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As the UK continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, many business leaders have been left wondering how best to navigate through the uncertainty. It’s difficult to know exactly what you should be focusing on right now.

For some, it’s a question of whether they can maintain business continuity and a safe working environment that adheres to social distancing.

So, how can manufacturers ensure they’re more able to react to the challenges posed by coronavirus? Being proactive and setting a plan in place now can put you in a better position for the future. Join us as we explore how you can come back not just stronger – but smarter.

Here, we explore what your manufacturing business can do now to #ComeBackSmarter.

Download the How-to Guide
Steps to #ComebackSmarter
  • Take advantage of support and advice

    Apply for any business support that is available to you.

    If you’re unsure what you may be eligible for, the UK Government has provided a useful tool.

    On a similar note, there is also ample advice available. To find the support that is most matched to your business aims and challenges, contact your local Growth Hub. They can point you in the right direction, as well as offer some guidance of their own.

  • Speak to your peers

    Don’t forget your peers – there are many manufacturers who are in the same boat as you. The support of other leaders is invaluable; you can share experiences and collaboratively solve challenges, helping you to future-proof your business.

    We’ve created a dedicated Made Smarter LinkedIn forum so you can connect to other makers. It’s a platform for you discuss concerns, share challenges and hear firsthand solutions from like-minded manufacturers.

  • Carry out research & development

    As they bring themselves back to a sense of normality, many manufacturers are opting to work on projects that were previously always pushed to the bottom of their to-do list. You can similarly use the time now to move your own projects forward.

    You could look into new product lines, create a competitive advantage, or explore which digital technologies would be most beneficial for you to start implementing. Our case studies can provide a great source of inspiration.

    By carrying out R&D, you’ll be in a much stronger position to hit the ground running when social distancing is lifted.

  • Look to technology

    Digital technologies have long been helping manufacturing businesses boost productivity, create jobs and upskill their workforce, amongst a range of other great advantages. Since the pandemic began, they’ve proven their weight in gold – from connected systems that empower remote working to machines that ensure production lines can be maintained without a human presence.

    Made Smarter has helped makers put these technologies in place. We recently supported Storth Limited, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery for slurry management:
    “Our adoption of a robot welder, through support from Made Smarter, has been a success from day one. We were experiencing bottlenecks within our welding process, which was causing delays in schedules. The robot has helped us overcome the delays, and has also helped us to continue operations at a time when some of our welders have been self-isolating, which has caused staff shortages. In order to keep up with supply, we are now keen to upgrade our cutting equipment to enable us to operate unsupervised automatic cutting and feeding during the night.”
    – Julian Lopez, Export Manager at Storth Limited

    It may be that you can’t respond to the pandemic in the same way as these makers. But you can look to reap the rewards in the future. From artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics they can help you solve your business challenges.

    Lancashire Farm Dairies, a leading natural yogurt producer, used guidance from Made Smarter to boost productivity:
    “We received advice and support from Made Smarter to implement an end-of-line robotic palletiser. It was needed to help us overcome the bottlenecks we were experiencing and speed up the production process. It has proven even more invaluable recently in managing increased and fluctuating demand for our yogurts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
    – Sarfaraz Akram, Chief Operating Officer at Lancashire Farm Dairies

  • Consider your digital future

    Getting started with technology doesn’t need to be overwhelming. And you don’t need to go on the journey alone. Developing a digital roadmap with expert advisers is key. You’ll be able to determine your vision and uncover what priorities these tools can support or challenges they can solve.

    A digital technology intern can also help – and they’re particularly useful if you feel you don’t yet have the skills or capacity within your business to introduce new technologies. These internships are fully-funded, so even if you can’t bring them on board right now, you can still scope out a role for them. Read our 'benefits of a digital technology internship’ blog.

  • Start the process now

    With support from us here at Made Smarter, you can plan and even apply for up to 50% match-funding now. Applications are still being processed and approved, so you’ll have the finances primed or when you’re able to implement the tools.

    On top of this, you’ll receive fully-funded advice from our specialist technology advisers. They’ll help you work out your challenges and needs, along with the best tools for your business and the right technology suppliers to provide them.

    You can book a virtual appointment by registering to start your digital journey.
    Whether you’ve already started to adopt technologies or are still unfamiliar with them, we can help.

    Our specialists are here to help you determine the best approach for your business, and ensure you can #ComeBackSmarter.

    To future-proof your organisation and begin your digital journey, register today.