The Digitalisation of Manufacturing: Challenges and Opportunities for SMEs

On June 13th at 2 PM CEST took place in an insightful discussion with Innovate UK KTN, the networking partner of the UK’s Innovation Funding Agency.

The session aimed to provide an insightful discussion on how the adoption of new digital technologies has the power to transform SMEs’ businesses, discussing how SMEs could benefit from the 4Manufacturing toolkit.

4Manufacturing® has been developed and tested by Innovate UK KTN for over five years with hundreds of manufacturing businesses starting out on their digitalisation journeys. They have benefitted from the systematic and clear approach that 4Manufacturing provides to help SMEs prioritise technologies and enable them to deal with key challenges and opportunities.


How the Made Smarter Network drives UK manufacturing innovation:

  • The UK manufacturing landscape
  • UK government innovation strategy
  • Made Smarter Innovation programmes and funding
  • Made Smarter Adoption support for SME digitalisation

How the 4Manufacturing toolkit enables digital acceleration:

  • For manufacturers: Prioritising specific investment in digital tech and skills
  • For advisers: Picturing key aspects of manufacturing processes and relevant technologies
  • For programmes: Providing evidence for future programme design
Innovate UK KTN and Innovate UK are delivering an EU funded project called RCT4MANU (“Test an innovative support scheme for manufacturing SMEs and accelerate the use of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) in innovation agencies”). As part of this project, we are engaging with UK and EU Innovation and Development Agencies and offer training to use 4Manufacturing® in their business support programmes and build a pan-European network of like-minded business support organisations. The RCT4MANU project is also building experience in the use of RCTs to measure the impact of business support programmes in terms of increased productivity, resilience and sustainability from digitalisation. 

The RCT4MANU Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824219.
Data: 13/06/22 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM | - CEST

Relator: Steven Barr and Nicole Ballantyne

Innovate UK KTN

Nicole Ballantyne makes targeted links within the manufacturing sector to the right knowledge, partners, technology solution providers, research & academia, facilities, grants and funding with a view to driving productivity, efficiency and economic growth. Nicole leads on Innovate UK KTN’s support of the “Manufacturing Made Smarter” part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Her ambition is to grow a vibrant cohesive community of industrial digital technology providers, developers and users across industry and technology sectors. She supports manufacturers to embrace digital technology innovation to grow their business, and technology developers to innovate the best solutions for the manufacturing industry. As a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with 3 decades of industry experience (from TPM, WCM, SPC to ERP to NPD), Nicole has been involved in a variety of innovation support roles across many sectors (FMCG, O&G, Energy, Water, OEM). She has an eclectic and diverse network of contacts to draw upon. Steven Barr is a chartered engineer with over 35 years of experience of designing, making and the agile implementation of high-tech products and services in manufacturing and the built environment. Before joining Innovate UK KTN, Steven was National Director at the UK’s Manufacturing Advisory Service and founder of EDGE Digital Manufacturing to inspire Digital Breakthrough through cross-business collaboration on technical, organisational, financial and personal challenges and opportunities. Steven is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Manufacturing Policy Panel, and a board member of the not-for-profit Digital Readiness Level cross-industry consortium. He is the lead technical author of British Standard PAS 1040 on Digital Readiness, a guide to adopting digital tech.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.