available pre-pandemic. This is the very positive outcome of adopting new communication technologies.”
Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the Made Smarter delivery framework should be looked at as a model for developing future schemes within the West Midlands business support landscape.
He said: “The quality of the support service in Coventry and Warwickshire is recognised as being the best in the country. The support offered is seen as impartial and there for the benefit of business.
“The collaboration between the support services themselves plays a crucial role in ensuring that the focus is on providing business with the best advice, reduces duplication, and allows different programmes to operate simultaneously alongside each other to the benefit of all companies.”