Last week the VEC attended the Made in Merseyside event, hosted by Insider Media. Here, a number of specialist and Industry experts, took to the stage to discuss how Industry 4.0 will impact the local area and how companies can get involved.

Panel One

The VEC’s very own Technical Director, Dr Andy Levers, was first on stage and explained how LCR4, an exciting project the VEC is a lead partner for, can offer local businesses and in particular SME’s fantastic opportunities including the adoption of 4.0 Technologies.

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Graham Bond, Head of the North West Manufacturing sector, RSM, believes Industry 4.0 will help business grow and capture innovation. The resources to do so are available, businesses and SME’s just have to look for them.

There was also a stress on young people starting careers within the Engineering and Manufacturing industry. The panel agreed jobs and apprenticeships are there for a wide range of workers, including those with few qualifications, you just need a strong work ethic.

Dr Andy Levers states that some apprentices may even be able to face the possibility of their University fees being paid for by their company, helping them to bring new skills to application within the workplace. Andy also believes that companies should look at Universities and students in helping businesses to capture knowledge and aim to fill the skills gap which can appear, regardless of new technology.

To read more about the VEC’s Case Study Unilever and our collaborative relationship with the University of Liverpool, please visit here.

Alan Seeley, HR Manager at Getrag-Ford explained how during a visit to Sci-Tech Daresbury they had become impressed when certain elements of Industry 4.0 have been demonstrated including Big Data management. Alan also explained how companies need to start sharing more as we all have different knowledge, facilities, skills, competitive edges but want to be a part of the same thing.

Panel Two

Simon Reid of Liverpool LEP added great emphasis onto the LCR4.0 Project, explaining how it needs to be articulated. SME’s should not be excluded from the movement and need to engage with the project to ensure bespoke products become available for them as well as identifying customer behaviour via data collection.

Chris Eccles, Managing Director for ChargePoint Technology, also expressed the need for SME’s to start looking for these opportunities and exploiting them, “You can do it, you just have to go out and get the support- it is out there!”

Technical Director of Evoke Creative, Dean Ward currently collects a vast amount of data from their products including Travelodge Car park systems and McDonald’s digital order points. Dean stressed the importance of this data, is not solely collecting this, but what we do with it which adds values to company.  The Travelodge car parking systems for example act as a customer interface and can solve issues. Whilst able to identify growth challenges such as Brexit, exchange rates and lack of International work, Dean states their weekly Innovation meetings help fight these challenges via multi-skilled staff.

LCR4 is a part-funded ERDF project and the partners involved include VEC (University of Liverpool), LJMU, Sensor City, Hartree Centre and the Liverpool LEP. If you want to find out more about LCR4 or even make an enquiry, please visit the Official website here.

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