Two Blackburn businesses are among a host in the county to have invested £7.6 million in technology through Made Smarter’s adoption programme in the North West.

This will help towards the forecasted creation of 522 jobs and 1,151 upskilled roles, boosting Lancashire’s  economy by £80m.

In East Lancashire, a further four businesses joined Made Smarter, while there were 12 in total from across the county.

The businesses are:

  • Beagle Orthopaedic, manufacturers of orthopaedic equipment – Blackburn
  • Evertaut, manufacturers of stadium and auditorium seating – Blackburn
  • Studio Bakery, an artisan bakery specialising in traybakes and cakes – Clitheroe
  • N&J Aluminium Linings, manufacturers of aluminium linings and accessories for 4x4 vehicles – Clitheroe
  • Agenda Boxes & Packaging, manufacturers of packaging products – Nelson
  • Carvansons, a fragrance manufacturer – Haslingden
  • Bailprint Labels, manufacturers of self-adhesive labels – Chorley
  • English Trading Company, a manufacturer of contract textiles and soft furnishings – Chorley
  • Polycover, a flexible packaging materials manufacturer – Blackpool
  • Crozier Design, trading as Crozier Campers, a campervan converter – Poulton-le-Fylde
  • Neal Jones Furniture, manufacturers of super yacht and residential furniture – Lancaster
  • Northern Hi-Tec, trading as NHT Electronics, an electronics manufacturer – Lancaster

Evertaut is targeting significant growth in global markets by investing in new software which connects disparate systems and enables real-time visibility of all operations.

Chris Smalley, co-owner, said: “The gains of this new technology are quite staggering.

"We are going to have real-time access to production data for the first time. This will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of the business.

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“We couldn’t grow at the rate we are predicting without investing in new technology, and we have Made Smarter to thank for that.”

Chris Williams, design manager for Beagle Orthopaedic, said: “Our company has cemented itself as one of the UK's leading manufacturers and providers of orthopaedic products and have achieved this through a commitment to innovation and a loyal and talented workforce.

“Technology offers us an opportunity to make more of our quality products, with the aim of improving patient outcomes, creating a skilled workforce fit for the future, and driving our sustainability goals.

“Made Smarter helped in supporting us with a grant towards the first of our digital machines which allows the high-volume product parts to be sewn in the most efficient and consistent way possible.

"The new technology which will have a huge impact on the business and is the start of Beagle creating a digital strategy and roadmap for future investment.”

Since 2019, SME manufacturers across the North West have invested £22m in new technologies, forecasting the creation of almost 1,600 new jobs, more than 2,850 upskilled roles, and adding £242m to the economy over the next three years.

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Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said:  "I am incredibly proud of what the Made Smarter team has achieved over the last five years.

"These milestones are simultaneously a moment to celebrate, as well as a reminder that our work is by no means done.

“Our mission is to engage with the thousands of manufacturers out there who we are certain could benefit from our support.

"As such we are redoubling our efforts to reach more businesses, and to inspire and inform them about the benefits of technology adoption.”