The best manufacturers recognise that in times of change and in the face of challenging trading conditions, they must act to stay ahead of the competition and sustain a strong flow of orders. They spot those elements of Industry 4.0 that will boost their business whether through better products, faster production, better use of resources or improved fit to customer needs. They innovate to grow stronger.
But even the most ambitious manufacturer can find committing to innovation challenging: the risk of uncertain outcomes can suffocate any motivation to invest. Innovation comes with few guarantees of success and the consequences of poorly handled innovation can be ruinous. The good news is that the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult is here to help manage the risk.
By providing access to the specialist equipment and expertise needed to investigate new technologies and processes and to test their application, the 7 Centres across the UK that make up the HVM Catapult strip away some of the uncertainties of innovation. We allow firms to hold their final investment decisions until there is proof positive that innovative ideas can be scaled up and will deliver successfully on a commercial scale. The model works for firms of all shapes and sizes from FTSE-listed companies to small firms deep in the supply chain. It begins with a simple conversation, focused on ideas, challenges and the technologies that will help businesses grow.
In the past year alone, the HVM Catapult worked with over 3,000 businesses. More than 40% of them were SMEs. We have helped them win new customers, increase their market share, secure their position in supply chains, re-shore production and drive outstanding productivity improvements which have allowed them to secure impressive returns on their investment in innovation. Thanks to a combination of funding from Government, from competitively won collaborative R&D projects, and businesses funded R&D projects, we’ve helped to make the firms we work with more robust, more resilient, more ready to master the challenges of a changed future business environment – no matter what that might look like.
The newsletter we have launched has been designed to help make sure that more of the innovation-hungry businesses who could benefit from our help and the people who advise them to have a better feel for the sort of work we do.