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Japanese practices to fuel NE growth

Date 15 Jan 2007

North East manufacturers will have the chance next month to learn the latest productivity techniques to come from Japan. A regional delegation of business leaders and productivity experts has just returned from a two-week long fact-finding trip, examining the manufacturing techniques applied at Toyota, Honda and Nissan car plants, their suppliers and at a chemicals plant.

The delegation will pass on their experiences at the cutting edge of Japanese industry to dozens of regional firms at two conferences next month. The North East Productivity Alliance (NEPA) and the Manufacturing Advisory Service North East (MAS NE) are jointly staging the events with the aim of helping embed the latest lean manufacturing techniques into North East firms.

Dr Colin Herron, Head of NEPA’s Best Practice Dissemination programme, said: “We travelled to Japan to find out how a high wage economy is still prospering in the highly competitive manufacturing sector with low cost competitors such as China, Vietnam and Korea as near neighbours. “We found out it is a single-minded determination to compete, allied to the application of simple lean manufacturing techniques, that helps keep them at the forefront of the world’s leading economies.”

MAS North East Project Director Cameron Ross said: “The only way we can ensure a future for manufacturing in the North East is by matching the quality of our production with ever more efficient manufacturing processes. “Those interested in learning how to best compete with low wage economies should attend these events.”

To find out more about the events, visit, contact Sarah McNaughton on 0191 516 4400 or e-mail sarah.mcnaughton.

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