Made Smarter, the recently launched £20m initiative to help the north west’s manufacturing sector through the adoption of more industrial digital technologies, has appointed Andrea Thompson as the chair of its steering board.
Based at BAE Systems in Lancashire, Thompson is BAE’s managing director for Europe & International Programmes. This includes responsibility for BAE’s role in the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft programme, the world’s largest defence project.
Prior to this she spent several years working in the United States, primarily in the automotive sector, before returning to the UK to work for major names including Leyland Trucks and Rolls Royce.
In her role as chair of the Made Smarter steering group Thompson will oversee the development and operational delivery of the Made Smarter programme.
The steering board, which features over a dozen representatives drawn from manufacturing firms from across the north west, will also monitor progress of the pilot project and report on learnings which will help to inform the proposed national roll-out of the Made Smarter concept.
Other outputs from the steering board will include the ongoing promotion of Made Smarter locally, regionally and nationally, and the strengthening of relationships between Made Smarter and other partners working across the advanced manufacturing agenda in the region.
The board will also be responsible for ensuring good governance during the lifetime of the Made Smarter north west pilot.
Thompson said: “Having spent many years working in global industries like engineering, automotive and aerospace I know how respected and admired the north west of England’s manufacturing tradition is. However, much of this is down to the legacy of the first industrial revolution which started in this region.
“With Made Smarter we now have a real opportunity to kick-start a new era of technology-led manufacturing, driven by innovative and ambitious SMEs, throughout the whole of the North West.”
Made Smarter’s director Donna Edwards added: “Andrea was born and brought up in the north and also has extensive international experience across many key manufacturing sectors. The contribution her and the employer-led steering board we have established will make to the successful delivery of Made Smarter will be invaluable.”
Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens and co-chair of the national Made Smarter Commission said: “I am delighted Andrea has agreed to become the chair of the north west steering group. She will be a fantastic addition to the wider Made Smarter network of key business leaders we have brought together, both regionally and nationally, to help develop and deliver this project.”