Test your performance in the Management Today/Cranfield School of Management 1999 Best Factory Awards.
If British manufacturers are to prosper in the global marketplace, they must compete with the best in the world and win. For eight years, the Best Factory Awards, organised jointly by Management Today and the Cranfield School of Manage-ment, have encouraged and rewarded those companies that do just that.
Achieving manufacturing excellence is not just a matter of spending more cash than the competition. Last year's overall winner of the coveted Best Factory title, Colman's of Norwich, demonstrates how sensible investment and sound management can deliver extra-ordinary results at ordinary prices. The company has enthusiastically embraced high technology where it improves efficiency, but never simply for its own sake. Low-tech is much in evidence, too - some of the machinery is 50 years old, and will continue to be in use for as long as it can still cut the mustard.
Entry to the awards is free and open to any manufacturing plant in the UK, regardless of sector, ownership or technology. The only requirements are that the plant is a self-contained unit making tangible products in its own facilities - and doing it well.
The awards are sponsored by the Bourton Group, CNT, Transport Development Group and UPS Worldwide Logistics. They cover eight categories - the four sector awards as well as Best Small Company, Most Improved Factory, Judges' Special Award and the coveted Best Factory title. Every entrant, award winner or not, will receive an individual report which will benchmark its performance against the rest of its sector.
Anonymity is guaranteed. These reports are prepared by the judges and provide objective assessment of what a company is doing right, and what needs to be improved in the quest for manufacturing excellence.
Disappointed entrants from last year's awards should not be put off having another go. The Most Improved Factory Award is specifically intended to recognise the factory that has worked the hardest to better its performance. Ericsson OMC in Worksop, which manufactures mobile phones, took the laurels in 1998, after a year in which it introduced many new product ranges and doubled its workforce to 1,200.
It is a tribute to the plant's quality of management and commitment to training that it has managed to maintain such high standards despite the dramatic changes.
The Basingstoke plant of Eli Lilly, the US drugs company, took the Household and General Products Award last year after a re-engineering programme delivered savings of at least £2.5 million.
The first stage of evaluation is by means of a self-administered audit report that is completed by every entrant. This confidential questionnaire examines key determinants of excellence such as lead times, delivery flexibility, efficiency and, of course, the holy grail of manufacturers, productivity.
Completed forms are assessed by the experts at Cranfield, who prepare a short list from which the eventual award winners will be drawn.
Factories that make it to the finals will be visited by a team of judges, including representatives of Management Today, Cranfield, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Institution of Electrical Engineers, who will make an on-site judgment of the competitiveness and performance of the unit. At the same time, benchmarking reports for all participants will be prepared back at Cranfield, ready for distribution in September.
The judges will then retire to consider their decisions, which will be made public in October at the Best Factory Awards lunch. All those attending will enjoy a meal in the luxurious facilities of London's Savoy Hotel, where the entrants will be able to meet their counterparts in other companies and either congratulate them or bask in their admiration. There will also be extensive coverage of the award winners in the November issue of Management Today.
Entry forms can be obtained from the awards co-ordinator at Cranfield School of Manage-ment, by phone (01234 751122) or fax (01234 751806). Don't delay - the closing date for the completed entries is early April.
BEST FACTORY AWARDS CATEGORIES
- Factory of the Year
- Engineering Industry Award
- Electronics & Electrical Industry Award
- Process Industry Award
- Household & General Products industry Award
- Best Small Company Award
- Most Improved Factory Award
- Judges' Special Award
TIMETABLE AND PROCEDURE
Closing date for entries to the Best Factory Awards
Selection of finalists
Finalists receive one-day visits from the judging team.
Individual benchmarking reports prepared
Selection of award winners
Benchmarking reports distributed to all entrants
Winners announced at the Best Factory Awards lunch
Best Factory Awards issue of Management Today
BEST FACTORY CONFERENCE
The cream of 1998's Best Factory Award winners will be revealing the secrets of their success at the 1999 Best Factory Conference, to be held at the NEC in Birmingham on 14 and 15 April. It is sponsored for the second year by Productivity Europe, and jointly presented by Management Today and Cranfield School of Management. Speakers will include representatives from Colman's of Norwich, Ericsson Mobile Communications and Eli Lilly, to name but three.
Chaired by Colin New, professor of manufacturing strategy at Cranfield, the conference will provide a forum for issues ranging from new product development and managing change to production flexibility and how to survive as a small business - essential information for those wishing to make their factories fit for the next millennium. Contact Faith Manning on 0171 413 4116 for more details.