Barnsley bakery set for future growth following Made Smarter programme

White’s Bakery, based in Worsborough Bridge, Barnsley, is set to embark on an exciting new era, with ambitious growth aspirations, following an intensive programme of strategic planning through Made Smarter and training through South Yorkshire Skills Bank.

The bakery, which manufactures cookies, mainly for schools, retailers, hospitality and wholesalers, was heavily impacted by the Covid lockdowns and closure of schools and businesses. Around this time, the fourth generation of the family had taken up key managerial positions and Enterprising Barnsley recommended they applied for Made Smarter, which had released £1.5m funding for manufacturers in the Yorkshire region.

White’s Bakery was able to take advantage of Leadership and Management coaching and Strategic/Digital Roadmapping through Made Smarter, which has helped the next generation of White family members to incorporate technologies in lean, digital and net zero into the business.

Through Made Smarter, White’s Bakery received intensive technical support to formulate a strategic plan to grow the sales of its products throughout the UK and double turnover over the next three years.  The strategy includes analysing future personnel and skills requirements and finance required to support the introduction of further automation. The company’s exciting plans also involve relocation to new, larger premises and the opportunity to incorporate digital technologies to improve productivity and reduce costs on this site.  White’s Production Manager also received Green Belt training through South Yorkshire Skills Bank (check) to enable the company to move towards net zero with plans for new energy efficient ovens and electric vehicles.

In recent months, following the involvement of Made Smarter, the business has recovered to pre-Covid levels with increased profitability and sales are now on track to surpass £3m this year.

David White, Managing Director of White’s Bakery, explains: “Following the lockdown, we decided to embark on the Made Smarter programme to enable us to gear back up and put a plan in place for future growth.  The coaching programme has given us the tools to become a leaner, more productive business and the Skills Bank training we have had in the use of digital and greener technologies will help to make us a stronger business for the future.”

Mike Brook from South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority said: “White’s Bakery has embraced change and is now in a great position to experience transformational growth where the focus is on added value, increased margins and profitability.  They are transitioning from being a traditional family business into a more agile and profitable operation, with very exciting prospects.”

In addition to benefiting from Made Smarter, the company received a software grant to automate the Food Safety H&S system to ensure that top level food safety standards are maintained and that operations are as profitable and environmentally sustainable as possible.

White’s Bakery has also secured capital grants towards the purchase of new automated equipment through Enterprising Barnsley (check) in the current facility prior to moving this into the new site.  In addition, White’s has worked with Sheffield Hallam University to be able to ensure and prove that its ingredients are as nutritionally beneficial as possible, for the benefit of its school customers.

Made Smarter is the UK’s national industrial digitalisation programme, which aims to drive innovation, rapid adoption, and stronger leadership in industrial technology, to support the UK’s ambition of becoming a world leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The programme is designed to improve digital adoption amongst SMEs in Yorkshire and Humber and includes intensive one-to-one advice and support delivered through Growth Hubs in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Hull and East Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire, York and North Yorkshire.

Made Smarter is managed in the Yorkshire region by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, which expects to be able to fund and support around 500 Yorkshire and Humber manufacturers, plus providing digital road mapping sessions and further intensive support to several other businesses.  This includes giving them access to expert advice and funding to invest in technology.

Andrew Armstrong, Programme Manager for Made Smarter, explains: “White’s Bakery is a great example of a business which has been able to take advantage of expertise in digital adoption, as well as leadership and management coaching to equip managerial staff with the skills they need for the future. Digitalisation is essential to help SMEs in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector to become more efficient and productive to enable them to compete in the long term on a global basis.”

He adds: “The Made Smarter programme is helping regional manufacturers to embrace digitisation, with a view to increasing efficiency and productivity as part of gaining a competitive advantage, as well as growing and enhancing their long-term future. The programme is designed to support SMEs to use digital processes across all their methods of manufacture, providing more efficiency and better management information to enable them to continually improve and fine tune their processes.”

Made Smarter was created following an industry-led review of how the UK manufacturing industries can prosper through digital tools and innovation. This independent review stated that over a 10-year period, industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn; boost productivity by up to 30%; and create a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing COemissions by 4.5%.

About Made Smarter

Made Smarter is a joint Government/industry initiative to drive growth amongst UK manufacturers and advance the UK economy by improving the development and adoption of emerging technologies.

Made Smarter provides SME manufacturers with impartial business growth and technology advice., small-scale grants to provide financial support for IDT investments for SMEs.

Made Smarter is there to drive the UK to become a global leader in digital technologies through:

  • Empowering manufacturers to adopt new digital tools.
  • Initiating new technology research and development.
  • Providing digital upskilling and leadership development.
  • Connecting technology developers and manufacturers.
  • Overcoming the barriers to industrial digitalisation.
  • Championing UK manufacturing and the benefits of technology.


Made Smarter offers Leadership and skills development to enhance technology capabilities and digital interns to support skills gaps, support for culture and change management.

To register and find out more information, please visit

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