The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) was founded in 1985. It is an international, not-for-profit organisation based in North America. The AME is dedicated to the cultivation, analysis and exchange of productivity methods, and their successful application in the pursuit of operational excellence.
The AME (Australia) was formed in 1999 as the result of a presentation that was delivered by Jim Watkins during a ‘Manufacturing Best Practices’ course, that was facilitated by the Centre for Manufacturing in Melbourne, Victoria. Getting together with a number of interested participants after the presentation, Jim mentioned the AME and the excellent work that they were currently carrying out in North America. Having recently attended a number of North American AME conferences, Jim was very aware of the value of such an organisation, and as a consequence was very keen to develop a local affiliate in Australia.
After this initial meeting with the people who were soon to become foundation members of the AME’s Australian chapter, letters of support were sought and received from a number of local manufacturers, and, due largely to Jim Watkins’ reputation and extensive contacts, other interested people soon joined the fledgling project.
Eventually, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved along with the support of the then Victorian State Government Office for manufacturing, a steering committee was formed, and the AME (Australia) began to develop and grow into the organisation that it is now.
Today, the AME (Australia) is not only important locally but also internationally, a fact that can be demonstrated by AME (Australia) hosting the first international conference to be held outside of North America. The first conference was held in Melbourne in May 2004, remarkably only five years after the idea for an Australian branch was first floated by Jim.