Wearside car parts firm looking good with help from its friends

Car parts supplier R-TEK is looking good with a little help from its friends.

The Washington interior trim manufacturer took part in a best practice visit to fellow Tier 1 supplier Calsonic Kansei, through the North East Automotive Alliance’s (NEAA) Business Excellence programme and has adopted a number of improvements to its training methods as a result. R-TEK plant manager Peter Watson is chairman of the NEAA’s Business Excellence Strategy Group: “The exchange of best practice between Tier 1 automotive companies in the North East was relatively unheard of prior to the NEAA’s activity,” he said.

“Companies are now seeing real value from the NEAA’s Business Excellence programme, which is opening doors and offering a two-way discussion across the supply chain. The Calsonic Kansei best practice visit has proven to have been great value to R-TEK’s induction process.”

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Helping companies share best practice is a core part of the NEAA’s support. R-TEK has also opening its doors to other firms, alongside the likes of Nissan, Komatsu, Unipres, Lear, Johnson Controls and Mecaplast.

The NEAA, which is now nearing its first year anniversary, works with more than 130 member companies and is the fastest growing cluster in the UK, on course to become the largest UK automotive cluster in 2016.

NEAA CEO Paul Butler said: “Business Excellence forms one of our core streams of activity, and our programme of best practice workshops plays a major role in the promotion of this.

“These visits are essential in improving the practical knowledge of the North East automotive supply chain and we encourage manufacturing companies of all sizes to engage with the cluster group to be able to attend these workshops.

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“Our Business Excellence activity has been fundamental in bringing companies together and breaking down communication barriers. I am delighted to see that these visits are starting to deliver positive sharing of information that is now being implemented within other companies.

“I am very pleased with the progress that the NEAA has made over the last year and we will continue to focus our efforts in the areas of Business Excellence, Skills and Innovation & Technology, whilst also launching our Trade & Investment working group later this year.”