What is the Made Smarter Review and what does it mean to manufacturers?

The UK Government has called upon some of the biggest names in business to assess how UK manufacturing can benefit from the evolution of technology and increasing digitalisation.

In January last year the Government announced a review into these topics. Initially called The Industrial Digitalisation Review, it was later renamed to become the ‘Made Smarter Review’ that we know today.

What is the Made Smarter Review?


In simple terms, the Made Smarter Review looks at how manufacturers can start their own industrial revolution by using digital to make things better and faster. It sets out how UK manufacturing can be transformed through the adoption of industrial digital technology (IDT) and focuses on three priority areas which are:

  • Leadership: more ambitious, informed and focused leadership
  • Adoption: more widespread adoption of IDTs across supply chains, especially within SMEs
  • Innovation: faster innovation and creation of new IDTs, new IDT companies / value-streams and new capabilities to sustain UK competitive advantage.

Why does the government feel it’s so important to have one?


Taking advantage of industrial digitalisation could have huge positive impact on our economy and the UK’s productivity, which has become stagnant. Over 10 years industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year, and creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%.

Who is behind the Made Smarter Review?


While the Government commissioned the review, it’s been very much led by the private sector. Professor Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, spearheaded the project and more than 200 organisations across the UK, including small businesses, leading universities and global inward investors are supporting the review.

What does the review say?


The report sets out the opportunities that are there for the UK’s taking. It talks about how industrial digital technology can:

  • Raise productivity and our international competitiveness
  • Create new, high-paid and higher skilled jobs
  • Strengthen UK supply chains
  • Increase exports

It talks about how other countries like Germany and China are stealing a march on the UK and how we need to move quickly if we want to get ahead.

The report identifies what’s holding us back from achieving our vision to become a leader in this space. Among the challenges discussed are:

  • A lack of effective leadership – with no cross-sector national leadership providing market-focused strategic vision, direction or co-ordination
  • Poor levels of adoption, particularly among SMEs – with risks around cybersecurity, a skills shortage and lack of tax incentives among their barriers
  • Under-leveraged innovation – with innovation assets not focussed enough on supporting IDT start-ups

It then sets out a series of recommendations for how industry and the government can address the challenges and transform UK industry. They are all based on the challenges listed above.

What are the recommendations of the review?



Build a national digital ecosystem that will be significantly more visible and effective and that will accelerate the innovation and diffusion of industrial digital technologies. This includes a National Adoption Programme to be piloted in the North West, focused on increasing the capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support. Critical to the success of our recommendations will be the upskilling of a million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be adopted and exploited through a single Industrial Digitalisation Skills Strategy.


Refocus the existing innovation landscape by increasing capacity and capability through 12 Digital Innovation Hubs, 8 large-scale demonstrators, and 5 digital research centres focused on developing new technologies as part of a new National Innovation Programme.


Establish a national body, the Made Smarter UK (MSUK) Commission, comprising industry, government, academia, further education, and leading research and innovation organisations, which would be responsible for developing the UK as a leader in industrial digitalisation technologies and skills, with a mandate to develop the UK’s own Industry 4.0 domestic and global brand.

What will happen as a result of the review?


It’s hoped than the completion of the review will result in a blueprint for a ‘Sector Deal’ for manufacturing and industrial sectors, which could see government and business partners increase the take up of new technologies in the UK.

Where can I find out more?


You can read the Made Smarter Review in full here.