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Plans to create a Moray based industry Hub to act as a focal point for process and production efficiency across the North of Scotland have been shared this week. This is a significant project within the bid for a Moray Growth Deal and aims to support one of the most important sectors for Moray.

With more than one in every six jobs in Moray based in manufacturing, it’s essential that businesses in this sector stay up to date with developments in technology. This keeps them competitive and provides opportunities for expansion, creating more highly-skilled and well-paid jobs.

To support this need – commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution – the Growth Deal bid proposes to create a £14m project that will ensure that manufacturing businesses in the North of Scotland increase productivity through the use of technology, data and digital advances.  Called Industry 4.0 Hub, it will do this through providing access to equipment, people and process that will help businesses navigate a rapidly evolving technical landscape.

The leap from the current traditional operations to the ‘smart’ factories of the future requires change across all aspects of business. The Industry 4.0 Hub will be a focal point for process and production efficiency across the North of Scotland and will be in based in Moray. The purpose of the hub is to enable business in the North of Scotland to access the latest technology, people management thinking and international best practice in production efficiency and traditional capital investment removing the barrier of geography that has historically acted as a barrier for many businesses.

Donna Chisholm, area manager for Moray at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “In Moray there are more manufacturing jobs per head of population than anywhere else in Scotland. It has a critical mass of these jobs across a range of sectors that make it unique in the country.

“This makes it the ideal location to site a regional Hub to support the implementation of Industry 4.0. The technical nature of jobs in manufacturing mean higher skills and salaries, and we are determined that these jobs will be open to both men and women, helping to address the occupational segregation and gender imbalance Moray currently experiences.”

Industry 4.0 also wins the support of Sandy Adam, Chairman of Springfield Properties: “88% of Moray businesses have less than 10 employees, there is a massive opportunity there for growth. Small businesses in particular need support to keep them up to date with the new technologies that can help them grow. The industrial hub will do that and export Moray expertise to other parts of Scotland” he said.

“Technologically things are changing fast in business and industry. It’s important that we in Moray maintain that momentum to sustain a younger workforce who expect to have the latest advances at their fingertips and are attracted by cutting edge technology.

“With support from The Growth Deal for the Industry 4.0 hub –Moray can develop as a high-tech industrial area which will help to attract people to live and work in Moray – and retain our own home-grown talent.”

Rhona Gunn, Moray Council’s Corporate Director for Economic Development, Planning and Infrastructure, added:

“Moray is recognised throughout the world for the quality of its manufacturing, especially in the food and drink sector. We want to build on this reputation and take proactive measures to ensure that Moray businesses stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow. The concept behind the Industry 4.0 hub is directly influenced by the current thinking of both the UK and Scottish governments as it relates to industrial strategy and ensuring that Britain maintains a strong future in manufacturing.”

The Industry 4.0 Hub would be connected to plans for a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland in Glasgow, and to services provided by Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service.   It would focus on key sectors in Moray, including food processing (including distilling), energy (including renewables), forest and creative industries.

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