Study for UK government explores impact of Made Smarter Adoption programme

A new IfM study commissioned by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) to provide expert advice on improving the impact and measurement of the Made Smarter Adoption (MSA) programme has been published.


The report, ‘Made Smarter Adoption Research Project’ authored by the IfM Cambridge Industrial Innovation Policy’s (CIIP) Jennifer Castañeda-Navarrete and David Leal-Ayala, provides recommendations for programme design and improved monitoring and measurement approaches for programme impact.


Made Smarter Adoption is the UK’s manufacturing digital adoption programme. It ensures that manufacturing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) benefit from industrial digital technologies that can improve efficiency and productivity. Since its launch in November 2018, it has reached over 4,000 manufacturing SMEs.


As part of the 2023 Autumn Statement and Advanced Manufacturing Plan, the Government has committed up to £16 million in 2025-26 to offer the scheme to all English regions. It plans to expand the programme into Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, potentially reaching over 2,500 more manufacturing SMEs each year.

The study involved extensive desk-based research, a survey of firms that benefited from the Made Smarter Adoption programme, and interviews with regional business advisers.


Co-author David Leal-Ayala stated that the research proved the advantages of the Made Smarter Adoption programme for businesses. “The study found that 97% of firms that adopted digital technologies reported benefits such as improved production and planning efficiency, and reduced costs,” he said.


“Therefore,” said Jennifer Castañeda-Navarrete, “this report offers timely and important guidance on how to enhance the impact of this programme in order to achieve its long-term objectives.”


Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister of State for Industry and Economic Security at the Department for Business and Trade and Minister of State for the Investment Security Unit at the Cabinet Office said: “The report shows the value of social research in ensuring that policymaking is evidence-based, and I welcome the Institute for Manufacturing’s expert assessment on how we may best improve the evaluation of this programme. In doing so, we will continue to hear and reflect the voice of business in Government policies." 




Date published

7 March 2024

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