Liverpool’s manufacturers have been urged to put digital technology at the forefront of their future business plans.

That was the overwhelming message at the official launch of LCR 4.0 in Liverpool, which was hosted by BusinessCloud editor Chris Maguire.

LCR 4.0 has been inspired by Industry 4.0, defined by consultants at  McKinsey as the “fourth major upheaval in modern manufacturing”, following on from 'lean' in the 1970s, outsourcing in the 1990s and more automation, which characterised manufacturing in the 2000s.

The first of its kind in the country, LCR 4.0 is a new business support programme aimed at helping manufacturers in the Liverpool City Region to take advantage of the opportunities associated with the uptake of digital technologies in advanced manufacturing.

LCR 4.0 will allow businesses to access practical support and connect with other SMEs to help them grow through the adoption of technologies that enable increased connectivity between digital and physical assets.

Steve Warren, region director (North West) at EEF, one of the keynote speakers at the LCR 4.0 launch, called on businesses to drive innovation from the top down and integrate IT departments into board level decisions.

Simon Reid, sector manager for advanced manufacturing at the Liverpool City Region LEP, said: “There can be an attitude that embracing new digital technologies is something for big businesses, not SMEs, but if they don’t they could get left behind as the industry continues to evolve in order to meet customers’ expectations.”

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the LCR 4.0 programme is being delivered in partnership by some of the region’s key knowledge and scientific assets: the University of Liverpool (through its Virtual Engineering Centre), Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LCR LEP), Liverpool John Moores University (Faculty of Engineering and Technology), the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre and Sensor City.

LCR 4.0 is a part of the Liverpool City Region Local Growth Hub.

For more information about LCR4.0, visit: www.LCR4.uk