Smart Machines & Factories
New fund to develop digital innovation to revolutionise Britain’s manufacturing supply chains
Published:  07 July, 2020

Two funding competitions for Britain’s most innovative businesses to come together to develop world-leading digital technologies to boost supply chain productivity and resilience to turbo-charge the COVID recovery, have been launched by Made Smarter and UK Research and Innovation.

Through funding from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, led by Innovate UK, business-led consortia can apply for funding for projects up to £1.5M to transform supply chains to help build a more efficient, flexible and resilient manufacturing sector. Developing innovative digital solutions which rethink and restructure the way businesses design and operate supply chains is key to super-charging manufacturing so it comes out top on an ever more competitive global stage.

The COVID crisis has highlighted the fragility of supply chains, and the importance of supply chain visibility and resilience both now and in the future. With the right technology in place creative solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can boost supply chain power by predicting shortages, demand spikes and direct supplies into the chain.

Businesses applying for the new funding can look to improve results from existing supply chains, redesign or re-engineer supply chains or design completely new supply chain concepts for new products or processes. Companies of any size may apply and the consortia must include at least one SME. Projects ranging in size from as little as £250,000 to £3million. SME businesses which are Technology developers or Manufacturing companies can benefit from funding up to 70% of their project costs. The projects can take up to two years to complete.

 Juergen Maier, co-chair Made Smarter commented: “Post Covid, more use of digital technologies can have a turbo-charge effect on kick-starting the economy as a whole. Creating resilient and efficient supply chains is a key component of that, where better data analytics, modelling and connectivity can help drill down into supply chains and improve efficiencies very significantly.

“Looking to improve supply chain operations will give business a much-needed boost as they work flat out to replenish their order books as we slowly come out of the current crisis. This new funding pot will enable the best and most forward-thinking minds to come together to create world class supply chain technologies which will end up being the new must-have for companies in the global market.”

Both innovations competitions are open now and the deadline for applications is midday on 7th October 2020. Companies of any size may apply and the consortia must include at least one SME.