Scottish manufacturers reap record savings through efficiency projects

Fife achieves the most in value added benefits – equating to £3.6 million with the largest proportion of projects

Scottish manufacturing firms have achieved record annual efficiency savings of £28 million with the support of Scottish Enterprise (SE).
Two-hundred-and-two manufacturing companies in Scotland were supported by SE’s Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) to achieve £28 million in productivity savings by completing business improvement projects in 2015/16.
SE says these results show companies are investing in their assets, innovating their products and processes and developing their leadership ambitions to improve efficiency for their company and the wider economy.
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, welcomed these record savings during his keynote address to Scotland’s manufacturing business leaders at the national SMAS conference in Cumbernauld last week. He announced that SE, which delivers SMAS, has delivered £113 million in total efficiency savings.
He said: “Manufacturing continues to be a vital component of our economy and driver of future prosperity. It represents over half of Scotland’s international exports and our investment in research and development, employing 190,000 people, and it is vital that the future of the sector is protected amid the on-going uncertainty about our relationship with the EU.
“That is why the Scottish Government is firmly committed to supporting the sector and is working with public and private sector partners to deliver the ambitions of our manufacturing action plan – A Manufacturing Future for Scotland.
“The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service forms a vital part of our support for the sector and working through this service, Scottish Enterprise has helped to deliver record efficiency improvements and productivity gains of £113 million over three years to the 202 manufacturing businesses it supports helping them innovate and identify where they need to invest to build their global competiveness.”
SE chief executive Dr Lena Wilson added: “Today’s manufacturers are focused on becoming even more productive and are increasingly taking advantage of new digital technologies to transform how they do business.
“This focus is helping the sector compete globally and will see the industry go from strength to strength as it exports more products to more markets around the world.”
The food and drink sector delivered the biggest bulk of projects during 2015/16 – 45 projects delivering £5.7 million in total.
Geographically, Fife achieved the most in value added benefits (£3.6 million with the biggest proportion of projects – 19 in total).
One of the key messages highlighted at the SMAS conference was the importance of investing in business efficiency because when businesses become more efficient, they become more innovative, reach new markets and achieve game-changing productivity gains.
David Jones, chief executive of the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, added: “Driving efficiency will be absolutely crucial to helping Scottish manufacturers compete on the global stage. The SMAS conference is a great opportunity to reflect on the performance of Scottish manufacturing in the last year and also how we can take steps to ensure a prosperous future for the sector.
“We believe that digital manufacturing, otherwise known as Industry 4.0 and the fourth industrial revolution, presents a significant opportunity for Scottish SME manufacturers to grow, deliver enhanced productivity, and compete internationally.”
To find out more on how SE and SMAS can help your company become more business efficient, sign up for its free awareness raising events

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Hannah Hamilton, who is a former Fife College student, is a reporter and assistant content editor for Scotland B2B, specialising in B2B news and features. She can be contacted via