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Ginger Singh-Kauldhar

A Zoom with Tris! CNC Department Team Leader

Foiling and embossing die-maker, Tomlinson Ltd, is deeply proud of every member of its highly skilled and loyal team. Hence, in each quarterly newsletter, Tomlinson opens its virtual doors to allow a peek at life inside - as seen through the eyes of a valued team member.

Meet Tomlinson’s CNC Department Team Leader, Tris Simpson, who also oversees the company’s Studio and CNC Programming areas. Hailing from Leicester, Tris comes across as a confident, level-headed and straight-talking person with a friendly, motivated personality and an astute mind.


As a teenager, Tris was an Army Cadet where he remembers some excellent role models and enjoyed being given responsibility. On leaving school, Tris had plans to study electronics at Charles Keene College in Leicester but, at the time he was sitting his final GCSE exams, Tomlinson Ltd also happened to be looking for a bright young person to join its workforce. “I was given the chance to do work experience at Tomlinson’s,” he recalls, “and the opportunity to learn about the printing industry, as well as the prospect of earning a wage straight away, was too good to miss!”.

And so, after a mutually successful period of work experience, Tris grasped the opportunity to become a permanent member of the specialist production team at Tomlinson’s.

“When I joined the company, there were still many traditional die-making techniques being utilised at Tomlinson’s - such as hand-engraving and hand-finishing - which I found really interesting,” Tris remembers, “and the job demanded being on-your-feet and quick-thinking to respond to work coming in which really appealed to me. I was always asking questions. In fact, I still am!”.

Tomlinson’s factory comprises multiple production departments, each performing different functions in the complex die-making process. Tris saw this diversity as an exciting opportunity rather than a daunting hurdle and expressed an interest in each production area. “I wanted to learn about the numerous processes involved in die-making from the ground up,” he explains, “and so I spent time working in different departments starting out in the studio before moving on to copper and magnesium etching, and finally to the CNC department where I’m now Team Leader.”.

Tris has come a long way since he began working for Tomlinson Ltd back in 1999 and it’s gratifying to learn how the company recognised and encouraged his interest and curiosity in its niche products and processes. And today, as Tomlinson’s CNC Department Team Leader, Tris has provided important input into the selection and acquisition of two Datron M8Cube CNC machines in which the company has recently invested, further increasing his department’s die manufacturing capacity, capability and efficiency.

“The Datron machines have significantly reduced die cutting times,” reports Tris, “and the software is also very intuitive which means that training new staff how to set them up - as well as training current staff from any department - will be much quicker and easier.”. It’s evident that Tris has one eye on the ‘bigger picture’ and the other on knowledge-sharing for the future.

To further demonstrate this, in recent years Tris has been proactive in the implementation of staff cross-training between Tomlinson’s CNC and Studio areas. “In a company like Tomlinson’s everybody counts,” he sums-up wisely, “and it’s essential that people are able to move into other production roles when one department is super-busy and another is less so.”. The arrival of Coronavirus in 2020 has proven Tris’ cross-training programmes to be particularly valuable and his inherent understanding of the importance of transferrable skills in the workplace is admirable.

Tris’ positive attitude to work is illustrated through an intriguing analogy. “I tend to see things in ‘high resolution’,” he expresses, “meaning that I look closely at the detail and ask questions with the aim of improving my own personal performance as well as the performance of the areas I oversee.”. This analytical approach brings multiple benefits, such as increasing CNC production efficiency, further refining the dies Tomlinson's produce and, ultimately, enhancing the business’s performance as a whole. It’s good for everyone.

Despite his role as Team Leader, Tris remains willing to roll up his sleeves and help in whichever department he may be needed proving his wide-ranging knowledge and experience to be invaluable. And when working overtime is a necessity, it’s been noted that Tris will be there, alongside his teammates, making sure the job gets done.

Without-a-doubt, Tris Simpson is a valuable asset to Tomlinson’s and it’s clear why he was recently elected by his colleagues to represent them on the Company’s Board of Trustees. In addition, he’s also rejoined the Army Cadets as an adult and is now a Detachment Commander for his local area where he passes on to others the many valuable lessons and positive behaviours he himself learnt as a teenage Cadet.

© Tomlinson Ltd 2021