A SERVICE helping Huddersfield manufacturers improve their performance is marking its sixth anniversary with a pledge to continue its work across the region.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service has helped almost 1,500 Yorkshire companies to make operational and manufacturing improvements, safeguarding almost 12,500 jobs and boosting sales for those businesses by £190m.

The MAS, which is paid for by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, will continue for at least a further three years to March, 2011, with plans to extend the service to include advice on equipment and sourcing services.

Robin Watson, regional director, said: “On a national stage MAS has been declared as one of the most successful business support initiative ever.

“We are extremely proud to be involved and play a part in contributing to its achievements.

“We are grateful to other organisations in the region, including Business Links, chambers of commerce, universities and councils who have worked closely with us over the past six years.

“We are also grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from Yorkshire Forward.”

Jim Farmery, head of innovation at Yorkshire Forward, said: “Manufacturing remains one of Yorkshire and Humberside’s key industries.

“It’s worth more than £15.5bn.

“One of the most important aspects of the industry’s success in the global marketplace is its ability to be lean and innovative in its production processes.

“The MAS is providing an invaluable service to companies who want to achieve this.”

The MAS services include free advice, company “health checks” and research as well as 50% grant subsidised consultancy.

It also operates Inside Industry, a programme of factory visits to help manufacturers learn best practice by seeing how other successful firms operate.