East Lancashire textile companies urged to go digital and drive growth
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Some 125 companies from the sector based in the North West, including 35 in Lancashire, are embracing change by tapping into impartial expert technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help them take their first steps, a leadership programme, digital technology internships, and skills development support.
Others are also using matched-funding to invest in new digital technology to solve key challenges while increasing productivity, growth, and creating new high value jobs.
But with more than 1,000 fashion and textile manufacturers in the region employing around 15,000 people and with a collective turnover of £1.83 billion, Made Smarter believes the sector and region synonymous with the ‘first’ Industrial Revolution has a golden opportunity to lead the ‘fourth’.
Businesses tapping into Made Smarter support include: Blackburn firms Linzi Jay, a manufacturer of communion gowns and bridal accessories, and clothing makers Cookson & Clegg and Edward Taylor Textiles; Burnley business Ian Mankin, a manufacturer of designer furnishing fabrics, weaving specialist John Spencer (Textiles) and Panaz, a supplier of decorative fabrics and wallcoverings; as well as Mitchell Interflex, fabric manufacturers based in Foulridge and Woven Art Company, a fabric weaver based in Clitheroe.
Panaz was supported by Made Smarter to invest in an end-to-end custom digital printing solution which uses a software platform to allow design customisation and order at the click of a button.
Rollie Attard, chief operating officer, said: “We see Panaz as being at the forefront of innovation within its industry and, as a consequence, need to keep pushing the boundaries when it comes to technology investment,” he said. “Made Smarter has enabled us to get to where we want to be much, much faster.”
Alain Dilworth, North West Adoption Programme Manager at Made Smarter, said: “The textile industry in the North West was at the centre of the first industrial revolution with technological advances enabling cottons, wools, silks and dyestuffs to be produced at unprecedented rates for export around the globe. It is fitting that Made Smarter is now offering its support and expertise to help the same industry embrace the opportunity to lead the fourth industrial revolution.
“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the industry with supply chains broken, falling sales and regrettably, some businesses having to close. Rebuilding is an opportunity to create a more sustainable approach which enables better resilience by taking advantage of the new digital technologies.
“I am delighted that Made Smarter has been able to support so many of the region’s textile manufacturers to start their digitalisation journey. Our ambition now is to reach out to the hundreds of others across the region to support them to take their first steps to future-proof their business.”
Made Smarter has produced a free guide to help businesses in the sector. To download a copy visit: https://www.madesmarter.uk/resources/guide-textile-manufacturing-how-digital-transformation-is-securing-a-sustainable-future/