MT AWARDS FOR MANUFACTURING: Highly commended best electronics and electrical plant; The IEE Award - Bowers & Wilkins

MT AWARDS FOR MANUFACTURING: Highly commended best electronics and electrical plant; The IEE Award - Bowers & Wilkins - The management policies in this industry are antediluvian,' fulminates Jeremy Evans, head of manufacturing at loudspeaker makers Bowers & Wilkins, lamenting that he can't source more components locally, or even in Europe, for the company's world-leading speaker range. Instead, it must go to China for the required quality and cost.

The management policies in this industry are antediluvian,' fulminates Jeremy Evans, head of manufacturing at loudspeaker makers Bowers & Wilkins, lamenting that he can't source more components locally, or even in Europe, for the company's world-leading speaker range. Instead, it must go to China for the required quality and cost.

But then, the Worthing company aims to embody the exact opposite of the craft-based, one-man-and-a-dog management style that has seen the once-prominent UK hi-fi industry in steady retreat before better-organised rivals: high-end (B&W's extraordinary-looking Nautilus speakers sell to the likes of Bill Gates for dollars 35,000 a pair), brand-led, commanding a dominant world market share in its upscale segment, and supporting the Rolls-Royce image with equally slick manufacturing in a purpose-built new facility.

Until 1997, as Evans admits, B&W was more the rule than the exception.

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