To profit in today’s market, small manufacturers must be efficient and agile to minimise cost and to meet variable market demand. This paper discusses an envisaged Semantic, Ambient, Generic and Extensible framework (SAGE) focused on the manufacturing environment. SAGE is based on the ambient intelligence philosophy which means it is focused on the human actor with the aim of aiding them to optimise their companies manufacturing processes. In order to achieve this goal SAGE combines several technologies: semantic reasoning, multi-modal communication and context-aware technologies within a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). SAGE provides the manager with intuitive access to the real-time data describing the status of the shop floor environment and the ability to automate a response. Two manufacturing processes are targeted for systemic innovation: shop floor control and machine maintenance.