Digi Manufacturing is a new cross-border cluster collaboration between the IDEAM Cluster and Manufacturing NI to foster new strategic value chains and enhance the digitalisation and green transition uptake of manufacturing SMEs to become more competitive. The Digi Manufacturing project is being delivered with support from InterTradeIreland’s Synergy initiative. Synergy is a cross-border cluster initiative set up by InterTradeIreland, the cross-border trade and business development body. It aims to scale cross-border collaboration among SMEs and other players such as universities, third sector organisations and government agencies using cluster and networking supports.

The overarching aim of Digi Manufacturing is to create new cross-border strategic value chains and enhance the digitalisation uptake between both Manufacturing NI and IDEAM Cluster manufacturing SMEs. Considering this, greater productivity, competitiveness, and efficiency levels of SMEs can be stronger through these collaborations and industry engagements. One of the key goals is to explore how we can reduce the 2050 Net Zero target through the coming together of these key partnerships, building resilience and shortening supply chains. Manufacturing SMEs were able to engage at the ‘Anchor High Summit’ on 12th May in The Galgorm Hotel with a reciprocal visit to The Manufacturing Solutions 2022 and Digitalisation of Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition (at the Technological University of The Shannon, Limerick) on 15th June.

Moreover, the project offers a unique opportunity for manufacturer SMEs to network and learn, exploring key opportunities such as digitalisation and green transition. By working collaboratively with Manufacturing NI, 10 IDEAM members will gain digitalisation upskilling, green transition insights, case-study learning, and industry know-how aligned with key international targets to develop collaborative innovative projects and promote competitiveness. 20 SMEs (10 from Manufacturing NI network and 10 from IDEAM Cluster) will benefit from collaboration opportunities to create new strategic value chains with the completion of a digital maturity self-assessment, and industry study visits to comprehend practical examples of how digitalisation and net-zero are being embraced and implemented first-hand. The participating firms will obtain the critical knowledge, new collaborative project ideas, matchmaking, potential funding insights and a core understanding of digitalisation and their green journey ahead.

Dr. Jamie Meehan, Cluster Manager, IDEAM said, “At IDEAM, we believe that this Digi Manufacturing project is crucial to the future of manufacturing SMEs to highlight digital and green transition industry best practices and enable firms to embrace new ideas and technologies to improve their competitiveness and relevance to their customers. Digi Manufacturing will enable a new cross-border collaboration between IDEAM and Manufacturing NI members to foster significant collaboration between these cluster organisations and member companies. Digitalisation is the key enabler; sustainability and green transition are core outcomes, and we need to work more collaboratively to improve the effectiveness of manufacturing SMEs across the island.

Mary Meehan, Deputy CEO at Manufacturing said, “Companies need to enhance their competitiveness through the digitalisation of their manufacturing processes in a sustainable manner. Considering this, through Digi Manufacturing, collectively we will support industry to collaboratively unlock new and invaluable opportunities concerning funding opportunities, international collaborations, R&D projects, matchmaking, networking, and support for their digitalisation and green efforts. We are delighted to be part of this InterTradeIreland funded Synergy project in collaboration with IDEAM. Together, we can build a unique ecosystem to support businesses to collaborate, innovate and grow!

Damien McConville, Synergy Manager at InterTradeIreland commented, InterTradeIreland is pleased to support this cross-border Digi Marketing collaboration between IDEAM Cluster and Manufacturing NI through our Synergy programme.  Co-operation and joined up thinking in areas such as digi-manufacturing and adapting to a low carbon economy are key areas for all-island collaboration.  It makes sense for like-minded companies to work together and find solutions to common problems which will  help them to become more competitive and ultimately benefit both economies.’

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