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2023 year in review: Highlights from the Senior Management Team

As 2023 draws to a close, we at Kirkstall Precision Engineering take a moment to reflect on the year’s journey, filled with challenges, innovations, and significant growth. This year, we decided to gain insights from three members of our diverse senior management team, each representing a vital facet of our business: Quality Assurance, Manufacturing, and Technical Support. Their perspectives offer a unique glimpse into the different areas that drive our success.

Our team’s collective experiences and achievements this year tell a story of dedication, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of excellence. From enhancing our quality management systems to embracing cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, and providing exceptional technical support, each area has played a crucial role in our overall success. 

In this review, we hear from Adam Thornton (CEO & Technical Support), Clare Firth (QA Manager), and Craig Dowling (Manufacturing Director). Each brings a unique perspective from their respective fields, highlighting the achievements, challenges, and the relentless drive for excellence


Our technical team has played a pivotal role in providing the necessary support and expertise, ensuring our operations run smoothly and efficiently. This has been complemented by the diligent efforts of our quality assurance division, which has consistently ensured that our products and services not only meet but surpass industry standards. Meanwhile, our manufacturing division has continued to innovate and refine processes, bolstering our competitive edge in the industry.

Read their thoughts below:

Adam Thornton, CEO & Technical Support:

“2023 has been a landmark year for us at Kirkstall Precision Engineering, marked by significant strides in our journey of innovation and expansion. As CEO, I’ve witnessed our team successfully navigate through major industry exhibitions across the UK and Ireland, showcasing our cutting-edge capabilities in medical device manufacturing. 

One of our crowning achievements this year was the expansion of our ISO 13485 scope to include Design and Implant manufacturing, a milestone that reflects our commitment to staying at the forefront of medical technology.

Achieving ISO 14001 environmental accreditation on our first attempt was also a highlight, demonstrating our dedication to sustainable practices. The investment in new manufacturing technologies, such as collaborative robotics from WMH Robotics, and advanced inspection vision systems, has propelled us into new realms of efficiency and precision. 

As proud members of the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, Medilink, and MAKE UK, we have solidified our presence as an industry leader, committed to quality, innovation, and fostering the next generation of engineering talent.

Looking ahead, 2023 has provided the perfect building blocks for us to push forward with even more vigour in 2024. I have never felt so energised to deliver continued growth and success. The progress we’ve made this year sets a strong foundation for us to build upon, and I am excited to lead our team into a future filled with even more achievements and breakthroughs in the world of precision engineering.”

Clare Firth, QA Manager:

“My first few months with Kirkstall Precision Engineering have been a whirlwind of learning and adaptation. Joining the company as QA Manager, I was immediately immersed in the rich culture of passion and dedication that permeates every level of our organisation. 

My focus has been on enhancing our Quality Management System, particularly in refining our change control process and calibration.

I’ve initiated the re-validation of our passivation process, aligning it with the new cutting fluid standards in milling, and I’m excited about the potential this holds for training new team members. 

Working alongside a senior team that inspires excellence and commitment has been incredibly rewarding. We are not just working towards meeting customer expectations but exceeding them at every turn. My journey here is just beginning, and I am eager to contribute to Kirkstall Precision Engineering’s path of continuous improvement and excellence.”

Craig Dowling, Manufacturing Director:

“Celebrating my 20th year at Kirkstall Precision Engineering has been a poignant reminder of our evolution from the early days of Scope Precision to the influential entity we are today. This year, we achieved a significant milestone in being granted the scope for implant manufacture, broadening our services in the medical sector. 

Our foray into automation continued with the investment in robotics, enhancing our manufacturing efficiency and precision. Being recognised at the Engineering Awards was a proud moment, proving that even as a ‘little fish,’ we stand out in the big pond. 

This year also saw us winning key accounts with overseas customers for new medical advancements in robotic surgeries. The management team’s efforts in showcasing our Quality, best-in-class ERP systems, and growth in apprenticeship schemes have been instrumental in our success. Looking back, 2023 has been a year of remarkable growth and achievement for Kirkstall Precision Engineering.”

Looking ahead to 2024

As we draw the curtains on a remarkable year, the unified sentiments across our Senior Management Team, including those not featured in this update, resonate with optimism and excitement for the future. 

The collective achievements of 2023 have set a robust platform for Kirkstall Precision Engineering, and as we step into 2024, the entire team, from technical support to quality assurance and manufacturing, is galvanised for the journey ahead.

Our successes this year have not only fortified our position in the industry but have also opened new avenues for growth and innovation. The diverse accomplishments, spanning environmental responsibility, technological advancements, and industry recognition, have imbued us with a renewed sense of purpose. 

Each department, under the strategic guidance of our management, is brimming with ideas and strategies to further elevate our service offerings and operational efficiencies in 2024 and beyond.