North East manufacturers will gain support in improving their performance and processes, thanks to an innovative new collaboration.


The Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) in collaboration with lean manufacturing consultancy Tool and Die Kaizen, has launched a Process Improvement Group for manufacturers in the region.

The Process Improvement Group – a quarterly forum – will help manufacturers improve productivity through performance improvement. The forum will help improve and critique members’ manufacturing processes, through utilising the skills and experience of the collaborating companies.

The first event, which was also held in collaboration with Newcastle University and creative business solutions provider New Potential Ltd, saw industry experts David Beamsley, director at Tool and Die Kaizen and Gavin Jones, director at New Potential, throw the spotlight on lean methodology and implementation within the manufacturing sector. Ian Fletcher, professor of surface engineering at Newcastle University, shared insight on his specialist subject area.

This inaugural event was held on February 23 at Newcastle University and examined how lean methods can support customers’ aspirations, as well as exploring the Single Minute Exchange of Dies methodology – a lean production method for reducing waste in a manufacturing process – and how this can improve productivity.

Established by the private sector to offer a single voice on behalf of the manufacturing community, the AMF is now the largest manufacturing forum in the North East, engaging with members and the wider business community to exchange ideas and knowledge to create business growth and success opportunities within the manufacturing industry.

Tool and Die Kaizen (TDK) is a lean manufacturing consultancy and training provider, which specialises in the manufacturing and financial sectors. Tool and Die Kaizen works with customers to identify issues within their business with the overall aim of making the business leaner as well as improving service quality and cutting costs.

Jack Hanwell, AMF manufacturing sector development manager, said: “I am excited to have launched The Process Improvement Group in partnership with Tool and Die Kaizen, and we hope to continue working with New Potential and Newcastle University on future events.

“David Beamsley and Gavin Jones, who presented at the first event, have more than 40 years’ experience between them with companies such as Nissan, RBS, Jaguar, Land Rover and Rolls Royce. The unique insights and real life examples they provided AMF members was invaluable.

“The Process Improvement Group will see us educate members on lean methods and work with them to understand and implement them within their own businesses, all with the aim of reducing costs, making processes more efficient and creating higher quality products.”

David Beamsley said: “Being part of the AMF and the Process Improvement Group has given me the opportunity to share best practice in lean with AMF members. Our objective is to share examples of fundamental lean philosophies and present these techniques to our members, and support them in their quest to make continuous improvements.

“The Process Improvement Group’s strategy is clear, we will drive positive change throughout member companies. We want members to gain maximum value added experiences at each of our meetings, we will challenge pre-conceived ideas and support those who have a desire to improve the way they operate.

“I’m genuinely excited about the forward-thinking philosophy adopted by the AMF and I am confident the Process Improvement Group can make a real difference to manufacturing.”

The launch of the Process Improvement Group follows a period of growth for the AMF. 2016 saw the forum attract the highest number of new members in its history and it recently launched a Marketing Club with its strategic marketing partner, Horizonworks. The organisation has also undergone a brand refresh which saw the AMF website and logo modernised to reflect the Forum’s increasing market presence in the North East.

The next Process Improvement Group will be held in May, to sign up or for more information on the Advanced Manufacturing Forum and its events please visit or call 0191 481 3480.