Smart manufacturing: LUMC programme readies businesses for IR 4.0

SOURCE: Shutterstock
The Made Smarter programme is designed to equip business leaders with leadership and digital skills to pursue smart manufacturing.

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

Recent graduates from the Made Smarter innovative leadership programme, a collaboration with Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), are set to implement smart manufacturing strategies upon acquiring industry-relevant digital skills through this programme.

A total of 10 business leaders from SME manufacturers based in the North West are the first batch of graduates from the Made Smarter programme.

Developed and delivered by Lancaster University Management School, the Made Smarter Leadership programme is designed to equip business leaders with not only the digital skills, but with the vision and systematic approach to pursue smart manufacturing.

For the duration of eight-months, programme participants attended a mixture of workshops and site-visits, thus enabling knowledge transfer between businesses leaders in the manufacturing field.

Delegates of the programme visited manufacturers including Veka, Hosokawa Micron and Senator, who all have experienced significant success in adopting digital technology for their businesses.


Participants engaged in special project sprints, delivered by Siemens Digital Industries. The purpose of the design sprints was to provide an avenue for the business leaders to brainstorm for new products and ideas.

These sprints significantly helped participants to implement smart manufacturing practices for their businesses.

Peter Phillips, The Managing Director of Abbey, England, a Knutsford-based manufacturer of leather and brassware for the equestrian and leather goods market, used the programme to aid structural changes in the company.

These changes were made possible through the identification of new methods of 3D scanning and 3D printing which could half the company’s manufacturing lead time.

He added that besides the practical usefulness of the programme, it has also been an inspirational experience.”

Another participant who experienced great success through this programme is Anthony McMullin, Head of Operations at Milexa Group. He leads a business that designs and manufactures wallpaper and flooring products.

Milexa reported a two per cent GDP increase over the year and McMullin attributes this achievement to the introduction of digital technology that facilitates automation, standardisation and overall waste reduction.

McMullin says, “I feel like I understand much better what constitutes good leadership, in terms of the personal characteristics this involves, but also in how we can focus our energy to inspire a transformational culture that thrives in a changing world.”


Delegates agreed that the time away from business had given them the push to develop the strategic view to support the adoption of digital-based hi-tech manufacturing techniques into their own production processes.

The programme also provided them with guidelines on how to successfully bring employees and other stakeholders along on their digital transformation journey.

Dean of Lancaster University Management, Professor Angus Laing said: “The feedback from the first cohort of the Made Smarter leadership programme has been incredibly positive, re-enforcing Lancaster’s outstanding reputation for devising and delivering world-class business leadership development.”

Laing also stated that, “Via a mixture of workshops delivered by academics and experts in the digitalisation and leadership, and site visits to companies, including Veka, Hosokawa Micron and Senator, where delegates were able to see advanced technology in practice, participants have been empowered to transform their individual businesses.”


Donna Edwards, Director of the North West Made Smarter pilot, said: “I’m delighted that the Made Smarter Leadership programme has made such a positive impact on the first cohort of business leaders in the North West.”

Edwards believes that this pioneering group of leaders have been able to successfully create a digitalisation strategy to explore how technology can improve business performance.

Participants have also had the opportunity to develop the leadership skills needed to manage operational change and employee expectations.