UK: THE 1994 BEST PRACTICE PIONEERS. - The 1994 Management Today Best Factory Awards have attracted a record number of entrants from throughout the UK. To accompany this year's event, a conference featuring speakers from previous best practice winners is

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The 1994 Management Today Best Factory Awards have attracted a record number of entrants from throughout the UK. To accompany this year's event, a conference featuring speakers from previous best practice winners is being held.

To judge by the state of our mailbags, the naming of finalists in the 1994 Management Today Best Factory Awards has been awaited with keen interest. This year the Awards attracted a record 283 entrants. Following a series of factory visits by assessors from Management Today, Cranfield School of Management, the DTI and CBI during July and August, these have now been whittled down to a short list of 19, as shown on this page. Winners in the seven national and eight regional categories will be announced at the Best Factory Awards lunch, to be held at The Savoy, London, on 2 November.

This year's short list is once more dominated by the automotive industry. Last year the judges noted that 'difficult customers make for better suppliers', and that this applied particularly to suppliers to the vehicle manufacturers. The 1993 short list included four: Premier Exhaust Systems (which emerged as the overall winner), Allevard Springs, Keystone Valve UK and SIV UK. This year there are again four parts suppliers in the list: European Components, Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), TRW Steering Systems and Ford Motor Company's Electronics Division. In addition, Exxon Chemicals in Southampton is one of only two major manufacturers in the world making a type of rubber used for lining motor tyres.

The Midlands is again strongly represented this year, through TRW, Design to Distribution and Kitchen Range. However, Northern Ireland has a formidable pair of contestants in Ryobi and European Components. Indeed, the most encouraging feature of the Best Factory Awards is the way they have been taken up throughout the UK. It's also worth noting that finalists almost uniformly claim that the most compelling reason for taking part in the competition is the opportunity to use the benchmarking service. As Ian Kenworthy, quality planning manager at Dexter Nonwovens in Berwickshire, says: 'Entering this award allows us to compare our performance against other leading manufacturers and to use that information to focus on further improvements.' The DTI and CBI are currently exploring ways of extending the Best Factory Awards benchmarking service and of presenting examples of best practice to the widest possible audience. In November the DTI, in association with Management Today and Cranfield, will publish a series of seven case studies on winners in 1992 and 1993. These will be made available to readers of Management Today and to participants in the DTI's Inside UK Enterprise scheme.

An innovation this year: Management Today and Cranfield will be holding a two-day conference on the Best Factory theme at The Dorchester, London, on 31 October and 1 November. Almost all the speakers will be from factories that have either won Best Factory Awards or been highly commended. Each one will focus on individual areas in which - in the eyes of the judges - his plant has achieved excellence. Frank Burns of Premier Exhaust will concentrate on team working; Iain Pittman, production manager at Alcan Rolled Products, will talk about the practical application of kaizen; Ian Wilson, general manager of System X at GPT, will reveal how his factory's working environment was transformed; Peter Aldrick, manager of Kodak's Annesley plant, will describe its approach to developing team leaders.

Other subjects to be covered include customer service and cost efficiency; integrating teams and technology; integrating product and process design; and time-based value adding models. Speakers from Kimberly-Clark, H-D Plastics, KPMG, Thorn Lighting, Oki (UK), Land Rover, Allevard Springs and Dorman Smith Switchgear will be taking part. The conference will be chaired by Colin New, professor of manufacturing strategy at Cranfield, who will also talk about the challenge of becoming a world-class manufacturer.

For further information on the Best Factory Awards contact William Pecover on 071-413 4267. Further details about the conference can be obtained from Sharon Reeve on 071-413 4161 (fax 071-413 4331) or by writing to Haymarket Events, 22 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3LY.

Best factory finalists 1994

Engineering Industry

British Aerospace Defence Dynamics

European Components Co

Ford Motor Co, Electronics Division

Kawasaki Precision Machinery UK

Komatsu UK

Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK)

TRW Steering Systems

Electronics Industry

Design to Distribution


Northern Telecom


Household Products

Birds Eye Walls

Glaxo Manufacturing Services

Kitchen Range Foods

Playtex UK

JF Renshaw

The Whitbread Beer Co

Process Industry

Dexter Nonwovens

Exxon Chemicals

Best Small Company

Kitchen Range Foods


Most Improved Factory

British Aerospace Defence Dynamics

Northern Telecom

The Whitbread Beer Co.

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