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A clothing manufacturer, supported by Made Smarter, is aiming for green growth when a new ground-breaking smart eco-factory opens in Stockport in 2022.
Creative Apparel is set to open the new facility a mile from its current base thanks in part to a £20,000 grant from Made Smarter, a government backed initiative to promote the adoption of new technologies among SME manufacturers.
The Stockport clothing manufacturer is investing in full factory digitalisation where a central IT system drives and measures smart machinery, linking production through to its customers and supply chain.
Renewable energy sources including rainwater harvesting, solar power, wind turbines, air-source heating and eco fans will support the introduction of modern, high-tech machinery to enable a more sustainable approach to production.
Made Smarter’s grant will enable Creative Apparel to implement a a data and systems integration project that will automate and speed up the process of receiving orders right through to production management and dispatch. the business has secured a further £20,000 for a project which uses artificial intelligence (AI) tools to collect fashion data from social media influencers and other sources, enabling designers to respond quicker and more effectively to trends.
Managing Director Phil Millar believes putting technology at the heart of growth plans will increase turnover fourfold within five years and create 50 new high value jobs. A 30% productivity increase and 20% decrease in waste will also help lessen Creative Apparel’s social and environmental impact. He said:
“The fast fashion industry suffers from a reputation as one of the most damaging to the environment due to the amount of waste generated during the production process and the throw-away nature of many of the products.
“We want to help address that by becoming a leader for change in the sector by putting sustainability at the heart of our production processes.
“By introducing digital technology and tools that reduce waste and consume less energy we want to prove that you can help save the planet and can save money.
“Accessing support from Made Smarter is helping us accelerate faster towards our vision.”
Alain Dilworth, North West Adoption Programme Manager at Made Smarter, added:
“Digitalisation offers a huge opportunity for manufacturers to deliver operational efficiencies, decarbonise heat and power, optimise design and materials, and improve logistics and transport, benefitting their business, their bottom line and the environment.
“Creative Apparel is a fantastic example of a Made Smarter-supported business which has found the sustainability sweet spot between these economic, social, and environmental goals.
“Creative Apparel are keen to demonstrate what a future factory will look like and the breadth and scope of the entire project is visionary, bringing imaginative solutions to everyday problems. I genuinely cannot wait to see this come to life and I hope this encourages other manufacturers to consider what digital can do for them.”
Photo: Creative Apparel Managing Director, Phil Millar (L) with Made Smarter’s Alain Dilworth (R) on site as the firm’s eco-factory is constructed.