Made Smarter and Lancaster University Management School Launch Trailblazing Leadership Programme

Posted 25th July 2019
6 minutes read
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Business leaders from the Liverpool City Region are the first in the country to embark on a trailblazing leadership programme designed to equip them with the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing.

They are part of the Made Smarter Leadership Programme, run in collaboration with Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and the government-backed £20m Made Smarter initiative for North West manufacturers.

Anthony McMullin, Head of Operations at Milexa, based in the Baltic Triangle, and Ian Cassidy from Gencoa in Speke, are among 12 business leaders from across the region who have embarked on an eight-month leadership programme involving a mixture of workshops, site-visits to ‘smart’ SME manufacturers around the region and facilitated-learning sessions.

They undertook their first site visit to Runcorn-based Hosokawa Micron Ltd, a manufacturer and supplier of powder processing systems and equipment, which has transformed its production performance through the application of digital technologies, allowing them to see a smart factory in action.

During the programme, participants will enhance their leadership capacity to enable them to take a strategic view required to adopt hi-tech and digitally-based manufacturing techniques into their own production processes.

They will also gain insights into undertaking an audit to reveal how digital-ready their business currently is, how to measure the true impact and value of any changes they make to the way they work, and how to successfully bring employees and other stakeholders along on their journey of business transformation.

Other parts of the programme, which will be delivered jointly by LUMS’ academic experts and business leaders already using smart technology, will include special project sprints to test new ideas.

Simon Reid, Head of Advanced Manufacturing at the Liverpool City Region LEP , said : “I am delighted to see Liverpool City Region companies embrace this extremely beneficial leadership programme.  The adoption of digital technologies within industry is a key strategic priority for the Liverpool City Region and builds on the legacy of LCR 4.0 and our vibrant digital manufacturing ecosystem. I would encourage many more SMEs to engage with this world class initiative as well as Made Smarter more broadly”.

Andrew Stephenson, Minister for Business and Industry, said: “This new collaboration between Made Smarter the University of Lancaster is a fantastic opportunity for these 12 business leaders to develop their skills, get expert guidance and advance further the North West’s reputation for advanced and smart manufacturing.

“Supporting growing business directly on the ground through Made Smarter is a vital part of our modern Industrial Strategy, building on this country’s strong manufacturing heritage and delivering highly-skilled jobs for the future.

“With our Made Smarter pilot set to add up to £115million to the North West economy, I look forward to seeing how the 12 business leaders completing this course will transform and grow their companies as a result.”

Anthony McMullin, Head of Operations at Milexa, a business designing and manufacturing wallpaper and flooring products, said: “Digitalisation is something we are looking to really improve so this programme is the perfect fit.

“The course is giving me a very holistic view of the business and helping towards our goal of scaling up.

“I am more excited about looking at the strategy rather than the specific technology which I can find out about from various sources. The good dividends model has really resonated with me.

“You can learn a lot about your own business through this process, and new ways of thinking and developing a strategy before you even start to look at the technology. We’re only half-way through but I feel I have got significant value from it already.”

Made Smarter includes match funding opportunities and the provision of impartial technical advice SMEs adopting digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Internet of Things, 3D-printing and robotics, to support advanced manufacturing.

Companies interested in registering or wanting more details should visit

For more details on the Made Smarter Leadership Programme at Lancaster University Management School, visit