A HISTORIC textile firm run by Great British Sewing Bee star Patrick Grant has been boosted with a major investment in new technology.

Cookson & Clegg has been based in Blackburn for over 160 years and hopes that its involvement with Made Smarter, a technology adoption programme, could be what takes it to the next level.

The programme will see new investment in data systems that could see an increase in profitability, which in turn could lead to better pay and conditions for the firm's 40 strong workforce.

Patrick Grant, who rescued the company from collapse alongside sister Victoria in 2016, said: “With the support and advice of Made Smarter we have been able to pursue our ambitions of improving both productivity and cost control across our operations by adopting digital technology.

“At the heart of this new system is the introduction of well-informed decision-making based on accurate and real-time data.

"By combining better production control and incentivising our workforce we believe we could increase productivity by 40 per cent, while maintaining the highest quality.”

The brother and sister team say that working with Made Smarter will help them bring the long established company up-to-date, making it fit to compete in the modern age.

Victoria Grant said: “We acquired Cookson & Clegg because we believed it was a quality business with some extremely skilled employees.

"However, the traditional ways of doing things and embedded inefficiencies have held back the business from keeping up with the rapid changes in textile manufacturing.

“The digital transformation workshop process helped us acknowledge that the shop floor was a black box and the first vital step for our business was to get hold of all that valuable data, so we could understand and control better the inner workings of our operations.”

Over the last two years, Made Smarter says it has worked with 1,200 companies around the North West, helping them to adopt the latest technologies in much the same way that Cookson & Clegg has.

Made Smarter North West director Donna Edwards said: “Cookson & Clegg are the perfect example of a heritage business who are moving with the times while maintaining their identity as a traditional manufacturer.

“Data and systems integration is central to the 4th industrial revolution, so I am extremely pleased that Cookson & Clegg, like so many manufacturers, are putting data at the heart of their own digital journeys and recognising that using these tools can empower them to grow their business and increase efficiency."

To find out more about Made Smarter, go to: https://www.madesmarter.uk.