Industry proposals to boost the UK’s manufacturing sector have been unveiled this morning  with the publication of the national Industrial Digitalisation Review. Produced by a team led by NWBLT’s Chairman and Siemens UK CEO Professor Juergen Maier, the report outlines significant proposals to boost the UK economy by harnessing digital technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence.  To download the Made Smarter Report click here.

The Review’s proposals include a National Adoption Programme that it recommends be piloted in the North West, focused on increasing capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support for business.

The Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, launched in January identified industrial digitalisation as one of five potential early sector deals. The Review kick started work with stakeholders to identify opportunities for how government and industry can work together. The Review identified the following opportunities for the UK:

  • Over ten years industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year; creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%
  • Proposals include the establishment of a ‘Made Smarter Commission’ to support a national plan to put Britain’s small businesses at the forefront of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
  • Improving the skills of over one million new and existing workers.
  • The independent Review will inform the basis of Government work towards a sector deal in the coming months.

Professor Juergen Maier said: “The business and academic community has set out a vision for much greater ambition needed for Britain to be a world leader in the fourth industrial revolution. Industry is committed to working in partnership with Government, and this combined package of measures will boost UK growth and productivity in manufacturing and provide more exports and increased earning potential, which our economy desperately needs.

Liverpool 4.0 VEC

Our ‘Made Smarter’ proposals will help business understand, deploy and create the latest digital technologies, helping to secure more homegrown R&D and the creation of new industries and highly skilled well paid jobs. The proposals build on the UK’s natural technology strengths, whilst setting out a framework to encourage entrepreneurs to develop new technologies that help manufacturers.   I look forward to working with Government to consider the recommendations, including those that can be taken forward as part of an ambitious sector deal.”

The North West Business Leadership Team have been supporting the Review team by bringing together members of its Productivity Task Group to develop a potential pilot for this crucial work. Group members include representatives from Liverpool 4.0, Lancaster University and the Manchester Growth Company.

NWBLT CEO Emma Degg said “We will only ensure continued economic growth and therefore higher wages and living standards, if we grasp the opportunity presented by digitization. The proposed Pilot will harness and build upon the impressive expertise of partners across the North West to do just that – together we can make a real difference.”



The Review brings together input and recommendations from over 200 stakeholders, including companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN, IBM, and Accenture. The Review took substantive input from SME’s such as Yamazaki Mazak and Vertizan as well as academic institutions including the University of Newcastle and the University of Cambridge. R&D centres of excellence, the Digital Catapult and High Value Manufacturing Catapult also co-designed the proposals.

The Industrial Digitalisation Review considers three key themes – adoption, innovation and leadership. The proposals include:


  • Adoption: Building a national digital ecosystem. Government and industry should create a significantly more visible and effective ecosystem that will accelerate the innovation and diffusion of Industrial Digital Technologies. This includes a National Adoption Programme piloted in the North West, focused on increasing capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support. Additionally the Review recommends up-skilling one million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be deployed and successfully exploited through a Single Industrial Digitalisation Skills Strategy.
  • Innovation: Re-focus existing landscape by increasing capacity and capability through creating 12 ‘Digital Innovation Hubs’, eight large scale demonstrators and five digital research centres focused on developing new technologies as part of a new National Innovation Programme.
  • Leadership: Establish a national body, Made Smarter UK (MSUK) Commission, comprising Industry, Government, Academia, FE and leading Research and Innovation organisations, responsible for developing the UK as a leader in Industrial Digitalisation Technologies (IDT) and skills, which has a mandate to develop the UK’s own national Industry 4.0 domestic and global brand.

The recommendations will be considered carefully by the government and used to inform work towards a sector deal between Government and industry.