SMAS celebrates 500th project and delivers £56 million of productivity gains

Scottish Enterprise’s flagship Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) has helped to generate £56 million of productivity benefits since it was launched five years ago.

In that time, SMAS has dealt with 3,600 enquiries from Scottish manufacturing companies and has undertaken 500 intensive business improvement projects to help manufacturers identify new ways to increase productivity and improve efficiency and add real value to their bottom line.

These projects involved Scottish Enterprise’s team of 30 expert manufacturing advisors spending 3,400 days with the companies, implementing new ways of working and introducing solutions that fit with the business’ priorities.

To celebrate reaching its five year anniversary, SE chairman Crawford Gillies visited life sciences firm Controlled Therapeutics - the company is currently undertaking the 500th project with the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and is aiming to improve its operations in East Kilbride. 

Crawford Gillies commented: “With latest figures showing that UK manufacturing slowed in September following five months of expansion, now is the time for manufacturers to seek more efficiencies and productivity from their operations.

“As these figures demonstrate, SMAS has been one of our biggest success stories over the last five years delivering real improvements to the companies’ bottom line.  Although we’ve already delivered 500 projects, we want to work with even more manufacturers across Scotland.  We’re also beginning to see a number of companies come back to SMAS for a second, and even third, projects to address different areas of their business.  This is helping us to build long-term relationships and ensure we understand more about their business and how we can help them.”

Controlled Therapeutics Scotland, based in East Kilbride, is a life sciences company specialising in products for the pharmaceutical market based on its own unique drug delivery systems.  One of the company’s products is the leading brand for inducing births, which has helped to deliver over 6 million babies worldwide.

SMAS has been working with the company for the last two months to identify opportunities to reduce its inventory levels throughout the manufacturing process.  By undertaking this review, the company hopes to reduce raw materials and inventory by around 25% through the use of Value Stream Mapping, and significantly reduce its product cycle time.

As well as SMAS, Scottish Enterprise has worked with Controlled Therapeutics across a whole range of areas to improve their business, including assistance with process improvement, research into entering the Japanese market and leadership and organisational development help.

Cameron Macdonald, managing director of Controlled Therapeutics said: “We’ve been working with Scottish Enterprise for around five years now and we’re really excited about this latest project with the SMAS team.   We pride ourselves in being a forward thinking and innovative company and as a result have bucked the trend during the current economic downturn and have continued to expand and recruit.”

Controlled Therapeutics is one of 67 Lanarkshire companies to have benefited from the SMAS service over the past five years.  Other strong regional clusters of activity are in Fife, where 31 companies have undertaken projects with SMAS and in Aberdeen with a further 64 projects. 

More Food and Drink companies have worked with SMAS than any other sector with one in four projects being with food and drink manufacturers while engineering companies are also highly represented with 82 projects being delivered.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “These figures demonstrate that the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service is delivering real, practical support for Scottish business, helping to achieve efficiencies and stimulating growth across the manufacturing sector. It shows that doubling the size and reach of the service as part of the economic recovery plan was absolutely the right course of action. No doubt it is just one of many reasons why recession was shorter and shallower in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

“As demonstrated in the Budget I set out last week – a key priority of the Scottish Government is to work to sustain the recovery and strengthen economic growth through what continues to be a challenging financial climate. The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service is delivering vital support to help Scottish manufacturers achieve exactly that.”

Notes to editors

About SMAS

SMAS was established to provide direct and practical support to help Scotland’s SME manufacturers, through expert advice and one-to-one support as well as training, to improve productivity and generate cost savings.  SMAS is also delivered through Highland and Islands Enterprise to support manufacturing companies from all industry sectors and of all sizes from across the whole of Scotland.

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