HC Controls

Find out how this global manufacturer implemented a new software programme to streamline the running of its day-to-day operations through Made Smarter Adoption North East.

HC Controls, based in Stockton-on-Tees, designs and manufactures a wide range of LV customized control panels for clients all over the world. Established in 1986, the company specialises in the chemical and fine chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, power generation, distribution, nuclear, and metal industries.

We caught up with the team to find out how Made Smarter Adoption North East helped the business implement a new software programme to improve capabilities and efficiencies within the business and streamline the running of its day-to-day operations.

Why did you decide to sign up to take part in Made Smarter Adoption North East?

We’d been thinking about digitising our systems for a while and we were looking for some impartial advice. I received an email from Tees Valley Business about Made Smarter Adoption North East and it seemed like a good opportunity to access training, and learn from other businesses that were already networked into places like Teesside University.


Prior to joining the programme, did you use digital technology within your business to improve efficiencies and productivity?

We did, yes. We have a few different systems in place but none of them really gel with one another; they all operate individually. We have basic programmes that link with our accounting, but nothing that really brings it all together in one place. We were also running some of our operations manually too.


What were some the barriers to introducing digital technology within your business?

For us it was understanding what’s out there. Was it going to be a bespoke or off-the shelf product we needed? We wanted access to impartial advice, not just a sales person trying to sell one product.


What have you enjoyed most about taking part in Made Smarter Adoption North East?

Meeting similar companies that share the same issues as us was really helpful. We also had the opportunity to see the facilities at Teesside University and work with some of the business lecturers.

During the programme we looked at various digital tools and the impact they had on companies. Sharing experiences and networking with other businesses was really valuable.


What digital technology/solution have you introduced in your business as a result of the programme?

When we completed the programme, Tees Valley Business put us in touch with a company they thought could provide what we needed.

Fit Factory – which has a base in Stockton-on-Tees – came into our business, analysed what we do, and then recommended a programme based on our individual needs. It’s an off the shelf software programme that will improve capabilities and efficiencies within the business.

We currently have a lot of data duplication and this solution will save us time, make us more efficient, and ensure our data is up to date. One of the big changes will be that everyone in the business can review the status of a job at the same time, and in real time.

Why is it important for manufacturing businesses to adopt digital technology?

I think if you want to attract future talent and remain competitive you need to be more digital.

It’s important for manufacturing SMEs to move with everyone else and introduce changes that ensure they remain profitable.

We’ve taken everyone in the business on the journey from the very beginning. By getting everyone involved, you can make the transition a success and help everyone see the benefits.


Why should other manufacturing businesses in the North East take part in Made Smarter Adoption North East?

As well as being free for businesses to take part in, Made Smarter Adoption North East really opened my eyes to what’s available in our area, and the level of help and expert advice on offer. Meeting companies with similar issues to our own was also very helpful.

I feel confident I now reach out to the right people and access the help we need on our digital journey.


About Made Smarter Adoption North East

Made Smarter Adoption North East is a fully-funded business support programme that connects manufacturing businesses in the region to digital tools that can transform the way they work. Grants are available to help eligible businesses introduce new digital solutions that improve performance and efficiency.

Backed by world-renowned businesses and UK government, Made Smarter Adoption North East aims to drive growth in UK manufacturing by improving the development and adoption of emerging technologies across the sector.

The North East Growth Hub and Tees Valley Business are working with Made Smarter to deliver Made Smarter Adoption North East in the North East LEP and Tees Valley Combined Authority areas.

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