The latest digital technologies can help Black Country manufacturers win major contracts

Digital technology can help Black Country manufacturers bid for new contracts in the UK and overseas.

That was the message that more than 40 Black Country manufacturers heard at a free event hosted by Lloyds Banking Group and the Black Country Growth Hub on 11th September.

The event, held at Wolverhampton Science Park, included sessions on the Government-backed Building Information Modelling (BIM) service. BIM enables manufacturers to produce a digital ‘twin’ of their product. The ability to rapidly produce a digital model of a product allows a business to quickly showcase and tailor a product to the needs of a potential overseas customer, without incurring the up-front costs of manufacturing prototypes.

The session on overseas trade looked at Lloyds Bank’s International Trade Portal, a tool designed to give businesses the background knowledge and practical resources on each step of the journey to trade internationally; from targeting the right market to making the first shipment.

Commenting on the event, Lloyds Banking Group ambassador for the Midlands, Martin Dodd, said: “The Black Country is home to many talented and innovative manufacturers of all sizes. We want to make sure that smaller firms have the opportunity to reach their full potential, whether that’s helping them to bid for local large scale infrastructure projects like HS2 or opening up international markets.

“This is why, as part of our Helping Britain Prosper plan, we’re working closely with local groups such as the Black Country Growth Hub to put on events like this. Our aim is to spread the word about the power of the latest digital technologies and the help and support available to local small and medium-sized manufacturers.”

Attendees heard from speakers including Asif Moghal, manufacturing industry manager at Autodesk and a champion of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, Dave Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and Dan Carins, head of the Black Country Growth Hub.

Keynote speaker Asif Moghal said: “The Era of connection is here. Products are becoming increasingly personalised, possessing incredible levels of intelligence and being produced using design and manufacturing techniques that were once thought impossible. By embracing digital technologies Britain can place itself at the centre of this 4th Industrial revolution and lead the way in a world where traditional approaches to productivity, process and innovation are no longer good enough.”

Dan Carins said: “The Black Country Growth Hub is proud to bring such a prestigious event to Wolverhampton. Our partners within the hub have worked hard to bring this together, and we’re grateful to Lloyds Bank for their support.”

Andrew Cox, managing director at Stourbridge-based Cox and Plant and Black Country Local Enterprise partnership board member, added: “In my lifetime I have never seen a more exciting time for the rebirth of the powerhouse the Black Country can become again. We have the skilled workforce and high value manufacturing companies needed to fully embrace the Industrial Revolution 4.0. We are in a fantastic position to fly the flag for made in the Black Country, sold around the world.”

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