This year, our annual search for Britain's Best Factory produced a bumper crop of winners - and one outstanding overall Factory of the Year. In these pages is vibrant proof that the old economy isn't dead but is emerging revitalised from some of the toughest years in recent memory.
As ever, the process of selecting the best began with a questionnaire submitted to Cranfield School of Management. From this a shortlist was drawn up and the team of judges - experienced manufacturing professionals from Cranfield, the DTI, the IEE and Management Today - began visiting each factory to assess its excellence on the ground. They need to see a factory working.
Those that emerged from the process shared some familiar characteristics.